According to the New York Times this morning, “Last school year, 258 public school students were shot in Chicago, 32 fatally, on their way to or from school.” (Susan Saulny, “Graduation Is the Goal, Staying Alive the Prize,” New York Times, Friday, July 2, 2010). 
This is not news to me.  As the former Vice President of Research at the Kansas City Partnership for Children, I was involved in community efforts to stop the homicide victimization of teens in Kansas City, Missouri.  With one of the highest homicide rates in the nation (ranging from 20 to 28 per 100,000 from year to year), approximately one-fourth of the 120 or so Kansas City, MO victims each year were teenagers.

Along with housing, jobs, decent activities and programs for kids, gun control has been proven to be effective in reducing homicide.  In the late 1980s, Boston and New York had homicide rates nearly equal to that of Kansas City.  Through very smart policing, which included gun control, programs for kids, housing and jobs programs, these two cities have reduced their homicide levels to at or below the national average of 5 per 100,000 in most years.  You can read all about Boston’s approach by Goggling Boston Strategy or by finding a copy of Murder is No Accident by Deborah Prothrow-Stith and Howard Spivak, both of whom are physicians, and both of whom were involved in the Boston Strategy.

Since I know a lot about guns (in the Marines, I was an infantry weapons specialist), I tried to tell KCMO community leaders that I never dreamed that so many of the weapons we used in the Marines would end up in the hands of civilians.  This fell on deaf ears.  Some of the community leaders were pro-gun conservatives; others either didn’t understand weapons or were intimidated by the current widespread gun-nuttiness in the U.S.  Furthermore, Kansas City leaders haven’t shown much of an inclination to do anything for the people living on the East side.

When I left the Marines, I never had a gun in my house or in my possession.  I lived in a “rough” neighborhood in Los Angeles for years and was in just about every part of that city in my daily activities. 

I don’t think people should even have hand guns.  Hopefully, people who like to kill animals will get over that infantile behavior and we could just leave all rifles, shot guns, and hand guns totally in the hands of the military where they belong.  Furthermore, adults who like to hear things go boom, boom should grow up and get rid of their extremely hazardous toys.  In other words, let’s just get firearms off of the streets and out of the civilian population.

The problem we have is simply this:  legislators are intimidated by the nutty, goon-like, aggressive National Rifle Association.  The Democratic-controlled U.S. Congress has even exempted these nuts from a recent bill to control lobbying activities.


The Nutty Rifle Association

 As a kid growing up in Western Kansas with a bunch of hunters and as a Marine sent to school on weapons, I learned respect for guns.  Fools running around with a pistol strapped on at political rallies don’t have any respect for weapons.  Someone who understands firearms doesn’t show up at political gatherings with a menacing sign and a gun.  They are juvenile and, of all people, they shouldn’t have guns in their possession.  Furthermore, people who think that “packing heat” is cool are jerks!