2009-11-27 / Editorial/Opinion

Allow Cops To Stop And Frisk

There are some truisms involved when we speak about gun violence. The first is that Rockaway has a definite gun problem that needs to be addressed aggressively if the community is to end the killing of young men and women. Nobody doubts that the problem exists. It exists for many reasons: Conservative lawmakers, convinced that the Second Amend - ment to the Constitution is a suicide pact and empowered by the strength and financial resources of the National Rifle Association (NRA), keep both local and federal police from insuring that guns do not reach Rockaway's streets; the "Gangsta" philosophy that drives many of today's young people dictates that a man must carry a gun in order to be considered a man; courts that keep putting gun thugs back on the street time after time, convinced that they deserve another chance - and another; politicians who find it easier to blame the police than their own constituents when innocent young people are gunned down by gun thugs; and, there is the liberal philosophy that police do not have the right to check suspected gun thugs to see if they indeed have a gun tucked in a belt or pocket. The statistics prove that an aggressive stop and frisk program slows gun violence. This year, for example, the number of stop and frisks is up about 15 percent from last year. At the same time, murders are down 12 percent and shootings are down 6 percent. The number of unintended shooting victims is down 3 percent. As a result of the stop and frisks this year alone, city cops have confiscated 6,970 weapons. Most of those were knives, but police records show that 747 pistols, 84 rifles and nine machine guns were confiscated in stop and frisks as well. Think of the people those 747 pistols, 44 rifles and nine machine guns could have killed. Some say that linking the statistics is a mistake, that stop and frisks don't cut down on gun violence. We think that those statistics point to the opposite conclusion. There is now a concerted effort among some of our local legislators - State Senator Malcolm Smith and City Councilman James Sanders Jr. in - cluded, to stop police from stopping and searching those they be lieve are carrying weapons. That is a decision that would find even more young people dead on our streets, and that is too terrible to contemplate.

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As a mother and grandmother, I have lost family members and friends to this horrible epidemic of gun violence. Though I am totally against "racial profiling" I support "stop and frisk." We all know that most of these horrible acts are committed by and against people of color, and if stopping and frisking "suspicious" individuals is the only way to stop this nonsense, it's only common sense to do it. Though the law abiding person who is stopped and frisked may disagree, we have to consider those who have lost their lives because "if only" that person was "stopped and frisked." A few years ago, my son had an illegal gun, and I had him arrested, and would do it again! If I had not, it is possible that another act of gun violence could have taken place. If you are illegally" in possession of a gun, and frisked, then you deserve punishment to the fullest extent of the law - as he was. Though the law abiding person who is stopped and frisked may disagree, we have to appreciate the efforts of law enforcement to stop this carnage in our communities - committed by and against us.

Liz Bishop-Goldsmith
Mothers Against Guns, Inc
(718) 276-5802

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