Obama to police chiefs: US safer because of your efforts

28 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

As more people keep and carry firearms, more personal responsibility is needed and policies must adjust: editorial.

President Barack Obama acknowledged today before a conference of police chiefs that law enforcement officers are being blamed for problems with the penal code that are outside their control. ‘Too often law enforcement gets scapegoated for the broader failures of our society and the criminal justice system,’ he said, contending the country needs to ‘go after racial disparities at the root.’ Obama said that means investing in pre-k education and summer jobs for teens.On the same day that President Obama announced he was taking taxpayers on a two-year-long “debt holiday” as part of a new budget deal that will raise the national debt past $20 trillion, the president flew to Chicago to take care of some of his own campaign debt. Gun-rights activists planned to protest when Obama visited to meet with families of victims of the Roseburg college shooting rampage. (Ryan Kang, Associated Press, File, 2015) From sea to sea, from Roseburg, Oregon to Cleveland, Ohio, the nation’s citizens are justifiably worried about spreading gun violence that is taking the lives of innocents engaged in nothing more dangerous than walking a college campus or sitting in an infant seat in their mother’s car.

But he wouldn’t say three magic words that every cop wanted to hear: “It is true that in some cities, including here in my hometown of Chicago, gun violence and homicides have spiked — and in some cases they’ve spiked significantly,” the president said. “But the fact is, is that so far at least across the nation, the data shows that we are still enjoying historically low rates of violent crime.” This is the city where he learned the Chicago Way as a budding Democratic politician and a member of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus. And I know you do your jobs with distinction no matter the challenges you face,” Obama said. “That’s part of wearing a badge.” Obama’s remarks at the law enforcement gathering come one week after he defended Black Lives Matter activists, saying that they have surfaced a legitimate issue faced by communities across the country. They include restoring diplomatic relations with Cuba, joining other world powers to negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran and, this week, reaching a budget deal with congressional leaders. I reject a storyline that says when it comes to public safety there’s an ‘us’ and a ‘them’ — a narrative that too often gets served up to us by news stations seeking ratings, or tweets seeking retweets, or political candidates seeking some attention,” Obama told the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

Nobody knows for sure, but informed estimates put the number at about 310 million – in other words, about one for every man, woman and child in the United States. The first $2,500 of each contribution will go to Obama for America — the president’s 2012 campaign committee — to pay off debt from his successful re-election bis.

But he also addressed three of the most controversial topics in law enforcement: police use of force in minority communities, the spiking violence in some urban areas, and the mass shootings that have triggered renewed calls for gun control efforts. He paid tribute to tribute to Randolph Holder, the New York City police officer who was killed in the line of duty, saying Holder “ran toward danger because he was a cop.” “It was part of his job description, part of his calling. Lastly, he spoke about reducing the risks that officers face in the field by introducing the gun safety reforms he’s been asking Congress for since the start of his second term. They wouldn’t vote for it, and the Democratic boss of Illinois, Speaker Mike Madigan, quickly put it away rather than have a potentially angry public debate between black and Latino Democrats one side and white city and suburban Democrats on the other. As of last month, the Obama campaign also owed about $274,000 to Hargrove Inc., an events firm; $198,000 to Blue State Digital; $104,500 to David Binder Research; and $40,000 to the firm of David Axelrod, formerly one of his top advisers and strategists.

Editorials express the view of the editorial board of The Plain Dealer and Northeast Ohio Media Group — the senior leadership and editorial-writing staff. Obama also called on Congress to pass gun safety measures, noting that more than 400,000 Americans have been killed in gun violence since 2001. “That’s like losing the entire population of Cleveland or Minneapolis over the past 14 years,” he said. The legislation is seen by supporters as a long overdue response to a mandatory sentencing program that has delivered punishments to offenders that are out of proportion to their crimes and deprived communities around the country of people who, given the chance, could contribute to their society. As more people own firearms, the challenges increase and grow more complex — not only in terms of adequate training and safety precautions for gun owners, but also for policymakers.

If there’s anything more common sense than putting gangsters and other reckless criminals behind bars and keeping them off the streets — rather than frightening law-abiding gun owners with the specter of federal power — I don’t know what it would be. Reasonable gun-reform proposals such as universal background checks that are aimed at heightened safety for all should make sense to gun owners and critics alike. In 2013, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez joined Emanuel, police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and others in asking that the mandatory minimum for gun crimes be increased. “When a violent street gang member is caught carrying a firearm in public, the average sentence served is 12 months,” Alvarez said. “Studies show us that 63 percent of these offenders will reoffend within 12 months of release, and that they are four times as likely to commit a homicide.” African-American lawmakers were worried about supporting increased prison time when economic development in black communities is so low. Fewer gun safety laws don’t mean more freedom, they mean more fallen officers,” he said. “Every time a mass shooting happens, one of the saddest ironies is that suddenly the purchase of firearms and ammunition jumps up because folks are scared into thinking that Obama is going to use this as an excuse to take away our Second Amendment rights.

The Pew Research Center has been asking this question each year since 1993: Is it more important to protect the right of Americans to own a gun, or to control gun ownership? I get the politics. “They’re given day-for-day good time, and credits for learning job skills, like barbering,” the Democrat said. “And then they’re back out on the street. The event Tuesday night was an “intimate dinner” being hosted by Robbie Robinson, managing director of BDT & Co., and his wife, D’Rita, founder and CEO of Chatty Guest.

Before Obama’s last visit to the city to talk to speak about gun violence, in February of 2013, National Review opinion writer Charles Cooke said it ‘defies belief’ for that reason that Obama would use Chicago as a backdrop for his gun control push. That if you carry a gun illegally, you’re back in months.” In 2008, star NFL wide receiver Plaxico Burress suffered an accidental, though self-inflicted, gunshot wound at a Manhattan nightclub when his Glock pistol slid down his leg. That question is open to a number of interpretations, but when Pew hit people between the eyes last year more directly – does having a gun in the house make it a safer or more dangerous place to be – 63 percent said safer (30 percent said more dangerous).

Obama also is scheduled to take in a basketball game Tuesday night — the Chicago Bulls host LeBron James and the defending Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers on the NBA’s opening night. But as ever more of us are keeping guns in our homes, and on our persons after getting concealed-carry permits, it is ever more important that we exercise good judgment and responsibility.

On Oct. 6, at a Home Depot in the Detroit suburb of Auburn Hills, a man threw $1,000 worth of tools into a shopping cart and dashed out of the store, put the booty in a car and sped off, with a store security officer in hot pursuit. He said Tuesday that too many “law-abiding” people would have been imprisoned. “Currently there are enough laws on the books that if John Kass pulls out a gun and points it, there’s a state law and a federal law against that today,” said Dunkin. “You could go to jail for attempted murder.”

A similar incident occurred Oct. 12 in a parking lot in Elkhart, Indiana when an armed customer (it’s unclear whether he held a concealed-carry permit) fired at a vehicle in which two suspected shoplifters were fleeing store security. People who act recklessly, as the Indiana and Michigan shooters did, put that right at risk, and provide fodder for the arguments of those who oppose it. Fortunately, anyone who holds a CCW license in Ohio first had to attend a training class that, among other things, teaches that firing at someone fleeing the scene is illegal. More training isn’t fail-safe, but the more information concealed-carry holders have, the less chance that they will do something foolish and/or dangerous.

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