View From Here: We Need Strategic Thinkers For a City Under Siege

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David Mark Greaves

The mayor has been saying strong words on behalf of new gun laws.  He’s been loudly berating President Barack Obama and his opponent, chastising them for not calling for stronger gun control laws.  I take the mayor’s posturing with a grain of salt.  According to opensecrets.org, during the 2010 election cycle, the much-feared NRA “spent more than $7.2 million on independent expenditures at the federal level — messages that advocate for or against political candidates”.
Our billionaire mayor could match that two-to-one in contributions to the champions of gun control and throw in another $10-20 million for pro-gun control advertising.  Total cost would be $40 million.  And $40 million to a person worth $16 billion is the same as $125 to a household worth $50,000.   He’s already set the precedent, giving the maximum amount possible, $10,300, to New York State Republicans who supported the Marriage Equality Act.

So mayor can spare us the self-promoting righteousness.   If he cared about gun control and young people dying only half as much as his $100 million-plus third term, it might very well come to pass and it would be a “big up” in the mayor’s legacy column.

It would be good to see the mayor and the police commissioner think outside the box of their accost-and-molest policy.   We’d like to hear the police commissioner give strident calls for after-school programs that are learning experiences for preteens until 6 and teens until 10.

The core problem is dealing with the hopelessness, anger and misdirected survival behavior that leads to violence and the desire for the power found in the gun.    And in this problem,  everything is “the most important thing”, be it fatherless homes, miseducation, lack of economic opportunity, lack of jobs or systemic racism.   It is all of these, they all come first and all have to be addressed because the stop-and-frisk policy of over 700,000 stops of mostly black and Latino young people is clearly racist.  Both the Oklahoma bomber, Timothy McVeigh, and the Colorado shooter, James Eagan Holmes, and other white males can ride their bicycles through Brooklyn night and day with an AK-47 and a pound of cocaine in a backpack, and as long as they obey all rules of the road, they would never be stopped by police, as  I saw happen on the Monday after the Silent March against Stop-and-Frisk on Sunday, the day before.  A little after midnight, a young black man road by on his bike and I thought that he fit the profile of someone the police would stop.   And sure enough, when I reached the corner I saw that the police had indeed stopped him and were by that time sending him on his way with a “have a good night”.

Yes, let’s stop the violence on the street; nobody wants to be a victim of gun violence and you’ll not find any pro-violence advocates on the street or in political office.
Politicians have to move beyond exclamations against violence, because like love of  mom and apple pie, it’s pretty much universal.  What they need to do is focus on the “most important thing” that falls in their area of influence and work on that.

Then we can start to break the cycle of lost lives, crippled futures and mothers left crying that we see no end to today.