When the Southern Border Really Hurts You
I’m really amazed to have reached my 51st birthday today. My life has dodged many bullets—and I mean bullets. I was born in Washington, DC and raised in and around DC during some of the years when DC was known as “the murder capital of the United States.” I lived in and through the culture that hosted the homicide-by-gun days of DC. Things have changed for the better, but those murder summer days are here again and those South of the Border are to blame.
I’m not talking about your traditional “South of the Border,” but the south to DC’s border, Virginia. I’ve come to learn that the young gun-toters in DC buy their glocks, 9’s and Berettas from Virginia. The same people who fight against background checks, gun ownership databases and/or tracking gun sales are the same people who make their money—efectively earn their living—selling guns on America’s black market. That living is made on the backs—and lives—of Black people.
Now I don’t want you to think that I’ve joined the Donald Trump Krazy Train on immigrants and immigration policy; to the contrary, I’m focused on a real hole in the fabric of the American Dream: guns. Mexico has it’s own gun problem, as the US does, but what’s not ironic about the two, is that both are caused by the same culprit…America. The Mexican cartels buy their guns from America’s gun manufacturers, indirectly, and from “straw buyers” directly.
Today, DC’s homicide rate rose to 103 for 2015, up 30% or so from this time a year ago. It took the District until December in 2014 to reach this murder count. At this time last year, the city had 72 murders. Gun-induced homicides are caused by bullets coming out of guns held by people who normally wouldn’t be able to get a gun, except by illegal means. The people providing—or selling—these guns are the perpetuators of illegality.
Gun laws did not prevent Dylann Roof in Charleston, James Holmes in Aurora, Jared Loughner in Tucson, Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez in Chattanooga, Elliot Rodger in Santa Barbara, and the list goes on, from getting a gun. Nor does it stop the youngsters walking around the inner city of the Distict or from buying a gun for under $100 (which I witnessed last night in northwest DC), but what I know is that, it is immensely more difficult to shoot and kill a person without a gun.
I blame the conservative-minded, Second Amendment zealots who rely on the dollars of disempowered people to earn their living. Guns are solely about power; not hunting, not recreation, just power (and control). Whether a poor boy in the projects or a white male fearing that America is slipping away, guns are a sure means of security (probably false) and power. Men know what I’m talking about. Guns change power dynamics…just ask the Oathkeepers.
Conservatives quickly divert gun violence by law enforcement on Black Americans to Black-on-Black violence whenever they’re confronted on increases of sensible gun laws. Our problem isn’t Mexico—or South of the Border. Our problem is the real South of the Border…in Virginia. Virginia and it’s resistance to strengthen gun laws and Virginians who hate the idea of gun laws are the chief reason our murder rate is up. Cut and dry.
According to a new study by the U.S. Congressional Research Service, mass shootings (an incident in which four or more people are killed with a gun) have increased in frequency. An analysis of FBI data found that between 1999 and 2013, there were 317 mass shootings in which 1,554 people were killed and 441 were wounded. All of those people were killed by people with guns. Some were deemed mentally ill, others were perfectly (and legally) sane—until they shot a bunch of people. For the record, anyone who wants to kill other human beings is mentally ill.
Washington’s count is still comparatively modest. Baltimore’s tally currently rests at 211 homicides as of August 19th, according to the Baltimore Sun. The two cities have nearly identical population sizes, with Baltimore at roughly 620,000 residents, and the District at 650,000, most of them Black, with Virginia to the south.
So if you want to solve the South of the Border problem, start solving it by attacking Virginia. Federally licensed gun dealers, of which there were 139,244 in 2013, are required to run background checks before they make a sale. Gun shows don’t require that, nor do straw purchases. Between 1994 and 2010, the FBI processed more than 118 million applications. The young boys who are arrested for killing people with guns, 9-times-out-of-10, don’t fall into that category. This is why the southern border hurts DC.