A reader writes:
In your post about Mamet’s article, you reference Detroit being at the top of many crime lists. You know why? Because they’ve cut cops, that’s why. They now operate “virtual” precincts where actual physical police precincts are closed between 4:00pm and 8:00am. Only 2,731 new police officers were sworn in back in 2012, down from 4,001 in 2002. That’s a cut of almost one-third. Mamet is right in this regards about Detroit: “the police do not exist to protect the individual.” Because they barely have any cops left.
Another quips, “Mamet isn’t considered a great fiction writer for no reason.” Another:
I’ve found when people talk about Chicago and Washington, D.C., as justifications for more relaxed gun laws, they are missing the larger picture. While Chicago has many problems with crime and violence, the second largest city in Illinois, Aurora, has similar gun restrictions and in 2012 had zero homicides. So, more guns (or even fewer guns) doesn’t begin to be the answer. Guns are just a symptom of a larger ill that cannot be reigned in by force or threat.
I was a prosecutor in New Jersey, which at the time had among the strictest gun laws in the country. Guns used in crimes were routinely traced and in most instances did not come from gun shops or people’s houses in the region; the majority came from southern states along the I-95 corridor.
The problem is not that ordinary citizens couldn’t own guns to defend themselves, but that the guns the criminals use come from those states that did nothing to regulate the flow of guns. Therefore the gun control measures passed in individual states don’t do a terrible amount of good and are the equivalent of a colander; the guns the law sought to prevent getting out were by and large stopped but there was still a flow coming in.
When I moved to Florida, the proliferation of guns was somewhat shocking. Mixed in among the ordinary reasonable citizens who owned guns who had no reason to concern me were the blithering idiots and fools who had an equal right to them. When I handled domestic violence cases, too many times the first substantive question I got from a client related to when he could get his guns back after the restraining order was lifted or probation was over. Dude, we are still getting past whether you hit your wife, do you really want me to ask the judge about your guns?
I represented a shop owner who, after displaying a gun on his ankle to threaten him, beat up a customer who refused to pay for the work he had done and the shop owner took the money off him. When the police showed up, the victim screamed to the police that my client had a gun, which was still in a holster on his ankle. He was charged with armed robbery. When arguing successfully to dismiss the armed part of the charge I told the judge, “Judge, I don’t know if I even agree with this philosophically, but setting aside that and setting aside whether my client wrongfully beat that man or took money that wasn’t his, he had an absolute right to be wearing a gun if he did.”