America’s Gun Violence: Time for Action
Whatever approach one has regarding gun control, the fact is gun violence in America is unbridled, malignant, and destructive.
The Second Amendment is a sacrosanct principle of American freedom. Yet, it must be properly understood.
The term gun control can be misleading as for some it implies a loss of freedom as guaranteed by our bill of rights. Perhaps a more sensible term that captures the essence of the issue will develop in time.
Meanwhile, adoption of common sense policies to reduce gun violence as advocated by the International Association of Chiefs of Police must include:
- Banning armor-piercing ammunition
- Assault weapons ban
- Body armor for police
- Concealed weapons
- Firearms enforcement
- Firearms offender registry
- Firearm purchase waiting period
- Closing the gun show loophole
- Ending illegal firearms trafficking
America’s Violent Summer
Summer violence is quickly painting a picture of senseless bloodshed throughout the nation.
On July 13, 2014, Jersey City, N.J., rookie police officer Melvin Santiago, 23, is shot in the head and killed after responding to a report of an armed robbery.
During the July 4 weekend, two Indianapolis, Ind., police officers are also killed in separate incidents.
The National Law Enforcement Memorial Officers Foundation cites a 65 percent increase of firearms related officer deaths as of July 14, 2014, compared to this time last year—28 officers to 17 in 2013.
On July 13, 2014, in Washington, D.C., seven people are shot—three fatally—in three unrelated shootings just blocks apart.
On July 10, 2014, Six members of a family including four children are shot to death in a suburb north of Houston, Texas. According to a court testimony, the killer kicked in the home door, tied up the parents and four children, and shot them in the head execution style.
Over the July 4 weekend, 82 people are shot with 16 ultimately dying during an 84-hour period in Chicago.
During the following weekend, another 29 are wounded in shootings with 4 dead.
Chicago police have already confiscated over 3,400 illegal firearms this year.
During the Independence Weekend elsewhere, four people are shot at a Houston, Texas, festival. In New York City another 12 people are shot—three fatally—and three people are shot dead with several others wounded in St. Louis, Mo.
On July 5, 2014, a 12-year-old eighth-grader is shot in the head while riding a scooter with two friends in Paterson, N.J. Genesis Rincon later dies after being removed from life support.
On June 30, 2014, a teen cheerleader who recently graduated high school with a dream of becoming a nurse is shot and killed in Newark, N.J. Cheyanne Bond is the third homicide in the city in less than 24 hours.
In 2013, escalating bloodshed in Trenton, and the most violent 12-month stretch in Newark in nearly 25, years elevated New Jersey homicides to a seven-year high.
Responding to the Crisis
Aside from the aforementioned International Association of Chiefs of Police issues, America’s response must also include:
- Compassion—America must always have a heart of compassion. Victims are never to be treated merely as statistics, political opportunities, or marginalized.
- Law Enforcement Resources—The massive layoffs of police over the last few years—especially in many economically challenged communities—is a travesty. There is always a way for America to do the right thing and every American deserves “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Our nation deserves the finest law enforcement professionals, and agencies across the country need to be staffed as necessary. The NYPD June 2014 graduation of 610 new officers is an example of effective leadership during economically challenging times.
- School/Community Policing Initiatives—The future of the nation is our youth, and schools must partner with law enforcement on character education, youth academies, gang prevention, and violence prevention programs.
Vincent J. Bove, CPP, is a national speaker and author on issues critical to America. Bove is a recipient of the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award for combating crime and violence and is a former confidant of the New York Yankees. His newest book is “Listen To Their Cries.” For more information, see www.vincentbove.com