Another weekend brings another list of shooting victims in Baltimore, Peoria, and Chicago.
- Police say a 14-year-old boy was shot in northeast Baltimore Friday night, the Baltimore Sun reports.
A woman heard five or six shots just before midnight in a house in the 2600 block of Cecil Avenue and said she found her grandson shot. He was transported to a local hospital, and his condition was not reported.
- Friday evening and overnight also saw violence in Chicago, the Chicago Tribune reports, with one man dead and 13 wounded in the city.
Police reports say that at 2:40 AM Saturday, a 16-year-old boy was shot and critically wounded in the 5900 block of South Hamlin Avenue. He was listed in critical condition at a local hospital.
- Finally, in Peoria, Illinois, Tommie T Forest III, 14, died between 2 and 3 AM Saturday following a suspected home invasion shooting on North Flora Avenue, the Peoria Journal-Star reports.
Tommie was shot once in the head and pronounced dead at the scene. The shooting left three other juveniles with non-life-threatening injuries, according to the Peoria County coroner.
In America, we suffer about 33,000 gun deaths every year. Close to 80,000 people are injured in shootings, among them the two teenagers listed in this article.
The US Congress, beholden for only modestly veiled reasons to the gun lobby and the National Rifle Association, has failed to allow the Centers for Disease Control (or any other federally funded organization) to research these gun deaths as the public health crisis they represent. More people die in shootings than in car wrecks in several states, and the causes of gun violence need to be studied so that corrective measures can be taken.
We remember the children who died in Newtown, Connecticut, every time we read about kids who are shot. The continued violence is intolerable, and to put it bluntly, it’s time to do something about this. What research there is has shown that in states where gun ownership is high, such as Alaska, the per capita rate of gun deaths is high; where gun ownership is low, in states like Hawaii, the per capita gun death rate is also low.
Short of repealing the Second Amendment, the US Supreme Court may be taking a turn toward stemming violence in any way it can. Last week it refused to hear an appeal from a case in Highland Park, Illinois, that allows the government to ban semiautomatic assault weapons and large-capacity magazines.
“The justices don’t reveal their reasons for denying review, but one thing is clear: The justices certainly aren’t eager to take up a Second Amendment case these days,” the New York Times quoted Adam Winkler, a law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, as saying about the case known as Friedman v City of Highland Park. “One has to wonder if the Supreme Court is having second thoughts about the Second Amendment.”
That’s a start, but stronger gun laws wouldn’t reduce the violence as much as stronger enforcement of existing gun laws would, since the concept of “gun violence” is almost a misnomer or misdirection. The real problem is just “violence.” Many US citizens own guns (I even have one in my house), and they will never commit a crime with that gun. They serve the role of protection against criminals, and I am not afraid of the gun itself.
I have looked at this question as follows: Am I more afraid of a criminal that might enter my house or a gun? Or look at it like this: Would I be more uneasy spending a week in a maximum-security prison or in a gun shop? Guns are beautiful things, and one of this organization’s founders often told me how much she enjoyed going to ranges and shooting at targets.
The underlying cause of the violence in our communities must be researched, because we all, Second-Amendment lovers and haters alike, are getting tired of the violence, especially against children. The fact that most of this violence happens with guns would simply make it easier to do the research. The NRA and US Congress are blocking that research, thinking—as may be true, I can’t be sure—that liberal Democrats hate the Constitution and the Second Amendment rights the founders conferred on the citizens of this country, not on the powers of government.