Detroit is in a state of shock as we deal with the latest news of gun violence plaguing our city. There is no doubt that we have a problem that has eaten away at the very fabric of this city for the better part of my teenage and adult life.
Why does it take the shooting of U.S. District Judge Terrence Berg, for us to talk about a way to help prevent the hideous wickedness that gun violence brings to families and neighborhoods?
How often do you ask yourself, who are the people who bring guns into our neighborhoods? Who are these gun dealers? You can’t help but think about the many people who are dead, imprisoned, or in wheelchairs.
We have to do something more. This great city is known more for bloodshed than for its history and culture, its renowned universities and world-class institutions.
At some point city council and the mayor have to come up with reasonable ways to deal with this public safety issue. Maybe it’s time for a serious Task Force, to help curb gun violence throughout the city. Everyone needs to be involved – the Department of Human Services, Family Court, the Detroit Public School District, and various community leaders to address youth gun violence. This epidemic speaks to more than just our city, but to a lost generation. How can children be our future, if they can’t live to see it?
No one person, or legislature, or organization can solve this problem. An entire community must work together to take control of gun control.
We could go with more legislation and restrictions. That approach would be politically convenient and psychologically satisfying – especially after what the people of this city have been through. But is that really the answer?
This is not an attack on the Second Amendment, or an attempt to curb gun rights. But the level of enforcement for laws already on the books has been inadequate to stop gun violence in America. According to the FBI, more than two-thirds of murders nationwide are committed by criminals using handguns. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the leading cause of death for African Americans aged 25 to 34 is homicide committed by firearm.
Where are all these guns coming from? According to statistics from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, of those handguns recovered in crimes nationwide, three in 10 – about 42,000 handguns every year – have crossed state lines before being recovered.
Because of such gaps in federal firearms laws, and the havoc those weapons wreak, there is reason to think that successfully reducing gun violence through the adoption of commonsense gun policies is possible. But more federal intervention is not the answer. The key is state and local governments.
In California and New York, state and local officials continue to implement groundbreaking laws to protect public safety. Why can’t Detroit?
Yes, many of these armed and dangerous criminals deserve to be incarcerated, but we still must do more. We can’t just arrest our way out of the situation. We have to educate. We must be methodical, thoughtful, and reasonable. We have to find ways to show that we care.
There is no magic solution for curbing the murderous violence that has already affected a generation, victims as well as offenders. Nevertheless, we must act. We must save our citizens from death and destruction. We must empower law-biding, decent Detroiters with the freedom to walk our streets with pride and dignity.
Zack Burgess is an award winning journalist. He is the director/owner of OFF WOODWARD MEDIA, LLC, where he works as a writer, editor and communications specialist. His work can be seen at zackburgess.com. Twitter: @zackburgess1