Newark’s a tough town. A town with more than its share of gun violence. No doubt about it. And New Jersey has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country. Anyone see a relationship there? Certainly not the mayor. No, if you run of one of the most violent towns in a state where it’s already illegal to have a gun in almost any circumstance, you have to do something, don’t you? Sure you do. But it would be nice if you chose to do something that might actually improve the situation…
But Corey Booker, Newark’s mayor, can’t seem to let himself even think about anything that would actually help the city’s law abiding residents. Instead, he decided to hold a meaningless PR stunt toy gun buyback.
Mayor Cory Booker wants even the youngest residents of his city to lay down their arms — their toy arms, that is. So today, kids lined up and traded up.
In a city riddled with gun violence, Newark officials and the anti-violence group Stop Shootin’ Music hosted the city’s first toy gun exchange today.
So the neighborhood kiddies traded their Super Soakers for Barbies and hockey sticks as the sound of real gunfire could be heard in the distance.
Booker knew good and well the buyback was a sham. But that’s not important. Not when you’re trying to rally the community to ‘take back the streets.’
“If you give kids guns, guess what they’re going to do? They’re going to shoot it,” said Peter Langman, a psychologist in Allentown, Pa., and author of Why Kids Kill: Inside the Mind of School Shooters. “However, linking that to behavior when they’re 15 or 25 is very difficult,” he said.
Booker acknowledged there is no evidence linking childhood gun play to violent behavior later. “I don’t think it’s going to solve the problem in a direct way … it’s a rallying cry.”
Here’s a crazy thought for hizzoner. Instead of empty gestures and meaningless photo ops that get plenty of news coverage, how about doing something that will actually help your constituents protect themselves? Something that would give the predators who terrorize your constituents pause before mugging the next pedestrian. Why not round up some of your fellow executives and lobby the state legislature to loosen gun laws. Make it easier for the good people of the garden state to actually own and carry a firearm? It’s worked virtually everywhere else it’s been tried.