If gun control isn’t a solution, what is? Philadelphia’s Homicide Crisis

In the midst of the gun violence that’s killing so many people in Philadelphia and beyond, there isn’t much talk about gun control anymore.


We do the occasional goods for guns exchange, or law enforcement might conduct a raid and display the guns they’ve confiscated. But it’s been a long time since we’ve had any real, substantive talk about controlling the guns, or the bullets, or the sales. And I believe the reason is simple.


Eighty-five percent of the shooting victims in Philadelphia are Black. And when it comes to Black people and guns, American history says our country only cares when Black guns become a threat to white people. In the wake of the civil war, southern states like South Caroline passed Black codes. Among them were laws that forbid Blacks from owning guns.


A century later, when the Black Panthers organized to protect the Oakland community from the same kind of police brutality we experience today, they began carrying guns openly, as California law allowed them to do. That’s when California Governor Ronald Reagan passed a law banning the practice.


But now, at a time when poverty, lack of education, lack of opportunity and lack of hope has led to gun violence within the Black community, nobody’s talking about gun control. And I believe it’s because 85 percent of the shooting victims are Black.


We’ve seen what happens when white people get shot in Philadelphia. News stories cover the papers, the TV and the internet. City officials hold press conferences expressing their outrage. The police work overtime to solve the crime. And it all happens while the families of Black shooting victims are forced to watch them prove that our lives don’t matter.


So yes, while we must have a conversation about self-control. We also have to talk about gun control. Because if black lives truly mattered, the government would do something about guns.

Photo: Philadelphia By. Luca Sartoni

Creative Commons License 

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