Why will Mich. Governor Rick Snyder veto a bill that loosens restrictions on concealed weapons? To put it simply, it's just bad timing. In reality, gun violence likely won't disappear with "a wave of the legislative wand."
That said, all eye are still on Rick Snyder this week.
It’s been a big month for our Gov. with a wildly active legislature cranking out approval of bill after bill; Snyder has been busily signing new legislation into law. Without pause the Governor signed some of the most “divisive” bills that political analysts say will tarnish his claim to being a moderate political leader. Things got pretty chaotic when the Snyder jumped aboard the right-to-work train.
But nothing gets people riled up quite like the debate over gun control. If right-to-work came to a raucous head last week, it was overshadowed this week by another piece of controversial legislation that would allow concealed weapon schools and churches. It happened in a tragically ironic turn of events, when, just as Michigan lawmakers passed a bill to loosen restrictions on concealed weapons, a Connecticut school shooting massacre ending the lives of 26 young children and teachers rocked the nation.
If Snyder knows what’s best for his political career, he’ll veto Senate Bill 59. The debate over whether the veto will curb school shootings will remain, but in light of the Newtown shooting, the climate for bills like SB 59 is an acrid one. Signing that bill would be the last straw tossing what’s left of Snyder’s “moderate” image to the wolves of lefty mania.
Amid a virtual snowball fight of gun incidents, studies and wobbling “proof” that guns do or do not curb violence, the conversation is no longer in favor of any legislation that would make things easier for gun carriers; especially in schools. The unspeakable horror of the Newtown shooting landed like a brick on gun enthusiasts’ efforts to make guns even more accessible than they are now. It was enough to silence the nation’s most vocal group of gun-toting advocates.
The Huffington Post asks, “where’s the NRA?” in a recent report:
“The nation's largest gun-rights organization – typically outspoken about its positions even after shooting deaths – has gone all but silent since last week's rampage at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school that left 26 people dead, including 20 children. Its Facebook page has disappeared. It has posted no tweets. It makes no mention of the shooting on its website. None of its leaders hit the media circuit Sunday to promote its support of the Second Amendment right to bear arms as the nation mourns the latest shooting victims and opens a new debate over gun restrictions. On Monday, the NRA offered no rebuttal as 300 anti-gun protesters marched to its Capitol Hill office.”
If the NRA has gone ghost, it’s a sign it’s time to law low on the gun gusto. So pro-gun laws? There’ll be a time for that but it doesn’t take a political guru to know that the time is not now.
For now, in the emotional aftermath of Newtown massacre, it’s a time for reflection of the state of firearms. Right now many are arguing that in the writing the U.S. constitution’s second amendment, muskets were the arms people had the right to bear, not automatic human-killing machines.
Here's some food for thought: Maybe we would be better of if we were still fighting with horses and bayonets.
Aside from community policing and preventative programs, law enforcement officials have offered up a tougher solution to get better a grip on crime in the city.
At a Forum at Wayne State University last week, former Los Angeles Police Chief Bill Bratton and Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee suggested Michigan adopt sentence enhancements for gang members who commit crimes. The idea is that it will discourage gang-related violence, which is responsible for the high homicide rates in Detroit according to Godbee.
But before we go running to lawmakers to push for these “enhanced” punishments for organized crime, we should look at how Detroit’s criminal landscape differs from California in the late 90’s when Bratton was police chief.
Bratton talked about L.A.’s crime scene in a 2007 NPS interview:
“It's the birthplace of the black gangs, the Bloods and the Crips. It is the historical birthplace of the Latino gangs [and the] Mexican mafia …”
In the late 90’s when Bratton took on the Californian Crips and the Bloods, it was easier to ID gang members. For starters, they wore distinctive colors. The gangs were larger, some spanning an entire city with key signs and symbols that were easier to spot and define.
But Detroit gangs are different. The problem isn’t Crips or Bloods but rather small, wild groups of friends and neighbors who dub themselves according to whatever street they live on. Names like “Fenkell Boys” or “Lafayette Goons” are just neighborhood cliques getting into beef with the gangs or cliques just one street over. These micro gangs are harder to identify.
Detroit City Council Member James Tate, who formerly served as deputy police chief in Detroit, said it is hard to ID gangs in this city:
“Our gangs are really just people who get together and get themselves a name. We have to redefine what we call a gang. They’re not all the same colors or anything like that.”
While crime fighting is tricky, we have to be careful not to be so reactionary and take a closer look at preventative measures. It would take intensive community policing to keep up on all of the city's little crime cliques since they are often remote, smaller than big organized crime circles, and change constantly.
There was no shortage of law enforcement officers at the Detroit Fireworks Monday evening: Federal officers, State troopers, Detroit Police, Coast Guards, Wayne, Macomb, Oakland County Sheriffs, and a number of DNR officers patrolled the riverfront.
The city’s efforts to keep the event safe and well patrolled by pulling in neighboring law enforcement resources from anywhere possible, really showed. Groups of uniformed officers speckled the crowd of thousands of people, and it seemed the majority of them were not even Detroit Police.
Hart Plaza and the popular hill that many watched fireworks from in the past was closed due to construction, officials said.
The officers were friendly, just the numbers of officers was impressive. Although I didn't personally witness any detainments, the Detroit News reported that officers detained 250 minors for being unaccompanied by adults past the citywide curfew of 6 p.m. Take a look at some of the views from the event:
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