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Tuesday, Sep. 30, 2014

Address real issues behind gun violence

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

By all means, let's ban assault weapons and reduce to a sane number the amount of bullets in a weapon's clip.

Absolutely mandate and increase background checks on gun purchases.

And certainly, let's monitor those with mental health issues to assure their access to guns in prohibited.

Cops in schools? Why not.

In the wake of the senseless murders of 20 precious children, we've finally decided to acknowledge our nation's gun problem.

Now don't we feel better about ourselves?

But wait.

Perhaps - just a random thought - we are ignoring a larger issue that relates to guns.

Hollywood?

Nope, Tinseltown gets a pass because we certainly don't want to stifle artistic license.

Violent video games?

Nope, pure entertainment for those unattended youngsters.

Let's try this one on for size.

Is anyone interested in discussing the culture of violence that grips our urban centers?

Oops, did I hit a sore spot!

Gang shooting? Armed robberies?

The problem is not random murders like Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech or Aurora, Colo.

Those tragedies capture the headlines, as well they should.

But national statistics show that the bulk of gun deaths are not random.

Most are a direct result of a culture of violence between a suspect and a person known to the suspect: retaliations, feuds, turf protection and drug-related shootings.

Where are those issues in our myopic obsession to remove assault weapons?

Perhaps we can control guns. It's highly doubtful we can remove the culture of violence that is prevalent in urban cultures.

And yes, urban violence slowly creeps into non-urban regions like ours.

In the past decade, 2,000 servicemen have been killed in Afghanistan. During that same time in Chicago, 5,000 murders were committed with handguns.

Street gangs are responsible for the bulk of those.

Greatest number of handgun-related murders per capita?

Washington, D.C.

One of the strictest gun control policies in the nation?

Washington, D.C.

Do you honestly believe gang members purchased those guns legally?

Here's a snapshot of Chicago from a police official.

"Once you take a closer look, you will find out that the majority of conflicts stem from interpersonal conflicts that escalate into gang conflicts."

Politicians all too often address the low-hanging fruit and ignore underlying issues.

Assault weapons are an easy target.

Urban gangs and the culture of violence is a much harder issue.

As usual, we're long on rhetoric and short on honest assessment and solutions.

So what else is new?

Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen