Monday, August 15, 2011

Street Crime in Lowell

This AM on City Life Henry called in to complain about crime on the streets of Lowell and especially crime as it impacts older folks, who do not feel safe on the streets of Lowell.

There was the usual discussion of more police and then I said, we should change our gun laws here in Massachusetts, resulting in armed citizens.  The point behind that suggestion is that the Police have no (as in NO) duty to protect Citizens and the Property of Citizens.  But, citizens armed have a right to defend themselves and their families and their property.  For the US Supreme Court Ruling (Castle Rock v. Gonzales), you can read this article from The New York Times.  Having noted the SCOTUS ruling, I do think that appropriate legislation might be in order to correct this situation, but none has issued forth.

Back to arming the citizenry, over the weekend we had this report about Virginia and their year old "Concealed Carry" law in bars and restaurants.  Crimes were actually down 5%, but the difference from the year before is not significant enough to indicate a major change.  A hat tip to the InstaPundit for this item on Virginia.

Regards  —  Cliff

  Except maybe in New York State, which has the current English Common law view that if threatened one has the duty to retreat if possible.

6 comments:

nealcroz said...

An unarmed citizenry are called "subjects." They are also, on the street, called "victims."

"If you carry a gun, people will call you paranoid. That's ridiculous. If you have a gun, what in the hell do you have to be paranoid for?"

'The average response time of a 911 call is over 23 minutes the response time of a .44 magnum is 1400 feet per second.'

Corey said...

I'm not anti-gun, but surely there are better ways to protect the citizens / oneself in an area with 7500 people per square mile than asking Grandma to carry a 9mm. This isn't West Texas ca. 1845. Between the stray bullets and the high chance that in close quarters that gun is going to end up in a thug's hands...

nealcroz said...

Actually, VT has the most liberal gun laws in the land and according to FBI statistics, it also has the lowest violent crime rate in the nation...and that includes armed robbery and burglary. In fact, in states having concealed carry laws, the person to person crime rates are significantly lower than those with strict gun laws that preclude citizens from being armed.

Apparently, it isn't worth the risk for a would be crook to take a chance his or her victim is armed...so they concentrate on those areas that the odds are their prey is unarmed....places like MA.

When you take guns away from the citizenry, the only ones left who are armed are the criminal element.

Most states where you can get permit or license to carry a concealed weapon require that you be trained on the safe use of that weapon...and the laws of deadly force.

One may argue that the training doesn't reduce accidental deaths by gun....and I will counter that driver's training and testing does less to stem the slaughter on the nation's roadways...but there is no public outcry to take away personal vehicles.

I carry a concealed weapon, but I do so with the full, informed knowledge that if I draw it, I will do so with the intent of using it, and that my intended target had better be a legal target....or I am going to jail. That introduces a very sobering level of responsibility awareness.

Corey said...

Neal - I don't disagree with private firearm ownership, or armed shop owners, or armed people delivering high-value goods, etc. I'm a little leery on encouraging your average person on the street here in Lowell - which is a wildly different place than Vermont (thank you Federalism!) - from carrying on their way to DeMoulas.

I don't know what state you're in, but here in extremely strict gun law MA, the requirements to get an LTC could be passed by a chimpanzee. The driving test is harder. It takes six years of daily practice to be an average driver. How long does it take to become the average gun owner? How much practice does somebody get when and if they should draw a gun on somebody? I've been a victim of violent crime that landed me in the hospital here in Lowell, and if I had a gun, I'm not sure I would've liked any better how that could've gone down. And yes, for the record, I think there are far too many unqualified people driving as well.

Getting a concealed-carry permit (or lack of a restriction on your Class A as the case may be, in towns that grant one) can be easier, or harder, or impossible, depending on the community. Lowell essentially falls under the impossible category at the moment. I also, for the record, think this is overkill. At the same time, random killings in Lowell - so times where someone's life was actually threatened and they wouldn't have gone to jail for shooting the assailant - are exceedingly rare. It must be less than one a year in a city of 100,000. Last one I can think of was a mugging gone bad over $5 and beer a few years back.

nealcroz said...

Good points all Corey. Let me just add my sympathies that you were so violently assaulted that you required hospitalization.

I live in New Hamster...only a few miles from you in Lowell. I spent two days and about $400 at Epping in a Sig Sauer classroom getting my "begginer training" although I have had 33 years of military experience..much of it with a weapon involved somewhere. Although the CCW permit is issued by the town, one must present a training certificate to move that mountain.

One of the points made by the instructor at Sig Sauer (they train DEA, FBI, SS, special operations folks, etc. right there in the same building...I had 7 Coasties in my class) was that "you need to pick your battles." GREAT advice. I would submit that pulling a gun over $5 and a beer is just not worth it. I know many who probably would...but that is stupid....and many pay for their stupidity. The rule I have and will follow, I will not employ my weapon unless there is an inescapable threat to life or limb. Moreover, if you are walking down the street....armed but concealed....and some bloke pokes a pistol against your head.....he owns the moment.

Sig offers an urban training course wherein you get put in various hometown environments...and are required to make a judgement. It is surprising how often you have to stop for a moment and think...because you are careful...and safe.....

Everyone I know who carries...and a number of them are retired AND active cops.....do so for purely DEFENSIVE purposes. Key word.

Do good people make BAD mistakes...sure. Do idiots get a permit to carry when they shouldn't be allowed to hold a water pistol? Sure. Nothing is perfect...or fail safe.

But...in most cases....an aggressor makes a judgement as to his superiority over you...and if he thinks there is a probability of your being armed.....his decision process becomes a bit more elongated.

I related to Cliff a story. One Christmas morning, I walked into our church for services. A friend and his wife inquired if Santa was good to me. I said that he sure was....I got a small 9 mm Glock. Three tiny, frail little septuagenarians seated together in the pew in front of me smiled broadly and opening their purses displayed Glocks. My friend's wife opened her's to reveal a rather serious looking .40 Springfield XDM.

Corey said...

Ah. See, here in MA, you only need a few hours of class time, not even necessarily ever touching a real gun, to pass the baseline certification for a Class A. I think something like the SIG class as a bare minimum to carry a firearm on a public way would make me feel better. You need how many hours of driving today to get a license? As I said, you can't (usually) get an unrestricted Class A in Lowell, so it's all moot...but I've heard towns like Dracut are extremely permissive, whereas others are far, far stricter (but reasonably passable for a reasonably qualified person).

Like your instructor told you, someone once told me that if you feel you need to carry to be safe somewhere, consider if you should be going at all. That said, it's obviously much easier for some to say that than others. Just by the simple dice roll of being born male, places where I can go by myself and feel safe are much higher, for example. Also, every state, every community, is different, and the laws should and do reflect that.

I know there is some evidence to the contrary, but I'm not so convinced that the liberal gun laws that New Hampshire or Vermont have would be correct for New York city, or Chicago, or even Lowell. It seems a little chicken-and-the-egg. Do harsh gun laws cause crime, or does crime cause tough (and sometimes reactionary) gun laws? Are there two major cities in a similar region of the US with similar income and education levels with a vastly different violent crime rate due to differences in gun ownership rates? For example, while Lowell and Manchester have similar populations and aren't far apart and are in very different states, Lowell is twice as densely populated, a few percentage points younger, and about 10% poorer in a far more expensive state. Lowell has a considerably higher non-violent crime rate as well (such as auto theft). I don't think we can tell much from that.