Today’s Washington Post has this column by Courtland Milloy:
Police officers George Young and Sylvester Garvin III were on routine patrol last month in the District when they detained a juvenile who was driving without a seat belt. Asked for his driver’s license, the boy took off — only to be caught again.
“We asked him why he ran,” Young recalled. “He said, ‘I have a gun.’ ”
In fact, the boy, who is 14, had two guns: a Mac-11 semiautomatic handgun and a .380 semiautomatic pistol, both fully loaded.
First, he’s a 14 year-old boy driving a car. No comment about that?
Since the arrest Feb. 3, however, the case has virtually disappeared behind a shroud of official secrecy, behind one set of laws that protects the identity of juveniles and another that restricts the release of information about confiscated guns. But the questions remain: Who was that 14-year-old boy? How did he get those guns? Why did he have them?
According to a 2002 report by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, 57 percent of recovered “crime guns” in the District were taken from people 24 years old and younger.
Handguns accounted for 82 percent of the District’s crime guns, with the semiautomatic pistol being the weapon of choice — especially for those 17 years old and younger, according to the report.
“It’s a shock to sensibility,” said John P. Malone, the ATF special agent in charge of the Washington field office. “At 14, you’re supposed to be a freshman in high school, not driving around with guns.”
For one thing, it’s a perfect example of the fact that “gun control” doesn’t work. DC keeps trading places with that other “gun control” mecca, Chicago, for the highest homicide rate in cities larger than 500,000 population.
The ATF, it should be noted, is neither pro-gun nor anti-gun.
Really? You’ve obviously not been keeping up with the ATF’s actions, then.
Part of its mission is to trace guns that have been used in the commission of crimes and to keep firearms away from ineligible receivers.
Last year, 1,982 guns were confiscated in the District — where a ban on handgun ownership has been in place since 1979 — and turned over to the ATF for tracing. Moreover, 77 percent of the city’s 243 homicides last year were gun-related.
Then DC is significantly above the national average, because according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, firearms nationwide are used in only about 70% of homicides.
Boy those gun bans really make you safer, don’t they?
So far this year, D.C. police have seized 387 illegal weapons. The Mac-11 (which police initially said was a Mac-10 submachine gun) and the .380 semiautomatic were among them.
“I thought, ‘What is a 14-year-old doing with this kind of fighting power?’ ” recalled Young, who is 30 and has been a police officer for two years.
Shouldn’t you have asked “What has driven kids like this to create a market that supplies them these weapons?” Nobody just came up and handed the kid these guns. There aren’t gun manufacturers going around like drug pushers giving them their first gun for free just to get them hooked (though to hear the VPC, et. al you’d believe that.)
The boy was arrested in the 700 block of Yuma Street SE, in Washington Highlands, the neighborhood where Young grew up.
“We weren’t into guns when I was growing up, unless we were playing cowboys with cap guns,” Young said. “Firearms were off limits. Kids my age just didn’t see guns. But this younger generation is different. Every day that I’m on the street, I expect to face juveniles who are armed. And I know what a 14-year-old is capable of.”
When I was growing up, I was exposed to guns, and did see them. And I also played “cowboys” (the politically-correct term for “cowboys and indians“) with cap guns and other toy guns – a behavior that the PC crowd today wants to eliminate because it “breeds violent behavior.” I doubt this youngster ever played “cowboys” in his neighborhood. He played “gangsta.”
Young hastened to add that such youngsters also are capable of doing good and doubtlessly would do much more of it if given the chance.
“Hastened” because to do otherwise would be seen as un-PC.
This is the liberal “all people are inherently good” position, which I disagree with. People are not inherently good. They are inherently neutral, and develop behavior based on their environment. The poor, urban, welfare environment is what’s responsible for this, not the “easy availability of guns” – but it’s much easier to blame the guns than to face the failure of decades of well-meaning but (literally) homicidally flawed social policy and try to address that. It can’t be the fault of liberal social policies! It can’t be the result of conservative prohibitions! It must be because of those evil gun manufacturers who make Mac-11’s and “Saturday Night Special” .380’s!
“What I’m seeing is a lot of children raising children, parents allowing their children to do anything they want,” he said. “When you’re that young and facing adult situations, you’re going to make a lot of wrong decisions. You’re going to go for the simple and easy and fast, because you don’t see people working long and hard to make it.”
At least officer Young is willing to state, and the WaPo is willing to print, that the problem has to do with the fact that these kids aren’t being raised, but that avoids the underlying cause of that neglect.
The ATF report notes that 55 percent of the District’s traceable crime guns were purchased initially in Maryland or Virginia and that Bryco Arms and Lorcin Engineering 9mm semiautomatic pistols were the preferred weapons of most youths caught with firearms in the District.
Those models can cost as little as $100 if bought in, say, Georgia. But in the District, with its gun ban, they can fetch as much as $300.
See! It’s the gunmakers fault! It’s the fault of the loopholes in gun control laws! It’s the fault of unscrupulous gun dealers!
I’m sure this kid drove down to a gun shop in Virgina and slid past the NICS check when he bought that Mac-11, which sells for in excess of $350, according to GunsAmerica.com.
Anyone wonder where a 14 year-old comes up with, say, $300 to buy a Bryco .380?
Asked about the high demand for guns in D.C., Young said: “For many of these young people, a firearm is like money. It makes you powerful. You can use it to collect so many things the wrong way. A kid with a gun can take a vehicle. He can take someone’s livelihood or his manhood or his life. The person who gets violated may want to retaliate, but if he doesn’t have a gun, then he’s not capable. The one with the gun feels immortal, as if life is stopping for him.”
The 14-year-old’s mini-arsenal certainly made people stop and think, just not for very long.
And, like this article does, it made them think about the wrong questions.
Young, urban, black males are overwhelmingly the victims of homicide. It’s an epidemic among that specific population. Less than 13% of the population provides 47% of the victims of homicide, yet we’re told that guns are the root cause of the problem, and are the only vector for fighting this “public health concern.”
No, a combination of the misguided “War on (some) Drugs®” and the even more destructive “War on Poverty™” are the primary vectors here.
Unless and until we are willing to face the failures of both of these policies, young urban black males will continue to kill each other at epidemic levels – levels six times that of the general population. But instead, people like Courtland Milloy will continue to push for more “gun controls” that will inevitably fail to affect the slaughter.