The Guns Are Shooting People
"The gun" killed Alan Reitter in March on Block E in Minneapolis:
On a Friday night in late March, the gun that Brown had stolen from his father -- and that was then stolen from him in St. Louis -- resurfaced in the Block E complex in downtown Minneapolis. Authorities say it was used to randomly shoot and kill Alan Reitter, a mortgage lender from Minnetonka who had just stepped out of a bar with friends.Let's examine how silly this connection is between "the gun" and the killing.
The gun, police say, is among a record number of weapons making their way to Minneapolis through an underground market that's flooding streets with illegal firearms -- and increasing violent crime.
By way of illustration, let's say that Reitter's killer and Rambix came into possession of the .44 Magnum in the same manner - we found it lying on the street. Suspecting the firearm is stolen or "dirty", Rambix picks it up (with a cloth so as not to disturb fingerprints), and in the interest of public safety takes it to the nearest police station. The firearm would likely be examined and kept for evidence or destroyed.
Reitter's killer, however, picks up the firearm, sticks it in his pants and goes home. An undetermined amount of time later, he takes it downtown to Block E and makes a choice to fire it in public, killing Alan Reitter.
So it's really not about the gun, is it? It's about the criminal.
The Twin Cities doesn't have a gun problem, it has a criminal problem.
Gangs and drugs are driving gun violence, and "all we can do is go out there and attack their leaders and straw buyers -- one by one by one every single day," said Lt. Mike Carlson, who's leading an 11-member team of city officers and federal agents known as the Violent Offenders Task Force (VOTF).Ok, so we also have a gang and drug problem. I'm no less concerned if they're a gang of machete-wielding thugs; they just happen to use firearms.
"That task force operates with two hooks -- connecting gang leadership to criminal activity involving guns and drugs," said Capt. Rich Stanek, head of the department's investigations unit.
Yes, firearms are more effective when used unlawfully, but it's really about intent. You're just as dead if you get run over by a car, stabbed, beat-down, or shot.
If you get the criminals off the street, firearms are no longer a problem. If you just get the firearms off the street, criminals remain a problem.
A confidential 2005 report by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, obtained from sources outside the ATF, draws a portrait of the growing illegal marketplace for guns in the Twin Cities.This is happening because Minneapolis is becoming known as a lucrative place for criminals to ply their trade. We don't have the death penalty, we don't have three-strikes, and we do have soft-on-criminal judges.
It describes how from January 2004 to last August, authorities traced nearly 1,200 firearms in Minneapolis involved in criminal investigations.
I don't mind the cops chasing firearms if it results in criminals being taken off the streets, but we shouldn't lose perspective. The criminals themselves are the bad actors, no matter what weapon they choose.
The culture of lawlessness continues in Minneapolis.