By State Representative, Leon D. Young
“Handguns do not enhance our safety, they exacerbate our flaws, tempt us to escalate arguments and bait us into embracing confrontation rather than avoiding it.”
These poignant and insightful words were written by Jason Whitlock, a Black sportswriter for Foxsports. com and radio personality for two sports stations in the Kansas City area. To say that these comments have created a firestorm would indeed be a serious understatement; and, truth be told, this statement provides considerable food for thought.
The senseless murder-suicide of Javon Belcher and his girlfriend Kasandra Perkinson is a tragedy beyond words, but underscores a deeper, more intrinsic disconnect in this country.
Moreover, there appears to be no end to America ’s obsession with handguns and its frantic preoccupation with ensuring their availability.
These startling statistics do in fact speak for themselves and should give all of us reason to pause:
- 3,000 kids are killed by firearms each year
- For every justifiable handgun homicide there are 50 + handgun murders.
- There are 32 gun-related murders everyday in this country.
- With a gun in the home, it’s 43 times more likely to kill a family member, friend or acquaintance than an intruder.
Milwaukee is no stranger to rampant gun violence. Just last August, a white supremacist (Wade Michael Page) walked into a Sikh temple in Oak Creek on a quiet Sunday morning and fatally shot six worshippers and then turned the gun on himself. And more recently, Milwaukee found itself on the front page of the national news once again when an estranged husband with a restraining order went to a Brookfield spa and opened up fire, leaving four dead – including the shooter – and four others wounded.
The pervasiveness of handguns in America is beyond question and borders on disgrace. How many more innocent lives will have to be lost as a result of gun-related violence? One thing remains certain: The proliferation of handguns in our midst does not make us safer, nor does it enhance our collective liberty. Thank you Jason Whitlock for rekindling this handgun debate.