In Chicago, Los Angeles, and D.C. protest are frequently staged to bring attention to the loss of American lives from the divisive war in Iraq. And yet within each of these same cities, gang wars, trouble youths, deranged people and common criminals kill more people annually then soldiers loss in the entire war zone of Iraq. If we are appalled at our military death count in Iraq, we need to become as equally appalled over the daily losses occurring in our own American cities. The organizations that form and mobilize to sensationalize the deaths of our soldiers in a war zone need to expand their efforts to the killing fields of our inner cities. If 600 deaths in a war zone of 25 million people is an outrageous number, then we need these same groups to mobilize and help take back our American cities where their body counts surpass or hover at war zone death rates.
It may be less exciting and less fashionable to help battle the crime rate in America but the same type of protest and outrage would help immensely to bring attention to the fact that our cities are more dangerous in some sections than driving down main street of Fallujah, Iraq waving an American flag..
If we are sickened by the daily losses that are occurring in our overseas arenas of war, why are we not equally appalled at the government’s inability to reign in the rule of crime lords around our major cities? The fact is, to-date, federal crime prevention programs have been wasteful and have proven to be ineffective. What our country needs is improved crime prevention management programs. Programs that wipe out crime gangs in the city, and provide life alternatives to the members. We need programs that teach youth that there are lots of exciting things to do and be involved in than living a life of crime.
State and local governments need to be more accountable for the crime levels within their population. To make a change in the crime rate, we must free ourselves from the worn out rhetoric that America’s high murder rate is a result of racial hatred. The fact is today, 86% of white victims were killed by another white person and 94 percent of Afro Americans were killed by another Afro American. The majority of murders are "intraracial" not “racial”. We need community leaders, churches, schools and you the voter more involved in trying to stem the flood of murders that plague our communities. We need to tackle the root causes of crime, and ensure that once we have detained those responsible for it they are not afforded the opportunity to re-offend.
In sum, we need to make America’s streets safe once again for Americans and America’s youth in particular.
The last few years the windy city of Chicago has reign supreme as the murder captial of America. In 2003, it finished with 599 homicides, 49 less than the 648 murders recorded the year prior and the first time since 1967 where the count fell below 600. Chicago has some of the most restrictive gun control laws in the United States. It does not allow concealed weapons unless you are a politician and it enforces the Brady Law. Illinois performs background checks on all firearm purchasers, and uses the National Instant Check System. Even with all these nice laws on the books, people continue to kill others.
These laws are certainly good intentioned but they have done little to stem the murders in this wonderful city. Moreover, in most cases where the government has sought fit to regulate away murder by passing laws restricting the access to guns, failure was the end result of the experiment. A case in point would be our nation’s capital. In 1976 Washington D.C. enacted a ban on handguns. This ban was eventually overturned in 1991. However, during the period from 1976 to 1991, Washington’s homicide rate rose 200 per cent, to become the murder capital of the world, while America’s overall homicide rate rose by a more manageable 12 per cent.
Our forefathers fought and died to give us the right to bear arms and I believe strongly that right should not be taken away by our government.
Our country is a very young country and is still shaping itself in the world community. We are today’s super power but history well documents that every previous world power held that position only for a few hundred years. Our world is still a whirlwind of political and religious turmoil and our tomorrows are really never sure.
But in any event, with the level of federal laws already on the statue books regulating gun control - from the right-to-carry laws, the Brady Bill and the Assault Weapons Ban – and no significant change in the number of gun deaths, maybe it is time that a new approach is taken.
The cure is not regulating the object that is used to kill people it is finding ways to stop people from having the need to commit murder. Murder has been a problem with man since we learn to stand upright. At first our weapon of choice to kill with was a club, knife, or a spear and then man found new ways to kill. Gunpowder was discovered and people found it safer to kill their enemy that way. But they still did not give up the use of knifes, poison or other devices to kill another human. In 1997, 15,289 murders were committed in America. Firearms were used in 10,369 of those cases but the other 5,000 were done using other methods.
Our problem is murder not guns.. How do we stop people from killing each other. Our founding fathers knew when they crafted the bill of rights that some of us would abuse the right to bear arms. But the bigger purpose of this right as Noah Webster wrote was to “insure that the supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword, because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops hat can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States.”
I agree with Samuel Adams, a handgun owner himself who pressed for an amendment stating that the "Constitution shall never be construed . . . to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms,"
America today is a sick nation. An estimated 18,000 Americans die prematurely each year because they lack adequate healthcare coverage. They are part of the roughly 43.3 million Americans, under the age of 65, who are uncovered. This health care problem effects not only the ill but also our economic wellness. According to estimates, America foregoes as much as $130 billion a year in economic gains due to the lack of healthcare coverage among 1 in 4 of its citizens!
How can this appalling lack of concern over our nations healthcare woes be rectified? I will push to have the five fundamental principles that the Institute of Medicine (IOM), consider the absolute minimum for healthcare become reality.
These principles are:
(a) healthcare should be universal;
(b) it should be continuous;
(c) it needs to be affordable to the payer;
(d) it needs to be affordable for society;
(e) healthcare needs to start promoting access to high-quality care that is efficient, effective, timely, safe, patient centered, and, above all else, equitable.
So, let’s get America on the mend and back to work!
Ladies and Gentlemen: each year when Congress passes the Budget Bill she acknowledges two fundamental truths. First, that the Paymaster General of federal government is we the people. Second, that the level of federal government today is way and beyond the level anticipated by our forefathers. The time for a call-to-action has come. The simple fact is, we need to clean our house.
In our call to action, we need to give consideration to the following major issues
(a) If we can limit the term of office of our president, why can we not limit the term of office of any of our other public servants? The day has come when we need to consider limiting the term of an incumbent so that fresh democratic principles can return to the voter;
(b) enforce the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution: federal government should be cut-back and the duties of such persons should be assumed by the state (if they so chose);
(c) there should be less, not more, Congressional committees/committee stages;
(d) no current employee of the government should be allowed to earn an independent income during the time they are employed by the government;
(e) no government official should be permitted employment with a private company within the scope of their pervious government employment for a period of two years following their government employment;
(f) federal courts, including the Supreme Court, should not be allowed to interpret laws, merely enforce them;
and (g) all lobbyist should be abolished – our nations elected officials are elected to serve the interests of those who elected them, not lobbyist living on Capitol Hill.