The following is a compelling response by Bronx resident Geoffrey Mullings on the 14 year old boy in Brooklyn who shot and killed and innocent man on a bus.
March 24, 2014
As tightly as I close my eyes and clench my fists, as hard as I wish for it, I can’t seem to materialize a gun.
The way Michael Bloomberg spoke about it, the way the NYT, the WSJ, the NYDN, and the Gothamist write about it, the way Ray Kelly handled it and the way his successor briefs us on it, I was under the impression that any Black or Latino male having reached puberty but under the age of 25 could immediately wish a gun into their hands. Yet as hard as I try, that doesn’t seem to be happening.
Trusting the above sources, wishing it into my presence would be the only way someone in my demographic could obtain a gun. After all, our City doesn’t manufacture firearms, and if the local retailers were at fault then we would have to logically assume that anyone in New York City could potentially illegally posses a firearm. The televised news had made it very clear though that only Black and Latino youths can own guns illegally.
Otherwise, guns must be illicitly coming in from outside the City. But that can’t be right. From all of our above sources, NYC’s gun violence problem is clearly a men of color problem. As former Mayor Bloomberg said, a disproportionate amount of people pointed out by victims and witnesses of crimes are Black and Latino men, and this must hold true for gun violence as well. Actually, I can’t recall ever hearing a NYC politician discuss our gun problem, in the context of communities of color, and delve any deeper than the interactions between victims and perpetrators.
As far the conversation is concerned, guns do not exist before they enter the hands of youths of color. And they certainly couldn’t have been sold to those youths, or to middle-men, by NYPD officers. Clearly, our gun problem starts and ends in communities of color.
Such is clearly the case in this most recent shooting on a B15 bus in Brooklyn. NYPD Commissioner Bratton, appointed by self-proclaimed progressive, Mayor Bill de Blasio, referred to, “the stupidity of those gangs that basically, over nothing, are trying to kill each other.” Fortunately the blame can be squarely laid on those gangs, because firearms or even poverty never existed before they arrived in our City.
Imagine how awful it would be if Commissioner Bratton was faced with the embarrassment of appending his statement. “The stupidity of those gangs… and the stupidity of a police department which, even with years of evidence that gun trafficking into a city is a major problem mostly affecting low-income Black and Latino communities, refuses to take serious steps to keep guns out before they arrive.”
“Unfortunately, while failing to uphold our duties to every New York City taxpayer, we allow the killing of innocents,” Bratton would have to say, knowing full well that guns illegally entering NYC have a higher probability of ending up in the hands of impoverished teenage men of color rather than at a precinct. It’s well known that teens make terribly rash decisions, imagine if Commissioner Bratton also knew that guns were almost exclusively landing in the hands of this unstable demographic while on his watch!
Fortunately that isn’t the truth, because if it was, the media outlets reporting on such tragedies would be forced to ask the question of how a 14 year old, probably impoverished teen from Bed-stuy came into possession of a .357 Magnum, a gun that can cost anywhere from $50 to $100 when purchased from legitimate sources. Instead the Daily News can swing catchy photographs exclaiming “Big Gun, Small Punk,” because otherwise there would be seriously journalistic questions when one impoverished person uses an unaffordable gun, in a city with some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, to kill an impoverished resident who can barely afford his rent.
The NYT and the Gothamist ran ahead of these improbable questions by including concise explanations of block gangs, so their readers could understand the economies of scale activated when multiple young men of color come together and work hard to wish guns into their hands. Had those guns originated from anywhere else, both outlets might be forced to explain to their middle income, employed audiences that block gangs are almost a direct response to breakdowns in enterprise drug gangs that typically supported low-income families in NYC’s impoverished neighborhoods. They might have had to explain that as certain parts of our society moved toward a “college for everyone (who can afford it)” mindset, many were left behind in the dust of discrimination and poverty. Those left behind found unique ways to make ends meet when rent became 110% of the neighborhood’s average income.
The use of young teens by enterprise gangs of the 80′s and 90′s prepared today’s relatively young block gang leaders to have no qualms with arming their slightly younger peers in some twisted version of a sibling society, the NYT would have to explain. The Gothamist would need a hilarious spin to keep their gentrification-era readers comfortable while explaining that social phenomenons that allowed them to move closer to lower Manhattan also concentrated poverty into neighborhood pockets and helped maintain low-employment rates in these denser ghettos among 16 to 24 year olds. And that would be a curious, highly causal link to the continued violence we’re observing in some neighborhoods even as NYC’s overall crime rate declines… if young men of color didn’t actually materialize guns with only their minds.
I will continue to work on my capabilities, fearful that I may lose them when I reach my 25th birthday. No doubts exist in my mind about my ability to make a firearm appear on my desk only through cognitive manipulation. Will it be a .357? Perhaps a Desert Eagle. How should I customize it? These are only questions about what the end result will look like, not the possibility of it happening. Certainly, our elected officials and gatekeepers of information wouldn’t leave the conversation only half disclosed and discussed if it wasn’t true that, indeed, the mind of the young, impoverished colored man is more powerful than any Smith & Wesson factory.
About Geoffrey Mullings:
Geoffrey Mullings is the Editor-in-chief of The Blinker and is a CUNY student hailing from The Bronx. Versed in social science, communication, and business, Geoff also brings to the team experience in news, politics, education, and audio-visual production and technology. Geoff is currently seeking an MBA from CUNY Baruch and is a Fordham alum.”
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