Opinion

Opinion

Editorial: Examining gun violence

It’s critical that Lawrence leaders take a hard look at the recent mayhem in our town.

October 3, 2017

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Lawrence suddenly feels less safe, made uneasy by a string of deadly shootings that has left city leaders at a loss.

“I don’t know the solutions,” Mayor Leslie Soden said Sunday, just hours after five people were shot and three of them died in what appears to have been a shootout in downtown Lawrence. “I have to hear the details from the people who know them.”

Sunday’s incident brought to nine the number of people who have been killed in intentional or accidental shootings since June in Douglas County. Just since Sept. 1, six people have died in four incidents:

l A Lenexa man was shot and killed at the Motel 6 in Lawrence on Sept. 2. Three men have been arrested and two charged with murder.

l On Sept. 19, a man was shot and killed at a residence on West 27th Terrace. A suspect has been charged with murder.

l On Sept. 22, a 1-year-old child died in what is being investigated as an accidental shooting at a home on North Michigan Street. Police have released no further details.

l Finally, five people were shot at about 1:40 a.m. Sunday near the intersection of 11th and Massachusetts streets in an incident that police believe started as a physical altercation that escalated. No arrests have been made in the incident.

As Soden mentioned, there are no easy answers to the sudden outbreak of gun violence. The incidents aren’t connected. In Sunday’s shooting as well as the Motel 6 shooting, no one involved was from Lawrence. Still, the shootings are alarming if for no other reason than the sheer number that have occurred in such a short period.

Soden offered a number of thoughts to explore. Would more security cameras in downtown Lawrence help? Are more police officers needed on downtown streets? Should Massachusetts Street be closed to vehicular traffic on Friday and Saturday nights?

One person who will be expected to help answer those questions and others is Gregory Burns Jr., whose first day on the job as Lawrence’s new police chief was Monday.

Burns comes to Lawrence after having served as assistant police chief in Louisville, Ky. His experience in a larger metro market with more violent crime presumably is valuable in addressing the sudden rash of shootings. But expectations also should be tempered by Burns’ time in the position. Not only is he new to Lawrence, but this is Burns’ first police chief role.

Still, Burns, Soden and other city leaders and officials should make it a priority to better understand the underlying factors that have led to such an outbreak of gun violence. At this point, addressing those issues is a matter of life and death.

Comments

Brock Masters 1 month, 3 weeks ago

It is not rocket science.

The cause of many of these shootings is an immoral, violent culture that does not respect laws or life and often is fueled by illegal drugs; sales and use.

Answers are not so simple, but a greater police presence on the streets, not in cars, but on the streets, looking at drug use as a health epidemic and treating as such,

Violence is the symptom. We need to treat the cause.

Good luck to new police chief.

P Allen Macfarlane 1 month, 3 weeks ago

As usual, you respond in a black or white fashion. Shades of gray do not seem to be possible from you

Brock Masters 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Okay, so I’m a black and white kinda guy. At least I try to be constructive and offer up something more than just being critical of someone’s post with nothing substantive to share.

Where is the gray I missed in my post? Seems to me saying answers are not simple opens the door for gray.

But hey, what do I know I’m a black and white kinda guy.

P Allen Macfarlane 1 month, 2 weeks ago

You could fit right in the movie, "Pleasantville"!

Bob Smith 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Firearms are inanimate objects. They posses no will and cannot act of their own accord. The problem is that some individuals choose to commit violent crimes using firearms. Tens of millions of responsible firearms owners create no problems in society.

P Allen Macfarlane 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Guns don't kill people,......blah, blah, blah.

People don't kill, unless they somehow go off the rails When they go off the rails, it's a massacre! Something the NRA doesn't understand.

Bob Smith 1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Bob Smith 1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Carol Bowen 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Questions:

  • Specifically, what were the objections to the Brady bill?
  • Why is there a need to create new legislation?
  • Is the public is being manipulated for political purposes?

Carol Bowen 1 month, 3 weeks ago

** Is the public being manipulated for political purposes?

Brock Masters 1 month, 3 weeks ago

The public is definitively being manipulated for political and power purposes. The NRA stokes fear to bolster membership and the anti-guns do the same. Republicans take one side and Dems the other. They wouldn’t vote for a solution because it would give the other side an advantage.

We the people have to stop falling for their games.

Look at GOP. Repeal Obamacare was their battle cry but now when they can actually repeal it they don’t. Liars, we’ll at least most.

Look at Bernie Sanders - champion of the little guy, but he isn’t hurting financially and opposes Trump tax plan, even the parts that do help the little guy because he can’t give Trump a win.

Bob Smith 1 month, 3 weeks ago

The types of weapons affected by the Brady "assault weapons" ban are used in a tiny percentage of violent crimes each year. The only people affected by the Brady ban were the people who obey the law and don't commit violent crime. Passing the bill did make some politicians feel warm and fuzzy.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Laws are only obeyed by law abiding citizens, criminals ignore laws. More laws will not help with this problem. I arrested a man in Topeka, when I was working, he told me his job was being a criminal, my job was to catch him. That pretty much says it all. Good vs evil. It is a battle that started with Cain and Abel. The instruments to kill with have just been upgraded. Many times a good guy that is armed can save people's lives, or stop a violent confrontation. This is ignored by the media, though it happens everyday. I blame the evil person, not the tool they choose to use, you should too.

Duane Buscher 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Must be just a random coincidence that gun laws are loosened and gun violence increases, right ammosexuals? I got my batter and fryer ready for that all you can eat red herring buffet you'll be tossing our way. Tell me again about mass car killings and mental health and how criminals don't follow laws (duh!) and how guns don't kill people and your freedumbs to open carry...

If this is your only ignorant response to gun violence, then the 2nd amendment ought to be repealed, and thanks for the fodder.

Bob Summers 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Since Cain killed his brother Abel methods for self defense has been on the minds of non Liberals.

Must be just a random coincidence that gun laws are loosened and gun violence increases, No coincidence. More emotionally unstable Liberals are getting access to weapons.

Bob Smith 1 month, 3 weeks ago

You were so taken with this post you had to put it on two threads? Aren't you special?

Carol Bowen 1 month, 3 weeks ago

  • Why is open discussion about guns supressed?
  • Why would a gun owner need a high powered weapon or silencers?
  • Has there been an increased number of gun-related events since the sunset of the Brady bill?
  • What is wrong with universal background checks?
  • What unreasonable restrictions did gun owners experience before this flury of legislation?

Bob Smith 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Silencers do not make a firearm silent. That only happens in movies and on TV. The devices are properly called suppressors. They reduce the decibel level of a firearm to the point where the shooter's hearing isn't damaged. How do you define "high powered"? At one point, it meant a cartridge that uses smokeless powder. Some define it as a firearm that uses a centerfire cartridge. Some define it as anything that looks scary. What is your definition? If you don't know what those terms mean, perhaps you should do some research before recommending laws you don't understand. Violent crime is declining. The reporting of it has become more if-it-bleeds-it-leads on the last few years.

Brock Masters 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Carol, you have asked great questions. I will share my opinion.

The reason the open discussion is suppressed is because it has become like so many other issues political. It is a tug of war between the left and right with the focus on winning and not reducing gun deaths. Very similar to abortions.

And as with the issue of abortion, the perception is the other side doesn’t want reasonable changes but wants a complete ban.

All firearms are hi powered. Even a small .22 caliber, albeit not as high powered as other calibers. Brady and Regan were shot with a .22 caliber. Higher power calibers are necessary for self defense and hunting. You cannot ethically hunt with a .22 or even some larger calibers for game like elk. The .223 which is used in AR 15, a civilian weapon forms its introduction is legal for deer and smaller game. Still larger is better to ensure quick humane kills .

I will skip the increased gun events since it depends on the source and how stats are used. I will say that many stats include suicides which while tragic are different than murders. Also the definition of mass murders has changed. We used to think of mass murders like what happened in LV, but now it includes I think where there is 3 or more shootings so gang shootings are included in some stats.

I like most gun owners support background checks and I want to make sure the mentally ill are included in the database. The only exception to background checks is private non-dealer transactions. Even in many of those situations people require the transfer to take place at an FFl so a background check can be done or sell only to a licensed concealed carry owner.

The issue, besides the political one of giving ground is it impedes selling to a friend or giving to a son or daughter.

We live with the current regulations but consider if you’d accept similar regulations for other rights. A “poll tax” is illegal because it restricts poor people from voting. Fair enough but the cost of background check is $25. People screamed because that amount hurts the poor in obtaining a birth certificate needed to get ID.

To get a concealed carry permit you have to pay several hundreds of dollars and take 8 hours of training. Again affecting the poor. Would people accept a fee paid to the government to be able to have an abortion or use the internet? Of course not.

One solution is to offer private owners the ability to use an FFL for the background check and transfer at no cost to them. Govt (tax payers) reimburse the FFL.

Brock Masters 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Continued

Another issue is the focus on the gun and thinking new gun laws will stop anything. CT has an assault weapon ban but that didn’t prevent Sandy Hook.

Education would help in my opinion. Do PSAs about gun safety. Offer free training.

People make it about saving just one life but that is phony. There are many ways that don’t impact a right that could be implemented to save thousands of lives but no one is interested because it isn’t really about saving lives. You could require alcohol breath interlocks on cars to make drinking and driving more difficult.

Part of the problem as evidenced by posters here is the name calling and attacks. Who wants to have a discussion with them.

Finally, I will be more open to a discussion when the Clintons and celebs are willing to give up their armed protection. Why are their life’s more valuable than mine?

Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 month, 3 weeks ago

The Second Amendment says "well-regulated ,militia"

WHAT PART OF "WELL-REGUU;ATED" DOES NOT ANYONE UNDERSTAND???????

YES!!.....I KNOW THAT A " MILITIA" IS AN ARMY OF THE PEOPLE.

It says "WELL-REGULATED" This does not allow weapons of war in the hands of idiots.

Andrew Applegarth 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Yes, it says well regulated. However, despite your best efforts to ignore the truth, "well regulated" does not mean controlled or limited. It actually means pretty much exactly the opposite. It means that the people have the weapons that they will be called upon to use as a member of the militia. It means that the people are using them (for target practice, hunting, self defense, etc) often enough that they don't need to be trained to use them in after being called. When the militia is needed, there is no time for boot camp.

Michael Kort 1 month, 2 weeks ago

No assault rifle makes it's owner the equivalent of an M1A1 Tank or an F-22 .

The government has all sorts of weapon systems that make a joke out of the second amendment militia stuff and the idea that owning a semi auto rifle ( even one with a bump stack ) makes anyone the military equivalent of our government should it become a tyrant ( a joke that sells guns ) .

Really ? ? ?

Brock Masters 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Carol, you asked why a gun needs to be silenced. It isn’t actually silenced, the decibel levels are just reduced. Pretty quiet though. Loud noise damages hearing and so there is a health reason for lowerering the decibel level even when hearing protection is used.

Here is a video that shows how a suppressor works and you will notice it doesn’t silence the firearm.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 month, 3 weeks ago

There are plenty of ways to protect your ears while shooting. Of course, maybe they aren't fashionable enough for you.

http://www.espamerica.com/type-ear-protection-use-shooting/

Bob Smith 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Fashion has nothing to do with my choices. I always use both ear muffs and ear plugs while shooting.

Bob Forer 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Do you have sex before shooting or after shooting?

Bob Smith 1 month, 3 weeks ago

"...Why do you always go out of your way to be nasty? Its not very becoming."

Brock Masters 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Why the smart remark Dorothy. Are you such a hateful person that you can’t just reply without poking.

You have poor reading comprehension - that we know, so let me reiterate that I said people use these in addition to hearing protection.

Carol wants to know why we can’t have a discussion, it is because of people like you that poke, insult and name call when all I was doing was answering a question.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Because you do NOT need a silencer to protect your ears. You have plenty of ways to protect your ears. Your argument for making them legal does not fly.

Bob Smith 1 month, 3 weeks ago

One of the ways to protect one's hearing is by using a suppressor. Choice is good, isn't it?

Brock Masters 1 month, 3 weeks ago

I was answering a question in a polite way for Carol. You have the right to offer an alternate point of view, but being nasty is unnecessary. You seem like you can’t help yourself. You must suffer from serious problems to feel the need to lash out at anyone with whom you disagree.

It is sad that you are compelled to be so nasty.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 month, 3 weeks ago

No matter where you stand, you can at least help out the victims. Most of them were young and probably didn't have any money saved for a funeral. There were some children left left without a parent too.

https://www.gofundme.com/dr2ks2-las-vegas-victims-fund

Larry Sturm 1 month, 3 weeks ago

If congress don't want to do anything about gun laws it should put on a national ballot and let the people deside.. As i see it the NRA are the people with bloody hands.

Brock Masters 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Sure Larry, right along abortion rights. Besides it being a right, how would you put it on the “National ballot”

Richard Heckler 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Lawrence city hall should take our city back then implement our own strict gun regulations.

Conservatives believe more guns on the street brings on a safer environment. Thus far they are still wrong.

Bob Smith 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Kansas state law prohibits local governments from going off the rails and passing their own firearms laws. But since you only believe in laws that support your narrative, you wouldn't know about that.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 month, 3 weeks ago

It's pretty much the same in Illinois too.

"In 2010, the high court followed up Heller with a ruling in McDonald vs. City of Chicago which nullified Chicago’s ban. At that, the concealed carry of firearms was still outlawed in Chicago as it was throughout all of Illinois. Two years later, however, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the Illinois concealed carry ban as unconstitutional and the state soon after became the last in the nation to approve concealed carry.

Concealed carry is regulated by the Illinois state police, so Chicago has no control over that, unlike other large cities in the US, like New York. Chicago does strictly enforce Illinois' gun laws, which is why they are considered tough on guns, and Illinois' gun laws are stricter than Kansas. But even in Kansas the penalty of violating any gun laws is pretty light.

And since there is almost no laws now regulating guns in Kansas, except federal laws, I guess there is nothing to enforce. Of course it's ironic that those of you who hate those federal gun laws which states have to follow, also love the fact that the state can do the same to cities. Ironic or hypocritical?

Gary Stussie 1 month, 2 weeks ago

Richard, you think the gun(s) that killed the 3 young people on Mass street last week were legally owned?

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Here are some videos about the sound that a gun makes with and without a silencer, or a suppressor. Now you might say, yes, the noise isn't as loud, but you can still hear it. But they are outside in the country.. Think about it. If you are in a movie theatre or at a concert, or live in a busy city you wouldn't be able to hear it over the other noises. Personally, if I'm going to be shot at, I think I would prefer the really loud one. In the second video, he does say that it's not good for sniping. I don't know if this guy is a former military sniper, I hope so, but why else would he talk about sniping?

Bob Smith 1 month, 2 weeks ago

"...Far too often, when the left starts with their, “We need to have a conversation on this topic,” what they really mean is, “Sit down and shut up so we can tell you how this is going to be.” They don’t want a conversation, they want to issue marching orders and will label anyone who disagrees with them as every vile name they can muster. Watch social media. Many of you have already encountered it. You say you don’t support some gun control measure, and the anti-gunner pops back, “So you support senseless massacres?” Um…what? Literally no one supports that. It’s a non-issue. Yet that’s how it’s framed because these people can’t comprehend the idea that you can disagree with them for any other reason. With that in mind, I agree with Schlichter. You don’t get to have my guns, no matter what has transpired. If you want a conversation, then also be ready to discuss non-gun issues that may contribute to violence, because I’m not budging on my right to keep and bear arms..." https://bearingarms.com/tom-k/2017/10/05/townhalls-schlichter/

Bob Summers 1 month, 2 weeks ago

pfsst...

Eliminate people testing positive for Liberal gene from getting anywhere near a firearm.

"Gun violence" problem solved

Why are people with the Liberal condition, an extremely emotionally hypersensitive lot, allowed near firearms? It is crazy. It is lunacy. It is childish to even THINK of letting them have a pop pop.

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