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In Detroit, Even the Politicians Carry Weapons

In today's Detroit Free Press, columnist Rochelle Riley reports that 7 of the 9 incoming city council members have a permit to carry a concealed weapon. It's no secret that crime is one of the biggest barriers to Detroit's turnaround aspirations. The city's police force is overwhelmed covering a vast, often sparsely populated territory. Some of the city's last relatively affluent neighborhoods are driving one of the few growth industries here: private security. Just a few weeks ago, a pastor shot a man who tried to rob his church.

None of this is front-page news. But it does illustrate how the crisis here is playing out. This quote from one of the new city council members, Saunteel Jenkins, is spot on:

"It's an indication of the failure of leadership in this city when people think that the only way to protect themselves is to strap on a gun. That's exactly where we don't want to be in this city, taking the law into our own hands. It made me kind of sad.

"....This is no joking matter. ... We don't want this to be what we become."

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  • 1

    Im surprised that all of the city concil members are not required to CCW. I know that it seems odd to have an armed and ready city, but it has been like that for a long time now. All the criminals have weapons so why should the population be handicapped when it comes to protection. The police forces are over whelmed and under staffed, what really can they do to protect the law abiding people of Detroit.

    • 1.1

      [ “. . . why should the population be handicapped when it comes to protection.” ]

      Because this is Detroit City in 2009, not Dodge City in the 1870s.

      Yes, we have urban prairies and may resemble a frontier outpost in spots, but we sure don't need more folks drawing on each other in public.

      As any law enforcer will confirm, each legally owned civilian handgun is one burglary away from becoming a criminal's piece . . .

      . . . and one adrenaline-pumping moment away from a friendly fire mistake or accident.

      Let's not make "They Died With Their Boots On" a new slogan for Detroit, Robert.

  • 2

    Alan: I would assume that you don't own a firearm? And to be honest I hope that you are never on the other end of one either. But if you ever are I sure hope that the police are right behind you when it happens because if they are not I will feel sorry for you.

    To ask a society to not protect themselves when the officers of the law are not able to is just sad on your part.

    Criminals don't care who they hurt in their selfish rampages across the streets of Detroit. People should be allowed to protect themselves, by any meens necessary.

    And you are right about criminals stealing guns from a persons house, and those guns get stolen because the owner of the weapon did not secure it proplerly. I know to many people that have fended off an attack just by having a weapon at hand, Most of the criminals in Detroit are cowards anyway they count on people not fighting back, and when those people do the crime stops, and hopefully another criminal is locked up or dead.

    By the way I bet there was alot less crime in Detroit in the 1870's with all those people wearing sidearms too. Less gun violence too, kinda makes you wonder.

    And as far as a new slogan, I don't think it would be boots, more like Nike's. Ha ha ha!!!!

  • 4

    Good call, anounceofaction.

    And, if one wasn't so concerned, then what would be the point in even posting the comment above ensuring the whole world knows there is no concern for detractors?

    Regardless, take the criticism in good stride. Yeah, it may be opinionated; yeah, it may not be as informed as you like - but what is journalism worth if it doesn't provoke thought and commentary, eh?

  • 5

    I haven't seen any on topic comments get removed, only off topic, obnoxious ones.

  • 6

    Carrying a handgun - legally and responsibly - is not about "taking the law into your own hands." It's about taking responsibility for your own safety when the police are too busy or spread too thin to be there when you need them. You've got a better chance of becoming a millionaire at one of our fine casinos than you have in being able to count on the DPD being handy when you really, really need them. This is not unique to Detroit; it's only in the movies that the cavalry arrives in the nick of time to save the good guys.

    A call to 911 takes minutes (maybe hours or days in Detroit - been there, done that) when *seconds* count. The poor, frightened sheep (like alanstamm) may quiver in their beds knowing that good, honest citizens are exercising their right to carry a concealed weapon, but I do and will continue to do so to keep my family safe from the low-life scum that would stab or shoot you for a dollar in change.

    The animals that prey on the hard-working citizens are counting on them throwing up their hands in surrender when threatened with force. But, like all bullies, they are cowards who will run when they encounter significant resistance. Mr. Jenkins is right that it's sad that people should have to do that to defend themselves, but this is reality, not some idealistic rainbow world populated by friendly unicorns and birdies.

    It is a direct result of the often insane, self-serving, corrupt malfeasance of Mr. Jenkins' predecessors on the council and in the mayor's office that this city is where it is. I wish him and his associates all the best in straightening things out. It's the rotten core of the greedy, lazy civil service and corrupt elected officials that is preventing any kind of turn-around for this once great city. I will neither hold my breath nor leave my handgun in its safe at home.

    I think it's a good sign that 7 of the 9 council members have a CCW. I was not raised to be a victim and do not raise my children to be so, either.

    • 6.1

      This healthy, constructive discussion can be conducted without name-calling.

      I respect your viewpoints and also condemn "the often-insane, self-serving, corrupt malfeasance" of past council members and the ex-mayor.

      Each of our opinions is valid, by definition. Personal beliefs -- whether about CCW permits, abortion, health care reform, religion or foreign policy -- are not "correct" or "incorrect."

      This is not intended to incite more flame-throwing or hair-trigger responses, AlanInDetroit . . . simply to suggest that you consider disagreeing without being disagreeable.

      Thank you.

    • 6.2

      minor FYI, Jenkins is a Ms. not a Mr.

  • 7

    Over at 'For Immediate Release,' a Crain's Detroit Business blog, Bill Shea today wonders:

    "How long before the national media, talk show hosts and blogosphere use [this] to bludgeon us some more?

    The Associated Press distributed a short story based on Riley's column. . . . Perhaps it will flame out before the rest of the nation notices. Otherwise, it feels like fodder for humiliation from across the entire ideological spectrum. And a Jay Leno joke."

    --> Second item in this post:

  • 8

    alanstamm -- you are correct and I should not have put your name in as an example of a 'quivering sheep.' I don't know you, nor do I know anything about you outside of your opinion on this matter. For that I apologize.

    My posting, however, is not a "hair-trigger response". You claim to not want to be disagreeable or incite "more flame-throwing or hair-trigger responses", take a look at your own choice of words before you get all holier-than-thou.

    You're welcome.

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