A thirty-something, single mother of two lives in a squat, three bedroom , subsidized townhouse apartment in an “economically depressed” area of any major city. She and her eight and five-year old keep to themselves, out-of-the-way of the gangbangers, drug dealers, hookers, and whores that roam the streets of the neighborhood. She works as a CNA by day, and attends classes at the local community college by night. Her goal is to get her nursing degree, and move her and her children out of the squalor that is the “’hood.” Her sixty-some year old parents live four blocks over, the product of generational poverty and government social manipulation. Her father retired a year ago, after spending his life sweeping floors and mopping up after others. Her mother spent her life raising children and keeping house. Her parents are good people; neither has ever been arrested or in trouble with the law, and neither had gone to college, or even finished high school.
When the father of the eight and five-year old left a few years ago, mom and children moved in down the street from her parents. The grandparents watch over the little ones while mom works and goes to school. It is an arrangement duplicated in tens of thousands of poor families across America, one generation helping another to get a leg up on the future. When the daughter moved into the neighborhood, her father gave her an old .38 caliber revolver, one that had been his father’s before him. The blued, slight rusted piece of hardware sat in the top dresser drawer of the daughter’s bedroom. The bullets in a box hidden away on a shelf in the closet.
At three in the morning, she hears a noise that wakes her. She lies in bed for a few waiting for the cobwebs of sleep to be dusted away from her mind. Then she hears glass breaking, and the sound of the backdoor creaking open. Her heart jumps in her chest, and she slowly gets up from the bed. Without thinking, she grabs the revolver from the dresser and retrieves the box of ammo from the shelf. She is trying to be as quiet as possible, loading a couple of rounds into the gun and closing the cylinder with a light snap. Grabbing her cell phone, she speed dials her parents, “Daddy, someone’s in the house.” He tells her he’s on the way, and has his wife call 911. She now hears voices from downstairs and the rummaging of the intruders. As she walks past her children’s rooms, she checks to make sure the doors are closed, and then quietly plods down the stairs.
There are two men in her living room, both of which she recognizes from the neighborhood. Standing half way up the stairs, she points the gun at the two of them and tells them to get out of her house. The younger one tells her, “Bitch, put that gun down.” The older one has more sense, and sees that she is shaking. “Let’s get the fuck out of here before she shoots one of us on accident.” They both run out the backdoor, grabbing what they can on the way out. She collapses on the stairs, crying. Her father arrives and lets himself in the front door with his key. He sits with her, holding her, comforting her. It is another ten minutes before the police arrive, by then the father has swept up the broken glass, and is looking for something to cover the broken window. In their neighborhood, the police are slow to respond. He tells her not to tell the police about the gun, she doesn’t have a permit, and he fears she will be arrested.
The officer tells them there is nothing they can really do; break-ins such as this happen by the dozens all across the area every night. He asks if they want to make a report. The daughter looks at her father, he shrugs. “No,” she tells the police, “it wouldn’t do any good, anyway.”
Miles away in a tony suburb a husband, wife and their two children sleep in the quiet comfort of their 4,000 square foot home. Motion detector lights surround the two-acre property, and a top of the line alarm system protects the family. The wife hears a noise coming from downstairs, and wakes her husband. She whispers that she has heard something, and then they both hear the sound of breaking glass. The husband gets up and grabs a shotgun from the gun safe in the bedroom. He tells her to call 911. The intruders have tripped the silent alarm, and the police are already on the way. The husband plods down the stairs, and halfway down spies two young men rummaging through the family’s belongings. He points the shotgun at them, and tells them to hit the floor. Twelve gauge
in hand he holds the pair until the police arrive a few minutes later. The burglars are arrested, and the police congratulate the husband for his bravery in protecting his family.
A shade-tree mechanic is working on his car. The front brakes have been grinding, and it has taken several weeks to save up the money to buy the parts. He sits on the ground, struggling to free the caliper from the rotor, his legs under the jacked up car. The bolt holding the caliper won’t budge, and he takes a pry bar and hammer to the socket, trying to break the bolt free. As he is hammering, his knee hits the jack causing it to shift and dropping the car on his leg. He’s pinned, screaming in pain. His wife comes running out the front door of the three flat walk up they live in. She sees blood seeping through his jeans, terrified doesn’t know what to do. He is screaming at her to get the jack, and lift the car off his leg. She gets her husband free. His calf is sliced open from the break assembly landing on it; blood is running down his leg soaking his sock and shoe. A neighbor offers to drive them to the hospital, another volunteers to watch their children. He says he doesn’t want to go, they have no insurance. By now, the blood is overflowing in his shoe, finally he agrees to go. The neighbor can get him to the emergency room faster than calling 911 and off they go.
The ER is busy, it is a Friday night, and the hustle and bustle of the city flows in and out of the emergency room. The wife and neighbor help him to the registration desk, leaving a trail of blood as they go. The hospital staff is quick, efficient and compassionate. They get him into a triage room, packing his leg with compresses to stem the blood flow. He keeps telling the nurse that they have no insurance, and can’t afford the visit. She assures him not to worry, this is a city hospital, one that has to see everyone regardless of whether they can pay or not. X-rays are taken, and the doctor finally sees him. The doctor tells him that there appears to be a fracture in the tibia, and he will need to see an orthopedist. The husband says that they cannot pay they have no insurance. The doctor reassures him that it will be all right this is a city hospital. Thirty stitches later, and a temporary cast the husband is released. He is given three days’ worth of painkillers, all that is allowed by city regulations. The wife asks how long before they can see a bone doctor and is told it could be a week or so. She asks how her husband is supposed to get along with just three days of pain medication, when it might be a week or more before he can be seen again. The doctor shrugs. He doesn’t know.
In an up-scale, downtown apartment a husband climbs up a six-foot ladder to change the light bulb his wife has complained about for weeks. After the bulb is changed, and the cover replaced the husband turns slightly on the ladder losing his footing. He falls, hitting the tile floor with his shoulder and neck. He is screaming in pain, and his wife runs to his side. She calls 911, within a few minutes an ambulance is there. Neck brace and backboard in place the medics transport him to the hospital.
The ER is quiet, even though it is a Friday night. Most of the patients that come to this private hospital have insurance, or are financially secure, and can pay. X-rays and an MRI are done. Nothing is broken, just some strained and pulled muscles. The emergency room doctor tells him to call his primary care physician on Monday for a follow-up. They give the husband a neck brace, and prescriptions for muscle relaxers and pain medication. The emergency room doctor writes the scripts for ten days’ worth of medication. He tells the wife that it may take a few days to get into their primary care physician, and he does not want the husband to be in pain.
Four stories, but essentially two different outcomes. In the first story, the young mother used a gun to protect herself and her family. Why didn’t she file a report with the police when they arrived? In her neighborhood the police are often looked at as the enemy. She knows that nothing will get done, they are poor, economically disadvantaged, and likely a minority. She can’t tell the police she used a weapon to protect herself and her children, she has no permit, and the gun is unregistered. Does she risk being arrested for protecting her home? No. Therefore, the burglary goes unreported, and the father replaces the broken glass with a solid piece of wood.
In the third story, the family can’t afford to hire a mechanic so the husband works on the car himself. When he gets hurt, he is more worried about the medical bills than he is the injury. However, there is a safety net in place to help people like him; it is called the public hospital. His injury, while not life threatening, is painful and will cause pain for days if not longer. The problem is that he lives in New York City, and there are new regulations in place for public hospitals. ER doctors cannot prescribe more than three days of pain medication because someone might abuse them.
In the second story the husband is congratulated for his being brave and protecting his family with a shotgun. The police take a report; the burglars arrested and prosecuted. The husband does not have to hide the fact that he had a weapon, in this neighborhood the police are looked at as the good guys. In the fourth story the husband is treated at a private hospital, and given enough pain medication to last until he can get to see his primary care doctor. The family is a “good” family where the potential for abusing the medication is thought to be less. They come from a “good” neighborhood with money.
In the wake of the Sandy Hook School shooting government officials at various levels have called for a ban on guns. Everything from handguns to shotguns to whatever is deemed an “assault rifle.” President Obama has even convened a special commission, headed up by Vice President Joe Biden, to come up with a plan to end “gun violence” in America. The problem is not “gun violence” but rather a culture of violence that has permeated American society. A culture promoted by Hollywood and video game designers, and allowed to enter our homes via televisions and game consoles. It is the abdication of parents’ responsibility to the monster in the room known as the television or computer monitor.
The problem with mandatory gun control or the confiscation of guns of any type is that, one, it will not work, and two, it is by its very nature racist. It will not work simply because those that are intent on committing criminal acts will find a way to get a gun, whether it is by purchasing one off the street, or stealing one. No confiscation plan in the world will remove from society all the firearms in America. If people think that banning guns and confiscating all the guns in the country is the solution, let me ask one simple question: How is the “War on Drugs” doing to stop the flow of illegal narcotics into the country?
It is racist because it will cause those that need a firearm the most, the residents of urban areas plagued with crime, to be defenseless in their own homes. Those living in safe, moneyed areas of the nation do not have to worry about the same level of crime as those living in the poverty and violence of many urban areas. The character in the first story used a gun to protect herself and her family, and though the firearm was technically illegal, she was no more a threat to society than the man in the second story.
If the various government mouth pieces have their way, all firearms would be gone, sent to the smelter to be melted down, leaving many urban families with no way of protecting themselves. The wealthy will still have their gated communities, their responsive police departments, their private security companies to protect them. The poor, often, only have themselves, and without a firearm to act as a visible deterrent, the poor will be victimized more and more.
In an August 2012 press release, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that as many as 3.4 million violent crimes went unreported from 2006 to 2010. This did not include crimes against property, or other “minor” offenses. If there is already significant un and under-reporting of crime in America, how many people living in poverty will simply not report things such as break-ins and other offenses? There is already a significant distrust of the police by those in poorer communities, especially the black community. The forcible removal, by confiscation, the one thing that may protect a law-abiding family from criminals is racist.
In the third story, a man living in a poorer neighborhood of New York City is hurt and treated at the local public, city run hospital. The emergency room doctor knows that the man will not be able to see another doctor for days, perhaps even a week or more. In the past he would have prescribed ten days’ worth of pain medication to the patient, however due to new regulations laid out by the Mayor of NYC, he can only give the man three days.
Michael Bloomberg, a lifelong Democrat who only switched parties to run for mayor in 2001, has decreed that city owned hospitals could only dispense three days of painkillers. The reason for Mayor Bloomberg’s fiat? Too many people are becoming addicted to painkillers, and the government needs to step in and stop the problem. Bloomberg, in a show of compassion told reporters, “so you didn’t get enough painkillers and you did have to suffer a little bit.”
Critics have said the Mayor’s decree will penalize the poor who use emergency rooms as their primary care facility more often than those with insurance and the financial means to afford a private doctor. Bloomberg remained unfazed by the criticism. Bloomberg’s personal net worth, estimated at $20 billion, allows him to receive the best medical care in the world. Yet, he would deny the poorest of his constituents the right to have their doctor decide how much pain medication they should receive. The Mayor’s decision is another example of closeted racism paraded as being for the “good of the community.”
The gun control lobbies, along with those wanting to control access to medication, are of the same ilk. They do not feel that Americans can think and act responsibly, and therefore need to have the government think for them. They do not trust the poorest among us to be able to think. They do not trust minorities to act responsibly. The policy wonks, the political class, and the liberal pontificators all think that THEY have the solution to all that ails American society. They sit, looking out from their gated communities with armed guards, or down from their Park Ave. apartments with high-tech security and doormen, thinking they know what is best for the average man.
The one thing that these people have in common is that they are generally Democrats, or as Hillary Clinton described herself, modern progressives. They truly believe that they know what is best for the Everyman, and that the modern, 21st century American is not able to think or do for themselves without some form of government assistance. They have created a society of dependent citizens, one that asks what the government can do for them. The ideals of individuality are taking a backseat to the needs of the collective.
V.P. Biden quoted President Obama at the outset of the gun control commission, “As the president said, if your actions result in only saving one life, they’re worth taking.” But what actions? The forced confiscation of firearms from normally law-abiding citizens, leaving those that cannot afford private security to fend for themselves? Chicago, a city with some of the most restrictive gun policies in America, had 500 homicides for 2012. Chicago Police Superintendent Gerry McCarthy stated the increase in homicides was due to “gang violence and proliferation of illegal guns.” “Illegal guns”? It is obvious that more restrictive gun policies do not work. Why? Because criminals will always get what they want, just like those that abuse drugs.
Rather than implementing racist, anti-poor policies, politicians should be focusing on how to improve the dynamic of the American household. Economic empowerment through a robust, growing economy is a start. Then there is the need to hold parents accountable for what their children do. We need to revisit what our children are watching TV, and playing online. We, as a country, also need to have a serious discussion about mental health, and the over medicating of our children simply because they act out in class. When the progressives become serious about confronting these issues, and not simply enacting their racist, government control over every aspect of American life, then I will believe they are serious.