And poverty is violence!

Anyone remember the slogan "FOOD NOT BOMBS"?

Pennsylvania gun control activists have come up with one of their own, and a T-shirt to go with it:


Outside a busy Sneaker Villa store downtown, Qayyum, wearing a T-shirt that read "Jobs Not Guns," addressed a crowd of men milling around the neighborhood.

"This walk is to call attention to the number of men who are jobless in Philadelphia and around Pennsylvania, which is one of the engines driving gun violence," he said.

Qayyum, cochairman of Men United for a Better Philadelphia, left Philadelphia on Wednesday on a march called Walk for Jobs not Guns.

About 60 percent of young, African American men - the group most likely to be victims or perpetrators of gun violence - are unemployed, Qayyum said.

The walk is set to coincide with a rally Tuesday at the State Capitol in Harrisburg. It is being organized by the Coalition to End Handgun Violence, a consortium of community, civic, labor, law enforcement and industry groups opposed to gun violence.

The group wants to pressure the state legislature to take steps to combat gun violence. The legislature is scheduled to spend the day in a special session focused on issues related to gun violence.

"We are totally convinced that if we can get these young men jobs, we can seriously reduce gun violence, particularly homicides in Philadelphia," Qayyum said. "We're calling on the governor and the state House and state Senate to initiate an employment program.

Will Wilson Sr., a store detective at yesterday's rally, said Reading has had a problem with guns for at least two years.

"It's terrible with guns around here," Wilson said, noting that two police officers have been shot and killed in the last two years. "The youth here feel peer pressure and the drugs create the gun problems here."

I guess the emotional appeal of "FOOD NOT GUNS" would have been slightly tarnished by the obviously imitative nature. But the logic is the same, which is none at all. There's a host of social problems which have no relationship at all to the Second Amendment, but the goal is nonetheless to conflate the constitutional, individual right to bear arms with something that doesn't involve rights (the availability of jobs). To see the latter as a "right" involves redefinining rights as government obligations.

It's apples-and-oranges thinking (yes, I'm being charitable there) which makes sense only to people who want it to make sense.

If this were just a small group of "community activists" it wouldn't be worth more than a passing observation about the misuse of logic. But the group has major support from Mayor Street, who is to be joined by New York's Mayor Bloomberg and other notables:

Yesterday, Mayor Street said the event will send a message to state legislators that the status quo is not acceptable.

Street said 11 other mayors, including Mayors Michael Bloomberg of New York and Anthony Williams of Washington, would join him at the rally.

Mayors from across the state, including Reading, Lancaster, Scranton, Bethlehem and Allentown, will also be at the rally.

Bloomberg. I just read about him. He's a Republican mayor who's not only against the Second Amendment, but whose city commissions combat free speech in video games! Why not add a slogan?


(Well, as long as we're playing logical suspense, why not? We could even throw in the arts! "ART NOT GUNS!" Something for everyone. "JOBS NOT PORNOGRAPHY!" Be creative! Is "BUNS NOT GUNS" too risque?)

Back to the Inquirer:

"We're going to send a sense of urgency that hasn't happened," Street said at a news conference in his City Hall reception room. "I don't think we've had such an organized effort like this."

Events are planned throughout the day in Harrisburg on Tuesday. At noon, a prayer vigil is scheduled to be held on the Capitol steps. At 2 p.m., in the Capitol Rotunda, a large forum will be held with speakers including elected officials, victims of violence, Town Watch leaders and block captains.

Elected officials? Town Watch? But I thought gun control was a loser of an issue -- at least for the Democrats. Hasn't anyone told these people?

There's also something about a "committee of the whole," which I don't understand:

The state House of Representatives will convene all day as a committee of the whole to discuss a multitude of legislative proposals, including limits on the sale of handguns to one per month; a ban on military-style assault weapons statewide; additional funding for police and police equipment; and a requirement that gun owners report a lost or stolen firearm within 24 hours.

The special legislative session will allow all 203 members of the House to cast votes that won't count as part of their voting record. The votes will gauge support of possible legislation.

The Inquirer seems to be promoting the event, and links to the web site.

As I don't imagine the Inquirer plans to present the other side of the argument (much less link to the NRA), I thought I'd present the NRA's side (from an NRA-ILA email):

September 26th - Committee of the Whole Meeting: On Tuesday, Sept. 26, the House of Representatives will resolve itself for one day into a "Committee of the Whole" to focus on crime and violence in Pennsylvania. The Committee of the Whole is a rarely used legislative mechanism designed to allow for a more informal, free-flowing public debate of a particularly critical issue facing the Commonwealth. Topics expected to be addressed include "One-Gun-a-Month" legislation, elimination of statewide preemption, semi-automatic firearm bans as well as other anti-gun legislation that would limit your rights as law-abiding gun owners. The time is NOW! NRA members across Pennsylvania must call or write their State Representatives and send the message that stiff punishment of criminals who commit crimes with guns is the key to stopping gun violence. Please contact your State Representative at (717) 787-2016 and State Senator at (717) 787-5920.
I'd love to hear my rep explain the "JOBS NOT GUNS" logic.

My favorite of these apples-and-oranges slogans has long been "POVERTY IS VIOLENCE."



MORE: This might not be the moment everyone's been waiting for, but I found an online picture of the "JOBS NOT GUNS" T-shirts.


I share because I care!

ADDITIONAL NOTE: Considering that lead activist Bilal Qayyum is elsewhere described as an official with Philadelphia's Department of Commerce (a job he apparently still holds), as well as the fact that Mayor Street is involved to the hilt with the anti-gun campaign, might this whole junket be financed with taxpayer dollars? Why do the Inquirer and other papers present Qayyum solely as a grass roots activist, and fail to disclose his official status?

What about the taxpayers on the other side of this issue? Why isn't there any government official charged with protecting their constitutional rights?

posted by Eric on 09.23.06 at 07:18 AM


(Steve) Jobs, not (Peter) Gunn!

Okay, I got nothing.

B. Durbin   ·  September 24, 2006 1:47 PM

Well I got something!

You just reminded me that "GUNS" spelled backwards is "SNUG"!


Eric Scheie   ·  September 24, 2006 2:11 PM

Here's one for you: DOGS not GODS.

Allan Beatty   ·  September 24, 2006 9:42 PM

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