Like most I have heard the news of the Seattle gun buyback. I heard about the collectors who gathered to offer more money than the police. I heard about Amazon.com donating $30,000 to help separate the citizens of Seattle from their second amendment rights. I even heard about a rocket launcher turning up. In the end I am a firm believer in state rights and if the state of Washington wants to allow this then it is for the most part, fine with me.
But, like anyone with an open-mind, I don’t buy into everything I read, so I decided to do a little research. I believe that you can learn more about looking into individual cases than simply looking at numbers. But let’s start with the numbers:
“Seattle had 27 homicides last year, relatively low for a city its size – but 23 of them were in the first five months, including the fatal shooting of four people at Cafe Racer and another in a carjacking by Ian Stawicki on May 30.” -Source: http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Amazon-incentive-in-Seattle-gun-buyback-program-186051842.html
First and foremost, the people of Seattle should consider themselves lucky. I can not fault them for wanting to protect their citizens but a lot of people would love to live in a city with a fairly low murder rate, like Seattle. With that said, I was able to find stories on 26 of the 27 murder victims in 2012 and rather than assuming that guns are the problem, I want to look at each crime individually and see if we can get to the facts and maybe even see if we find common denominators.
1. Ashton Reyes was shot at a Subway during an apparent marijuana buy. She was allegedly murdered by her boyfriend. Are drug dealers likely to take part in a gun buyback? I don’t think so.
2. Tirone Jermaine Finkley’s shooter claims that he shot this man in self-defense during a drug sale. Again, if drugs were an issue in this crime we must ask ourselves…Are drug dealers likely to participate in a gun buyback? Again I have my doubts.
3. Darek Darewski is a victim of an unsolved crime. He had served a day in jail two weeks prior for a harassment incident. I can not fairly draw any conclusions on this murder.
4. Michael Travis Hood was killed late on a Saturday Night outside of a bar, by a previously convicted felon. Do you think that felons who are already not allowed to own guns, are going to turn them in at a buyback?
5. Gregory Wayne Anderson, Jr. was a Navy Officer who was killed outside of a Nightclub. You will soon start to see a trend here so watch for it.
6. Desmond Jackson was shot outside of a Nightclub.
7. Precious Reed, Jr. was shot in an apparent drug deal.
8/9. George Hendricks, Jr and Lucky Dozier shot and killed each other outside of a local restaurant. I think the question here is pretty simple. If these two men were both so violent as to fire on each other over some unknown disagreement, are these the type of men who would participate in a gun buyback program? Am I stretching it? Oh, I forgot to mention that they were both convicted felons and known gang members.
10. Alpha Rake Lajai was a homeless man who was shot in the park. I can’t draw any real conclusions from this.
11. Greggette Guy was not killed with a gun.
12. Zerabruk Habemariam was not killed with a gun.
13. Nicole Westbrook was hit by a stray bullet in a drive-by shooting. Gangs are notorious for drive-by shootings. Would a voluntary gun buyback normally attract many gang members? I doubt it. A gang member turning in his/her gun at such a buyback would probably be marked by fellow members.
14. Courtney Taylor was shot during a scuffle at a Jack in the Box. Courtney had a criminal history according to sources, and I hate to use that against him, but he was apparently not a law abiding citizen at all points during his life. I can not say what the crimes were because the source does not say, but it does make one wonder. We can not make an honest judgement on this other than… Anyone who carries a gun to Jack in the Box is probably not going to participate in a buy back program. I think that is a fair statement.
15. Justin Ferrari was killed by a stray bullet while in his car when a gunfight erupted between two parties. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Do you think those two parties would voluntarily sell back their guns?
16. Son Hai Le was shot during a home intrusion. The home just happened to also contain lots of marijuana.
17.-21. Four people are killed at a nightclub. One is killed in a car-jacking a half hour later by the same gunman, who drives off only to kill himself later. These are the types of crimes that have spurred national debate once again, but do you really think someone mentally ill enough to incite random violence is going to be showing up to sell their guns to Seattle police?
22. Sherry Soh was gunned down outside a party in the early morning hours. Please notice that she was not at a Nightclub but I think the similarities should be noted. Alcohol and late night partying…
23. Yandy Noll was an apparent victim of road rage.
24. Henry Frankie Lee, Sr. was shot and killed by police at his own home. Apparently he dialed 911 to report a prowler but refused to reliquish his weapon when police arrived. The man suffered from dementia.
25. Jamie J. Turner was shot to death in the driver’s seat of a car that was parked on the side of the road. But it should be noted that calls to police about gun shots came at 4AM. I am not saying that there are not legitimate reasons to sit in your car at 4AM but I also know that there are also many illegitimate reasons.
26. Faustino Cervantes was not killed with a gun.
Source for all 26 Murders: http://seattletimes.com/html/localpages/2018335620_victims-of-violence-seattle.html
OK now we have the opportunity to look at the killings on a case by case basis. We are obviously not looking at police reports but we are looking at the facts are available to us.
How many of these crimes do you really think could have been prevented by law-abiding citizens turning in their guns? There are some disturbing trends on this list of homicides.
The vast majority of gun homicides were related to former felons, gangs, drugs, and unexplained violence happening into the wee hours of the morning.
It is my belief that these gun buybacks are a way to calm public fears but literally solve nothing. When you dig a little deeper you will find that we are not talking about church going ladies being gunned down in broad daylight. We actually had zero homicides of children in Seattle for 2012.
I am not saying these things don’t happen, but they are not prevalent in the majority of cases in Seattle or nationally.
If you look closely at the cases, rather than just swallowing the numbers that some want you to ingest, it is apparent to me that a more prudent approach for reducing gun violence might be to simply put a curfew on the city of Seattle. Let’s not let anyone out of their homes after 10PM. If they disobey then it is their disobedience to the law that ended up getting them killed. Or maybe we should close all night clubs. After all, 7 of 26 murders happened on the premises of a Nightclub.
Do you think that’s silly? Maybe it is but it sure has a better chance of succeeding than buying guns from responsible gun owners. Known and would be felons are not the type to line up to sell their weapons to the police. Do I have statistics on that? Nope, but I believe it’s common sense.
I think too many people are busy trying to fix something that can not be easily fixed. If I participate in drug deals, associate with former felons, hang out in bars until the wee hours of the morning, or simply hang out in the wrong part of town the chances of me being a victim are vastly increased. None of these people deserved to die, but I think if the people of Seattle really want to fix this problem then gun buybacks are not enough. You have to look at how, where, and when these killings are taking place. Then look at real solutions instead of cosmetic solutions that seem to be about nothing more than politics.
I am not really endorsing the closing of all Nightlife in Seattle, but I would argue until I was blue in the face that it had a better chance of success than the happenings of the January 26th gun buyback.
Evil exists. Bad people do bad things. Murderers will always find ways to kill. Accept that the world is not perfect and stop trying to punish the people who live by the letter of the law.
That’s my opinion. I’d love to hear yours.