Up in arms
Gun violence past the point of conversation
Published: Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
Over the weekend, three students at Buffalo State College found themselves in an overplayed situation. Freshman Jabril Muhammad was shot in the forearm after a gang of five or six robbed him and his friends when they were walking on the West Side.
Gun violence has been a frequent headliner this summer and after a series of highly publicized incidents – from a Colorado theater to Buffalo’s own Martin Luther King, Jr. Park – talks regarding ways to prevent further incidents have been prevalent.
But those talks, as always, have been broad and sometimes vicious. They have sparked enough arguments on Second Amendment rights and pre-purchase mental health screenings to last a lifetime.
In the midst of all of the usual nonsense, the country’s biggest names have forgotten some of the most important voices: the youth.
Now is the time to ask questions and demand answers as the fall semester starts up. Students are returning to their campuses after months of living in their parents’ basements and partying in the neighborhoods they grew up in and around. They shouldn’t have to fear getting shot in their first weeks of school, whether they’re out after dark on the streets of the West Side or walking back home on campus. They shouldn’t have to fear those around their campus, and they definitely shouldn’t have to fear the people on their campus.
Whether it’s for protection or power, people own guns and use guns, and that isn’t going to change on its own. Why is it that kids feel the need to get guns, though, and what are they defending themselves from? Each other? Their neighborhoods?
What’s interesting is the neighborhoods around UB’s South Campus are some of the most dangerous in Buffalo. Amherst, on the other hand – where North Campus is located – was recently ranked number 48 on Money Magazine’s Top 100 Places to Live.
Why is this notable? Because most nights on South, it can be difficult to even find police. Meanwhile, Amherst police and University Police on North are out and ready for action.
Regarding the incident this weekend, Buff State police said they are doing and have done everything in their jurisdiction for the investigation. There’s no blame that can be put on them, but what goes beyond that? What else could have been done before?
The violence, of course, is not unique of the Queen City’s college campuses. Buffalo has reached over 30 homicides on the year so far and most of them have been shootings.
Mayor Byron Brown has at least made a start in Buffalo with his annual, no-questions-asked Gun Buyback Program, but what happens after? If no questions are asked, how difficult is it to just go out and buy another gun?
There are going to continue to be talks regarding arming citizens, what weapons should be banned and what precautions can be taken to stop people from getting shot. But there’s no longer time for talk. When there is blood on the streets of the country’s campuses, there isn’t any time left for twiddling thumbs and false promises. It’s time for action.