Detroit isn’t immune to violent crime, some of which is carried out with guns. But there has seldom been any kind of public outcry about ways to curtail crime in Michigan’s biggest city, which in 2017 posted an average of five homicides and 20 shootings per week.
While some of the about 675,000 residents in the Motor City have rightly questioned why a shooting at a school in suburban Florida elicits national outrage, while their city’s travails are all but ignored, Detroit Police Chief James Craig blamed Michigan’s justice system for much of the problem.
“You think people could get away with that in Oakland County or Macomb County? It wouldn’t happen,” Craig was quoted as saying in the Detroit News. “But in Wayne County, you’ve got repeat offenders who are being let back out to commit more crimes. It’s unacceptable.”
The missing piece is that in the liberal stronghold of Detroit, criminals know they’re going to off easily, especially when it comes to gun crimes.
“I hear from my officers all the time who tell me they’ll arrest someone with a gun, and the suspect laughs about it in the back of the squad car. They say, ‘I’ll be back on the street in a few days.’ These criminals know there’s no punishment if they get caught with an illegal gun. They think it’s a joke.”
It’s not that laws regarding mandatory minimums and illegal possession of guns don’t exist. They do. It’s just that in some areas of the country, bad guys who use guns in crimes get off with a slap on the wrist.
People who have lost loved ones to violent crime in Detroit agree that the lack of enforcement of existing laws is a big part of the problem.
“Everyone’s talking about gun control after what happened in Florida, but if they had just enforced the laws that are already on the books, Corey would be alive,” Deidra Harris-Thomas, whose son Corey was killed over a pair of sneakers about a year ago, said a couple of weeks after the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
Seems the man who killed her son had a history of run-ins with the police and the justice system, but he was out on probation. And his probation officer apparently ignored the alleged killer’s Facebook postings about guns, which should have been enough to raise a red flag about the fact that he was not inclined to give up his life of crime.
“You can pass gun control laws, but that’s only going to affect people who follow the law,” Harris-Thomas told the News. “The criminals won’t pay any attention to any laws you pass — and these guys can easily get guns on the street whenever they want to.”
That is one of the points the NRA has long made about guns being used in crime. By the very definitions, criminals do not obey the law.
The fact is, we have enough laws on the book that anyone who uses a gun during the commission of a crime should be sent away for a good, long time. But with prison systems facing overcrowding and states struggling to cut budgets, some convicts are being released early, so they’re free to cause more mayhem.
President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have vowed to get tough on enforcement, something that was missing during the Barack Obama administration.