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A DISCUSSION ABOUT GUN VIOLENCE, PART III: JETJOCKI

Publishers note:  This is an e-mail sent to me by Jetjocki, a contributor, who has been a part of this discussion from the beginning.  Because of his seriousness, and concern for this topic, I want to share his e-mail as an article.  This is the first of what I hope will be a continuing part of this very important dialogue.

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FROM JETJOCKI:

In beginning the discussion on how data clearly gives us the answers.  I’ll start with the most common type of shooting incident: Criminal Homicide.  To get to the heart of the discussion I will use publicly accessible data compiled over the last 50 years by the Department of Justice, State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (BATF), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

I’ll start with a “fictional” headline from this morning’s newspaper:  Two killed and one wounded in a shooting at the corner of …

Without reading the headline any further or reading the following story I already “know” a lot about the tragic incident that happened last night. Let’s begin with the perpetrator and what existing data tells us:

Age & Gender 

  • There is an 82% probability that the perpetrator is a male between the ages of 16 and 24.

Criminal History 

  • There is an 85% probability that the perpetrator has a prior criminal record.
  • There is an 80% probability that the perpetrator has been convicted of at least one felony and is prohibited from possession of any firearm.
  • There is a 76% probability that the perpetrator has been arrested 4 or more times for felony offences.
  • There is an 81% probability that the perpetrator has a prior arrest for one or more violent offences.
  • There is a 52% probability that the perpetrator has a prior arrest for illegal possession of a firearm or for illegal possession of a firearm during [the] commission of a crime.
  • There is a 60% probability that the perpetrator is already on court ordered supervision.  The court ordered supervision includes:  out on bail awaiting trial for a prior arrest, diversionary probation based on a plea bargain, or early release parole.

Now let’s take a look at the firearm used to commit the crime:

Type of Weapon 

  • There is a 93% probability that the weapon was a handgun.
  • There is ONLY a 1% to 5% probability that the weapon used is an “assault weapon” of any type as defined by the 1994 ban.
  • There is 0.25% to 1.25% probability that the weapon used is an “assault weapon” rifle with a high capacity magazine prohibited by the 1994 ban.
  • There is less than a 1% probability that the firearm used was an “assault weapon” rifle.
  • There is less than a 0.25% probability that the firearm used was an “assault weapon” rifle equipped with a high capacity magazine.

Source of the Weapon 

  • There is a 40% probability that the weapon used was unlawfully provided to the perpetrator by a family member or close associate that had full knowledge that the perpetrator is prohibited from possession of a firearm.  These weapons are typically purchased with intent or already owned legally by the family member or close associate prior to the transfer to the perpetrator.
  • There is a 40% probability that the weapon used was obtained from the illegal “street” market.  This illegal market is divided into two major segments; 75% consisting of legally owned weapons that have been stolen from lawful owners; and approximately 25% by intentional trafficking in firearms to the criminal element.
  • There is an 11% probability that the firearm used had at one time been legally acquired by the perpetrator and unlawfully retained after prohibition against possession became effective.
  • There is a less than 7% probability that the weapon has been acquired by the perpetrator from the avoidance of a background check via private sale where the private seller currently has no lawful means to run a “background check.”  This includes sales by private sellers at “gun shows.”

Now let’s take a look at the victims of the crime:

Age & Gender 

  • There is an 81% probability that the victim is a male between the ages of 16 and 24.

Criminal History 

  • There is a 75% probability that the victim has a criminal record as extensive as the perpetrator.

Ok, I know that was a lot of numbers related to probabilities and it will take time and thought for it to all soak in, but in overview it is obvious that the fictional incident was indeed the result of a long chain of events beginning long before the “shooting.”  Let’s now pick two of the links that have the most potential for breaking the chain.  The two that pop out the most in my opinion are the 52% probability that the perpetrator already had a prior arrest for illegal firearm possession, and that there is a 40% probability that a family member or close associate is the one that provided the weapon to the perpetrator.  I believe that effectively addressing these two links has the potential of reducing criminal homicides by 30% to 50% and maybe even more.

My next installment will examine these two links in far greater detail.

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I’m looking forward to more contributions from Jetjocki, and from others who believe this is a discussion worth having.  Your opinions matter.  Share your comments to this article, and any [other] thoughts you may have on this topic, in the comment section below, or e-mail me at:  ilittsey@gmail.com.

A DISCUSSION ABOUT GUN VIOLENCE, PART II

As I was taking a break between the two party conventions, I took a moment to watch the week-end political shows on the various networks.  While doing so, one of the programs I watched was the “Melissa Harris-Perry” program on MSNBC.  During a continuing discussion about healthcare, and the Affordable Care Act,  [she] had a segment about a specific healthcare problem, one called “bullets.”  Though not the normal track that gun violence discussions take, it adds another, a different, perspective on how we view this problem, and ultimately how we may find a way to deal with it.  You can find the segment at this URL:  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46979745/#48878328

We’ve discussed the collateral consequences of gun violence as it affects the victims and their survivors, but this is the first time, I’ve noticed, where the conversation was directed to the impact that it has on our overall healthcare cost.  Ms. Harris-Perry asked, during the segment, “what if we make it a public health issue?”   Emergency room visits, surgeries, rehabilitation, and the sociological/psychological cost to our neighborhoods and cities have, certainly, got to be factored into any consideration of solutions to this problem.

Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, in a segment taken from “Meet The Press” spoke about the fact that, though overall crime in his city is down, gun violence, especially gang-related shootings, is up.  In fact, MHP pointed out that, in one 30 minute period, there were 13 shootings, and, during the week between August 23 and August 30th, there were 82 victims of gun violence.  Now, Mayor Emanuel has asked for, and will get, support from the Department of Justice, including 50 agents from the FBI, to help stem the tide, but the total consequences remain, yet, to be addressed.

Allentown PA Mayor, Ed Pawlowski, a panelist on the show, was asked what he thought of Mayor Emanuels’ statement, and he added, “there are so many weapons on the street, it’s almost impossible to be able to put enough cops [to] really address this issue.”

Mayor Pawlowski went on to say, “It’s a whole network of social problems that come together, whether it’s poverty, whether it’s the access to illegal weapons, whether it’s kid’s – the devaluation of life that seems to have occurred within this whole generation – within our society.  All these things combine, it creates a combustible mixture that ends up with a lot of violence within our neighborhoods, whether it’s Chicago, or whether it’s Allentown, or whether it’s Philadelphia, or whether it’s New Orleans.  [And], I mean it’s even rural areas…”

“We have to have an honest discussion about guns in this country, and you know what?  No one wants to have that discussion,” he says.

Well, this is where I believe the mayor is wrong.  In fact Mayor Pawlowski, at that moment, you and the panel were doing  just that.  Having it.  We are having “that” discussion here, as well.

In many areas there are actions behind the words.  Right here in Detroit, just recently, there was a gun amnesty program where “street weapons” were turned in.  Across the nation “Funds for Guns” programs are being implemented successfully.  Several of my associates, staunch 2nd amendment advocates, have participated in these programs and voiced their support for the reasons [that] they exist.  To them, this is not about disarmament, this is about common sense.

I, personally, have turned in, to the local police, an unnecessary weapon.  It’s not that the sale of that weapon didn’t cross my mind, it’s about the true cost of having one more weapon on the street.  The cost, indeed, the value of my peace of mind, knowing that there is one less, out there.

I want to know, what do you think?  Use the comment section below, or e-mail me at:  ilittsey@gmail.com.