At 3:45 a.m. on Saturday, Chattanooga Police were called to Erlanger Hospital where a 27-year-old man had come to the emergency room for treatment for a gunshot wound. The man told police he had been just shot outside a restaurant and was transported to the hospital by a friend. Approximately 12 hours later on Saturday afternoon, police rushed to the 2700 block of Woodside Street in East Lake where a 29-year-old man was suffering from multiple gun shots wounds. Said he was “just leaning on a car” when he was targeted and shot repeatedly. He was transported to Erlanger by ambulance.
Now get this: just three days before Saturday’s latest episode of “Gunsmoke,” Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced legislation to make the state the 17th in the nation to embrace Constitutional Carry, the right for any citizens over the age of 21 to freely carry a lethal firearm – no permit required.
Are you kidding me? Bill is big in the National Rifle Association, a well-intentioned group until some knuckleheads fouled the membership with outlandish ideas. Why should anybody keep a .50-caliber machine gun mounted on the porch, or carry around a AK-47 automatic, a combat weapon that has only one purpose known to man? Guns require common sense, not fanatics.
I fear the Governor is thinking of those in the state with common sense when “free carry” will instead attract the fanatics. In the three terms Michael Bloomberg was Mayor of New York, he ordered the police to ‘stop, question, and frisk’ any suspicious person. When he took office, NYC was dealing with about 650 homicides by gun a year. When he left office, he had reduced the tragic number by a full 50 per cent. They had a simple approach. The police confiscated the gun right then – no questions asked – and if you want the illegal gun back, go to the station, in most cases they’ll arrest you for illegal carry of a stolen firearm and you can see how your luck runs.
You need to know, according to FBI annual data, the crime rate in Chattanooga, Tn., is 106 percent higher than the average of the whole of the state of Tennessee, and, when compared with the national average, is 175 percent higher. When looking at violent crimes, Chattanooga has a 68 percent higher violent crime rate than the Tennessee average, while remaining 175 percent higher than the national average. In property crime, Chattanooga is 114 percent higher than the average of Tennessee and is 175 percent higher than the national average. If Governor Lee makes Chattanooga and Hamilton County free carry, I guarantee he’ll have that blood on his hands.
Chattanooga is in the Top 10 as one of the “Most Dangerous Cities in America.” Memphis is another and, boy oh boy, is it a nest of vipers. Last year Memphis had 200 homicides and another 19 in January 2020. Three children were among February victims and more and more say The Bluff City is out of control. No wonder the Shelby County Mayor, the sheriff’s office and the City Council are pleading with the Governor to drop the Constitutional Carry idea. Two weeks ago, at an impromptu drag race, seven people were shot. Memphis rarely goes a day without a shooting and when you let some of these clowns roam around with free carry, remember to duck.
Free carry is a huge health risk. Last year Erlanger’s emergency room treated 400 gunshot wounds, the common bond being almost every victim was unable to pay the roughly-estimated $25,000 bill. That’s a conservative average and you wonder why the hospital’s indigent care cost is now nearing $140 million. There is no way to get a penny of that back and the City of Chattanooga, the garden spot of black-on-black crime, gives the Hospital not a dime.
Black-on-black shootings usually involve “street guns,” either stolen or bought out of a car trunk, and “racial shootings” are darn near epidemic. In Chicago, the February tally is just out and 36 were killed in the last 29 days – an increase of 64 percent over last February – and another 133 were shot yet survived. That’s 23 percent more for the month versus last February. Equally important, 80.7 percent of Chicago victims last month were black, 14 percent Hispanic and 5.1 percent white. And Chicago’s 2019 figures? In a city that has the toughest gun laws in the country, inside the city limits last year there were 517 homicides and 2,292 shootings. How can a God-fearing country ignore that?
Our leftists plead for gun control, as well as other things that will never happen, when all of us ought to scream for tougher laws, more aggressive “stop, question, frisk,” and stiffer sentencing. Governor Lee wants tougher laws but a ‘stop, question, and frisk’ is a wretched problem. In my opinion the syndicated columnist Walter Williams is one of my top five favorite writers in America and his Sunday column in the Times Free Press on racial profiling was one of his best. Entitled ‘Stop, Question and Frisk,’ my heart weeps when he writes how racial profiling is insulting, demeaning, and – to be frank – terrorizing for the great majority of law-abiding people of color. For the record, Williams is one of the most distinguished people in America, yet the reader should also know he’s black, which gives him a far-greater insight into this subject.
Here is part of his Sunday column where he addresses the huge dilemma beautifully.
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AN EXCERPT FROM WALTER WILLIAMS’ “STOP, QUESTION AND FRISK”
(From a column by Walter Williams, March 1, 2020, that appeared in leading newspapers across the country from Creators.com)
“The stop, question and frisk policy has taken on racial overtones because most of the people stopped are black men. Let's look at the numbers. Last year, NYPD data showed that 93% of suspects arrested for murder were black or Hispanic. Ninety-six percent of those nabbed in shootings were also minorities. Eighty-eight percent of New York City's homicide victims were black or Hispanic as were 96% of shooting victims.
“While these percentages have been roughly the same for decades, New York police have brought the absolute number of crimes, including homicides, way down from its 1990 peak at 2,245 to 289 homicides in 2018. Since blacks and Hispanics are the major victims of homicide, as a result of the NYPD's proactive response to crime, possibly tens of thousands of blacks are living today who would otherwise be dead.
“For a law-abiding black person to be stopped, questioned and frisked — in a word or two, be racially profiled — is truly insulting. However, to analyze the policy, let's look at the origins of racial profiling or any other kind of profiling. First of all, policemen are neither mind readers nor are they equipped with X-ray vision. That means good policing requires learning how to use an easily observed physical characteristic as a guess or proxy for some other difficult-to-observe characteristic. Thus, the reason people profile is that information is costly and they seek methods to economize on information costs. One way to do that is through profiling.
“The reality is that race and other behavioral characteristics are correlated, including criminal behavior. That fact does not dispel the insult, embarrassment, anger and hurt a law-abiding black person might feel when being stopped by police, being watched in stores, being passed by taxi drivers, standing at traffic lights and hearing car door locks activated or being refused delivery by merchants who fear for their safety in his neighborhood.”
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Williams also writes, “Black people must ask what needs to be done to stop criminals from preying on them and making so many of their communities’ economic wastelands. If stop, question and frisk can contribute to that goal, so be it … if the police, intimidated by leftists, are not doing their job to safeguard black residents in high crime communities, that doesn’t mean that black people should not organize to take independent measures to protect themselves.”
I would dare say the only people who would really benefit from a “Constitutional Carry” are the criminals themselves. The great majority of Tennessee citizens do not want the unsavory people carrying irresponsible guns. The majority of poor blacks and Hispanics already cope with fear in their neighborhoods so tell me true: who benefits from “free carry” and why? My point exactly.