Street Gangs guns Racketeering

Seized street gang guns. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

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The New York Times published a recent article titled, “Bravado, Self-Defense, Fear: Why These Young Men Carry Guns.” In it they talk about the 2020 gang violence spike in the city and somehow tie it all in to being the fault of what they believe is a world representative of the “gun culture.”

The article begins:

“More than 1730 people have been shot so far this year as of Nov. 29, double the number for the same period a year ago – a level of gun violence not seen in 15 years.”

What’s going on in New York? Well, most of the gun-related crime is — surprise! —  gang-related. But Covid is also having an effect. Now, I realize there is some truth to economic downturns being tied to increases in crime, but the issues at play in New York aren’t nearly that simple.

“The police say feuds between street crews over turf and drug deals are driving most of the violence. A single gang feud in Brooklyn, for instance, has been blamed for 26 deaths. Those conflicts have been made worse by the pandemic’s economic and emotional toll on low-income families.”

This next sentence makes me think the New York Times has little to no grasp of cultural differences and violence norms in New York, let alone America as a whole:

“But the authorities said they are also grappling with a deep-rooted gun culture in the city’s poorer neighborhoods, where some young men carry firearms not just to commit crimes but also in a misguided attempt to protect themselves.”

And then it’s time to point fingers at other states’ allegedly lax gun control laws.

“Black market guns, usually bought in other states with lax laws and smuggled to New York City in cars, were easy to buy on the street, they said, where they cost anywhere from $300 to $1000.”

If only all states were as strictly regulated as New York.

Here we come to the fun part. Basaime Spate, one of the authors of the study cited in the article, presents his take on the root of New York’s “gun violence” problem:

“Basaime Spate…said guns have long been mythologized in the United States, equated in popular culture with self-reliance and power, and it was no different in densely populated cities.

‘This is about America embracing the gun culture,’ Mr. Spate said. ‘This is an American problem.’”

Somehow, though, neither Spate, or the article’s author, Edgar Sandoval, mention the fact that the city now has a zero bail policy that releases criminals almost as soon as they’ve been charged. Oh and the fact that Mayor Bill de Blasio just sliced $1 billion out of the NYPD’s budget didn’t merit a mention in the discussion of the city’s crime spike.

Could either of those be factors in the fact that New York will end 2020 with a 14-year high in the number of shootings? Or maybe it’s just too convenient to package the problem as part of America’s mysterious “gun culture.”

Here’s a news flash for Mr. Spate. This is about criminals behaving criminally and a violent subculture of violence that has been part of society for a very long time. It isn’t about embracing the gun culture, it’s following a way of life where it’s all about survival…kill or be killed, and the mindset is that there is no way out.

That’s a brief summary, but you get the gist.

Violence isn’t gun culture. And the gun culture isn’t violent. Guns are simply the inanimate objects many criminals choose to wield to exert power and influence. Criminals also use knives, blunt objects, fists, and feet. It would be fantastic if the mainstream media and the anti-gun left in general were capable of grasping the reality of the situation, but that’s not really in their interest.

Criminals will act criminally The tools they use aren’t to blame.

It would also be nice if they understood illegally obtained firearms wielded by criminal hands are not the same as legally obtained firearms owned, carried and used by law-abiding gun owners. But I digress.

Let’s hear it. Do you think America’s gun culture has anything to do with gang culture?




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