26 January 2008

Here We Go Again; This Time Its Cleveland

An elementary school principal in Cleveland is proposing a gun buyback program for kids. Valerie Flowers, the principal at Empire CompuTech, suggests that young children turn in their guns in return for a gift card or cash.

Once again, where to start. It's not about guns, it is about parents and other role models who should be teaching kids about right and wrong. But they are not. I was on my way to the Dayton area yesterday and while in the car, listened to comments over the radio on this story. The adults interviewed were supposedly quoting kids who were saying how easy it is to get guns. But I heard no children interviewed, just the adults making the case.

Folks, turning in a broken gun for a gift card toward a new pair of Nikes, or cash, or whatever, is not going to stop the culture of violence and fear that is permeating parts of our society. Kids who don't get good parenting at home are turning to the streets and gangs for "family advice." And those "families" have no respect for life -- or the law.

This school administrator will probably have her buyback. And they will collect a few guns. Yet nothing will change until kids are taught right from wrong. And God forbid what happens when some young person grabs "Granny's" firearm she keeps in the home for self defense, and turns it in for some candy. What will Granny do if she has been rendered defenseless by someone in her own family at the request of a well-meaning, but clueless, school principal?

The very reason Granny keeps a sidearm in her home is to protect her family from neighborhood violence; because so many other families aren't teaching kids right from wrong.

In Columbus, in 1999, Elizabeth Mitchell-Dulaney, "Granny'' as she was known by the neighborhood, from her front porch shot a criminal who was threatening her great-grandchildren. The judicial system jailed her for aggravated assault, and most of Columbus was outraged. Her sentence was commuted to time served by then Gov. Bob Taft in 2002. Here is the report on her gubernatorial clemency as published by the State of Ohio. She was never able to care for children in a daycare, something she loved, after her release because she was forever labeled "a felon." Her story was told by the OSU Lantern, Ohio State University's student newspaper (Note: the newspaper historically has not been a fan of private gun ownership, BTW), in piece where she was nicknamed, "The Fighter."

After her death about a year after she was released (she died of natural causes), Taft granted her a posthumous pardon. Scroll to Page 16. The reason cited? She had no prior record and was trying to protect herself and her family.

What if Granny had not had the tool to defend those kids? Would they be dead? Despite her sentencing, she always believed she did the right thing. I am rambling on at this point because I just cannot understand the thinking of school administrators and others who think the gun is the problem. Someone who want kids to just take a gun from the home and turn it in for movie tickets.

All the candy and gifts and gift cards and tennis shoes in the world won't make the streets any safer. Two things will help reduce violence -- reducing the drug trade and finding a way for kids to have positive role models as influencers. I'm done.

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