June 05, 2007
The slow twitch of my imaginary handlebar mustache....
"The communities that I represent in Philadelphia are very different than many other communities across this commonwealth. In other parts of the state, they hunt animals; in Philadelphia, guns are used to hunt people."Notwithstanding Representative Cruz's divisively stereotypical remarks, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, surrounded as it is by farming communities, Amish people with their buggies, and beautiful scenery, is normally thought of as a quaint sort of place not plagued with urban crime.
And no one in his right mind would want it to be otherwise.
So, it's understandable that yesterday's front page Inquirer story about "gun violence" in Lancaster would draw lots of attention. The Inquirer wants its readers to believe that guns now commit crimes in Lancaster, and in other smaller cities. The problem is not urban violence spreading to the country; it's obviously the guns that have always been there.
Well, maybe guns in the hands of the "wrong people":
If you think this is another story about Philadelphia violence, think again. These cases, which happened in Lancaster and York this year, are among a troubling number of gun crimes touching Pennsylvania's smaller cities.A "quick-twitch" culture in which people shoot each other over nothing? Doesn't sound like the Amish to me. Nor does it sound like rural property owners.
Sounds more like a hardened criminal culture. Anyway, there have been two killings this year:
"We are not like the inner cities. They see multiple gunshot wounds every day. But in terms of frequency, the frequency is going up. Where we used to see one or two [gunshot victims] a month, now we see one or two a week," said William Adams, 44, medical director of the emergency department at Lancaster General Hospital. "Over the past 10 years we have seen about a fourfold increase."This mayor has teamed up with a bunch of other mayors to "fight" the evil NRA, which is pictured (coincidentally?) in today's Inquirer cartoon as an evil cowboy standing nonchalantly over a Keith Haring style display of dead bodies chalk-marked on the barroom floor.
I'd be inclined to resent the stereotype that's being invoked by that cartoon, but when you've been resenting as many stereotypes as I have for as many decades as I have, resentment is so tired as to be almost beside the point.
For the record, I might as well point out that I am not a cowboy, I don't own or wear a cowboy hat (no chaps or spurs either), and I don't hunt. Nor do I wave guns nonchalantly over people lying dead in the street.
Oh, almost forgot! I also don't have a handlebar mustache! But in the interest of full disclosure, my favorite artist, Salvador Dali, did.
I also try not to be "quick-twitch" in my approach. Usually, I think these things over, and tend not to write about them until the resentments subside and I can be more logical. Hence, the long winded posts.
And it is my considered opinion that the Inquirer and Tony Auth are being a little "quick-twitch" in their approach.
Hmm... maybe "quick-draw" is a better term.
The article recites the various gun control measures which the small town mayors want (the latest meme is a push for local gun control), and arguments in opposition to the measures are labeled "NRA talking points":
"From Scranton to Carlisle, York to Philadelphia, and Lancaster to Pittsburgh, our mayors know firsthand the devastation that illegal guns and straw purchasers are having in our neighborhoods," [Governor Ed] Rendell said last month. "This is not just a Philadelphia or Pittsburgh problem."While I realize that anything I might say to these people will be casually dismissed as an "NRA talking point" (another ad hominem stereotype I've seen before -- as tired as it is illogical), an article in today's paper speaks volumes about the problems which are emerging in Pennsylvania's small towns (and maybe in other small towns).
Big city criminals are on the loose. And (surprise!) they do not stay in big cities.
As it turns out, the police made an arrest in the recent spate of Lancaster shootings. Despite yesterday's front page story, the story appeared on page B-5. Little wonder, because you don't have to be a gun-toting NRA maniac with a handlebar mustache to read between the lines and see that what's being called small town gun violence isn't necessarily as small townish as it appears. The arrested man was a career criminal from Philadelphia:
Mark Q. "Mustafa" Galloway, 39, of South Philadelphia, shot his girlfriend, her mother, daughter, 2-year-old grandson, and a family friend shortly after 6 a.m. outside a Lancaster rowhouse, authorities said.What about the gun that did it (or that made him do it)? It turns out that not only was this a convicted felon in illegal possession of a firearm, who had served time for pervious weapons offenses, but the firearm itself was illegal:
The suspected weapon, a 9mm semiautomatic handgun with an altered or obliterated serial number, was recovered from a trash can.Yeah, but it's all the fault of the gun. It made this ex-con possess it, and file the serial numbers off, and shoot people.
I can't prove my suspicions, but I do think that the push to blame guns is related to the chronic inability of the legal system to put such guys away. (A situation I think is aided, abetted, and aggravated by a well organized movement against putting anyone away).
Anyway, the story has been widely reported nationally, and because it directly touched on the issues raised in yesterday's anti-gun piece, I thought it deserved more prominent treatment than it got in the Inquirer.
But at least it was in there as an AP story. In the Local News section. Hey, no one is perfect, least of all me.
Tell you what. I'll even try harder to slow down the twitching of my imaginary handlebar mustache when I shoot off my "NRA talking points."
UPDATE: My thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the link, and a warm welcome to all.
It's probably worth noting for new readers that this is not my first post about anti-gun bias at the Philadelphia Inquirer.
posted by Eric on 06.05.07 at 08:58 AM
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