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Ending Gun Violence with Actual Corrective Measures, not Corroding Gun Rights

In Articles on June 4, 2013 at 4:37 pm
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“There is no courage necessary in forcing the law-abiding to follow yet another law; however, there is a need for true political courage and leadership to tackle the issue of American urban gun violence and bring back the generationally-disillusioned from the throes of destruction…It is much more difficult – yet much more necessary – to create new conditions that take illegal guns away from those that have little else to put their hands around.” (Lenny McAllister, Rose Dialogue Series Speaker (June 5 2013, Bronx, NY)

(This post may also be found on Global Grind as well.)

 

To end the problem of everyday gun violence throughout America, the primary focus should be on business growth, not bullets

 

Sadly, each one of us has felt the sting of gun violence.

 

Some of us experience this pain through the national connection we bear, watching the pain of Newtown tug at our national heartstrings in a new and horrible way, compounding the pain of Aurora, CO and Arizona with the grim reality that the Connecticut tragedy robbed America of  young, innocent children.

 

Some of us experience this pain at the wrong end of a gun by becoming the victim of a crime- like my father did almost two decades ago before spending a food-less year full of surgeries on the path to recovery afterwards. Sometimes, pain comes through cruel carelessness in a random moment – like the loss of my young cousin Chelsea in an accidental shooting. In these situations, too many families and loved ones are left to scramble in attempts to save lives, make sense of the tragedies, and make the most of the unimaginable.

 

Some of us understand the costly role that gaps in mental health awareness and activism have had on the nation regarding gun violence over recent years. There are clear ways that we can avoid some of the devastation that we have collectively experienced through the application of current laws as well as specific laws designed to keep access to guns out of the reach of those struggling with mental health challenges.

 

Many of us, however, fail to grasp the reality that faces us in stopping the everyday gun violence that impacts so many lives, from the streets of New York City to here in Chicago and beyond:

 

The best way to control gun violence is not by controlling legal guns – it is by actively and successfully encouraging economic growth in areas most impacted by illegal guns and subsequent violence in America. The best way to keep people from pursuing using guns illegally to perpetrate the violence that we endure nationally is to establish more pathways to better pursuits: jobs, careers, and stability.

 

Too often, addressing gun violence involves some legislation or proposal that requests more from law-abiding, weapons-trained, middle class Americans. In exchange, we wrongly believe that this will have an impact on the underclass accessing and using guns illegally as a result of their hopeless realities that are increasingly forged by failing (or closing) schools, high rates of unemployment, and limited access to health care services. This line of logic – backwards in nature and notably inept when considering that many of the current gun laws on the books have been both ineffective and unenforced – merely scores our improper focus on dealing with weapons without dealing with the people behind them.

 

Give more people a job, a career, and a stable life to hold onto and they will not have enough hands to grab illegal guns for urban violence through America.

 

The time, attention, and debate over gun control must not be about controlling the accessibility of guns by law-abiding Americans. It must be about controlling gun violence. Because urban gun violence in America primarily exists to fill the community void left by years of urban neglect and political mismanagement, the effort to control gun violence must involve remedies that address the actual problems that prompt gun violence – a reality spurred by illegal gun ownership.

 

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to involve the business community of Chicago in an attempt to stem potential summer violence is a potential great first step. However, efforts like these must be forged with active business mentoring opportunities, apprenticeships, internships, and jobs that provide paths from entry-level positions to career openings. Those that overwhelmingly engage in gun violence throughout America – most often chronicled through the prison industrial complex – do not need more laws that they will skirt without options for a better life. These Americans do not need more pep talks about “just say no” or “just work hard and past ills don’t matter” to help them get over the temptation of pursuing illegal means to alleviate family pain or social ills – they need better life options, both during the formidable years of their youth as well as during times of shortcomings. These Americans need more legislation that will make having a growth of blue-collar, grey-collar, and green-collar jobs in American urban areas a viable and practical solution starting in 2013. These Americans need GOP-driven tax policies that cut taxes for many to successfully encourage small businesses and the privileged to invest more in under-utilized human capital throughout the nation. These Americans need more Democratic-driven programs to yield community and family stability for 90 years, not merely 90 days during the summer.

 

As we have learned from the War on Drugs, the aggressive tactics of former Mayor Giuliani in the 1990s throughout New York City, even the best of police tactics to lock up gang members and others using illegal guns to terrorize merely produce openings for the next generation to fill the criminal void if that space is not sealed with stable stepping stones, not empty hopes and actions. There is no courage necessary in forcing the law-abiding to follow yet another law; however, there is a need for true political courage and leadership to tackle the issue of American urban gun violence and bring back the generationally-disillusioned from the throes of destruction. It’s easy to take guns away from the law-abiding through additional laws. It is much more difficult – yet much more necessary – to create new conditions that take illegal guns away from those that have little else to put their hands around. Until we get our hands around this concept, we will continue to go around and around on the gun debate – even while the murder rates in places such as Chicago continue to hit dizzying levels of our shared pain.

 

Lenny McAllister is the “Working Man’s Conservative” featured at the Rosedale Dialogue Series debate/discussion, “Gun Control or Out of Control” opposite Global Grind editor-in-chief Michael Skolnik June 5th at the Riverdale Y in the Bronx starting at 6pm. Lenny is a noted media personality, public speaker, writer, author, and rising leader that has “… a mission to make positive changes to the status quo within politics, societal matters, and other issues that hamper our American way of life …” Featured as one of the “40 Under 40 to Watch in 2012” by the historic newspaper The Chicago Defender, he has been featured in several publications, including Essence, Chicago Crusader, and Charlotte Magazine. “The McAllister Minute,” a regular feature of the American Urban Radio Network, runs on more than 300 stations nationwide. 

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