As gun owners, the media is not on our side. They look for everything they can to push the narrative of “Guns are bad, mmmkay?” However, the only “facts” that really support such a narrative are biased statistics that are designed to paint guns as evil.
However, there have been a few stories that indicate the press might be starting to get it. First, CBS finds that criminals buy guns off the street rather than at gun stores in Chicago, and now the Associated Press apparently looks for the real causes of violence.
Of the 10 cities with the highest teen shooting rates, most had populations of less than 250,000 people. Among them were Savannah, Georgia; Trenton, N.J.; Syracuse, N.Y.; Fort Myers, Fla.; and Richmond, Va. Chicago was the lone large-population city high on the list.
Poverty and a sense of hopelessness in the most violent neighborhoods is a common thread. Syracuse, a university town that once cranked out air conditioners and televisions, now has a poverty rate of 35%.
Others, like Savannah, are deeply divided. While its antebellum mansions, gnarled live oaks and marble monuments to war heroes drew more than 13 million visitors last year, away from picture-postcard oasis of Southern Charm the scenery here quickly shifts to decaying neighborhoods, abject poverty and deadly violence.
Size may play a role. In tightly packed neighborhoods, insults and perceived insults ricochet like shots in an echo chamber. One shooting inevitably leads to speculation about who will be targeted next.
“The streets remember,” said Mark Denney, a state prosecutor who is trying to end Wilmington’s retaliatory warfare.
Social media accelerates the threats, and the danger. Teenagers whose brains are years from fully maturing are roaming the streets with a gun in one pocket and a smartphone in the other.
“A juvenile with a gun is a heck of a lot more dangerous than a 24- or 25-year-old with a gun,” said James Durham, the acting U.S. attorney based in Savannah.
Poverty tends to plague the same neighborhoods as violence and probably for a very good reason.
The entire story actually presents a fairly even-handed look where the only mention of banning guns is a someone who had seen plenty of gun violence saying they only want to ever really end it is to outlaw firearms.
Of course, he’s wrong, but that was just one person’s opinion.
I think we can all agree that teens and pre-teens with guns are a bad idea. It’s one thing to trust Junior with a shotgun or a rifle for a hunting trip, but quite another to hand over a pistol for daily carry in such a charged environment.
However, the overall tone isn’t about blaming the gun.
The reality is that inner city violence is a complex problem, and gun control is a simplistic answer. The real solutions have more to do with population density per city block, poverty, and culture than they do with banning an object that lacks any free will of its own. The media seems to be almost feeling out this reality, slowly and surely like a child on their first trip to the beach, unsure about this whole “ocean” thing.
Unfortunately, until they step into the water completely, it’s going to become very difficult to actually accomplish anything that doesn’t involve destroying constitutionally protected rights for people who did nothing wrong in the first place.