You Know How We Can Solve “Gun Violence”? With Lots Of Money Or Something

It’s totally proven to have worked in the past, you know. So they say

There’s a Proven Way to Reduce Gun Violence in America’s Cities. We Just Need to Fund It

More than 141 people were shot in our hometowns of Oakland, Chicago, and New York City over the July 4th weekend. The shooting victims included a 6-year old girl and her mother in the West Pullman neighborhood of Chicago, a 16-year old boy shot in the head from nearby celebratory gunfire in Oakland, and a 38-year old man checking his car for a flat tire in Queens, New York.

This staggering weekend of violence isn’t an outlier; based on an already difficult year and the violence trends we’ve seen, this could be one of the deadliest summers on record for gun violence. These tragedies and the certainty of more to come prompted Governor Cuomo of New York to declare a state of emergency around gun violence on July 6. It’s no exaggeration to say our country is in crisis. But to meet this moment, America can’t simply police our way out of the bloodshed, as the current national conversation on violence seems to suggest. Instead, we should learn from past failures and—as President Biden said in his recent speech on gun violence earlier—invest in what works: community violence intervention (CVI) programs that actually address the cycle of intergenerational poverty, violence, and trauma that drives gun violence.

The weird part is how this is all happening in areas in Democratic Party run cities. In Oakland, every single council member is a Democrat. In Chicago, every one is a Democrat except for four independents. In New York City, all but three of fifty one are Democrats (2 districts are still vacant). The mayors are all Democrats. And this has been like this for over 50 years.

The pandemic has exacerbated this vicious cycle. With economic instability on the rise, mental health and substance use struggles skyrocketing, and Americans increasingly disengaged from school and work, homicide rates in our biggest cities increased by 30%. As with COVID-19, this gun violence has taken a disproportionate toll on Black and brown communities. Even before last year, gun violence was the leading cause of death for young Black men, claiming as many lives as the next nine causes combined; now, it’s likely more.

The leading cause for the deaths of young black men are other young black men, let’s be utterly clear about that, since the article from Time Magazine left that part out. Why was this not happening in white areas? Why is it not happening in the suburbs and areas run by Republicans, who certainly have a lot of legally owned guns and ammunition?

For years, the enforcement-first policing and punitive criminal justice policies currently being proposed have hurt the same Black and brown people most affected by gun violence, leading to high rates of incarceration and excessive uses of force. Rather than reducing violence by building trust between law enforcement and residents, these policies reinforce it by hollowing out communities of economic opportunity, family supports, and a sense of safety.

Uh huh

Maybe don’t go soft on criminals. How about corporal punishment? How about making the criminals do hard time, whereby they don’t get to sit around in jail all day but are taken out and put to work on road gangs and such? How about looking at the conditions in Democratic Party run cities which lead to all the crime. These young men are not worried about family. And there’s little to no economic opportunity in the reservations Democrats have created in their cities. Unless we’re talking about looting Walgreen’s, Targets, Neiman Marcus, and other stores. With no worry about being arrested.

There’s a better way. If we want to stop gun violence, we can’t just turn the wheel back to the enforcement-first playbook of the past, we have to break the cycle of trauma that’s driving it. Based on our combined decades of experience working on this issue, here’s what we know: the most effective way to do that is by funding CVI programs that reduce violence and the harms of the criminal justice system at the same time.

They haven’t worked well in the past, and, don’t want to be harmed by the criminal justice system? Don’t commit a crime. Regardless, Democrats switched from their use of the KKK, property covenants, Jim Crow, and open segregation to sticking blacks in urban plantations, saying they are helping them with food stamps, government housing, etc. Just a different form of racism from Democrats.

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