2006-04-21 / Editorial/Opinion

Isn't It Time To Do Something About Gun Violence?

Even a cursory look at The Wave's front pages this year will tip you off to the fact that Rockaway has a gun problem. "Shooting Spree Greets Commish," Cops Take Uzi And Pistol, Arrest Three," "Jealous Ex Triggers His Own Shooting," "Guilty of Gateway Double Murder," "Extortion Boy Slain By Police," "Bank Robber Threatens To Start Shooting." It's only April and the list grows daily. The problem is not Rockaway's alone. Witness the young Bronx boy that was hit by an errant round while sitting in his carseat over the weekend. He was two and he died because some thugs wanted to shoot it out on the street. Even the Reverend Al Sharpton has received the message. After years of causing racial incidents and using the death of every black male as a tirade against the police, Sharpton has called for a Summit on Youth Violence in the wake of the death of a NYU student in Harlem. What Rockaway needs is a similar forum here on the peninsula to bring together the diverse groups that can begin to remediate the problem. In fact, we can't understand why such a conference was not convened before this. One clue to the reason we have not had a comprehensive attack on gun violence, particularly black against black violence is because the black leadership in Rockaway has its head in the sand, preferring instead to bring blame elsewhere and to praise the perpetrators as victims. That must stop. We ask Ed Williams, the president of the local chapter of the NAACP to host a Forum on Youth Violence in Rockaway. Invited constituents should be local church leaders, educational leaders, community leaders, elected officials, the youth officers from each of the local precincts and the relatives of those who have been killed. It will not be easy. Taking guns off the street requires education as well as strict enforcement. The sooner we begin, however, the sooner we can begin to end the plague that has killed and wounded so many of our young.

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The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution reads: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. Nevertheless, Congress has placed greater limitations on the receipt, possession, and transportation of firearms and proposals for national registration or prohibition of firearms altogether have been made. It remains for us as a people to decide who is to be feared more, a police state (i.e., Nazi Germany) or the criminals.

Inviting Armed Forces Recruiting Stations to the area would be a good way to harness all those weapons related skills and pure male energy into our national defense forces. This is not the first time in U.S. history these young men are needed.

Considering the Rockaways are poised to become the "Riviera of NYC" over the next twenty years, the front page reporting of crime, really doesn't pay anymore. It is unintentionally misleading too. WE live in paradise being rediscovered. Crime is old news.

Rather, such "news" should be relegated to a Section starting on page 4 or 5 titled - "Crime Watch" or something like that.

Going forward, a "cursory look at the Wave's frontpage" should reveal only good news touting accomplishments of our many children, progressive business and civic leaders as well as analyses of "goings on" around our Rockaway towns and beyond.

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