A new law allowing unlicensed people to carry guns has led to more shootings
HOUSTON, Texas — On Halloween night, Sampson and Benjamin texted me a picture. The face was familiar. “Rest in peace,” read the Facebook caption that memorialized a death-day.
In high school, Cedric was my best friend. He loved rapping and Jordans. After a party in Houston, someone shot him to death.
Hours after the above text, I got another chilling one. It was about Kirshnik Ball, known professionally as “Takeoff.” He loved rapping and Jordans. After a party in Houston, someone shot him to death.
"It's a hell of a thing, killing a man," Bill Munny said. "You take away everything he's got ... and everything he's ever gonna have."
Taju-Deen Dahniya, Aaron Masters and Christopher Hutchins, to name a few, are all friends of mine who belong to the class of “someone shot him to death.”
Forgive me for still clinging to the present tense. It’s as if we grievers take refuge in the one thing death can’t steal.
I hate guns!
Houston's gun culture is part of the problem
"Now who wanna play with guns?" Jeezy once asked. "A lot of holes, a lot of blood, dawg, this ain't fun (nope)."
Perhaps too much glorification of the "Wild, Wild, West" pervades not just Houston but Texas as a whole. As the incredible NY Times headline puts it: "Texas Goes Permitless on Guns, and Police Face an Armed Public.”
After Tony Earls accidentally shot a little girl to death, here in Houston, a reporter asked, “Is Mr. Earls licensed to carry?”
For what? Mr. Earls’ lawyer replied. “Everything about that situation, we believe and contend, was justified under Texas law.” A grand jury agreed. Apparently. So despite shooting an innocent child to death, Mr. Earls didn’t even get indicted for a crime.
Perhaps lawmakers don't realize this: dangerous laws promote dangerous behavior.
Dangerous gun laws
Anger is one letter short of danger...
...When people go to clubs, people drink alcohol. Alcohol, when processed by the liver, turns into poison.
Quite simply, alcohol stimulates parts of the nervous system responsible for aggression. Needless to say, in a state that allows carrying handguns without a license, arguing with anyone drunk is dangerous.
And I mean — really dangerous!
As it concerns the gun culture in Houston, who needs eye-witness news? After all, with my own eye, I witnessed homes with images of AR-15 rifles painted on garage doors.
With my own eye, I witnessed Texans stroll around wearing guns on holsters, as if cowboys are readying for a showdown. The only thing missing were tumbleweeds and a "take ten paces, spin and draw!"
Perhaps what I’m groping with here is this: anyone carrying a gun, whether knowingly or not, has already made a subconscious decision to potentially shoot someone. And once bullets fly, the Grim Reaper awakes.
Mayor Giuliani left behind the blueprint
“Texas is a red state,” goes the slogan. And on such grounds, many argue, the right to bear arms goes hand in hand with the “Grand Old Party.”
Ahem, not so fast.
Mayor Giuliani was a republican too. But that didn’t stop his “tough on crime” campaign and “civic cleanup.” By the time Guiliani left office, the most dangerous city in the nation was on pace to make the top 5 list for "surprisingly safe big cities in America."
If nothing else, years of living in New York City has taught me this much: nothing slows down gun violence in a major city like the major threat of going to prison, just for carrying a handgun.
"When it comes to handgun possession, there are two general charges," attorney Martin Kane warns. "[And] both of them are felony charges."
In New York City, the gun laws are so strict that when star receiver Plaxico Burress — who caught the game-winning Super Bowl touchdown for New York — accidentally shot himself, he wound up being hit with a 2-year prison sentence.
Brooklyn native Mike Tyson recently joked compared to when he came up in the 70s and 80s, "New York City is like Disney World." Let’s face it, the mere thought that getting caught with a handgun can lead to prison time is enough to even make Al Capone think twice.
In short, until Texas lawmakers realize why prevention is the best medicine, Houstonians will continue to suffer this senseless gun violence.