Column: The biggest problem: guns, gangs or terrorism?

Column: The biggest problem: guns, gangs or terrorism?
Adam Haber, a member of the Roslyn School Board

When compared to the rest of the United States, by most measures, Nassau County is a bucolic community.

Nassau’s roughly two-dozen police departments do an excellent job of keeping residents safe, and the crime and murder rate is exceedingly low.

However, if you watch News 12, follow social media, or read recent local Republican campaign advertising, you’re likely to think otherwise.
The most recent terrorist attack in NYC, which involved a truck, was responsible for killing eight innocent civilians and injuring more than a dozen people.

This was the largest Islamic terrorist attack on American soil since the Boston Marathon bombing in April 2015. You’d have to go back to the terrible day of September 11, 2001 to find another Islamic terrorist attack of any magnitude in America.
According to the website, a Sept. 12, 2016 article headline reads “Wars in Iraq, Afghanistan cost almost $5 trillion so far.”

In other words, we’re spending a fortune on the enemy abroad, yet neglecting to address the enemy among us.

Example: look at homegrown, white terrorists like Newtown killer of children Adam Lanza, Las Vegas mass murderer Stephen Paddock, who killed 59 and injured 500-plus innocent concertgoers, or last week’s Texas church murderer, Devin Patrick Kelley.

When white, homegrown terrorists indiscriminately kill, they are labeled “mentally ill” and little new resources are spent to prevent future homegrown terrorism.
Gang murders are another example of incidents that strike terror in the hearts of residents close to home.

The July 2017 MS-13 Central Islip murders on Long Island ended the lives of four youths about to enter their prime.

Over the last 18 months alone, 17 murders in Suffolk County have been attributed to MS-13 gang violence.

Last January, the New York Times reported that in 2016 there were 79 gang related killings in New York City.

These numbers are unacceptable. Funding to prevent gang violence, though hard to quantify, easily reaches several hundred million dollars annually, when you include local police force training and gang prevention social service agencies.
Gun violence is in a league of its own, far surpassing casualties from Islamic terrorism and gang violence.

According to the website, there is nearly one mass shooting every day in America. There were over 35,000 gun related deaths in 2016, and more than 27,000 injuries.

To put it in perspective, 2016 totals for American gun violence resulting in death and injury are more than the seating capacity of Citi Field and Madison Square Garden combined. These are extraordinary numbers.
The typical conservative response after a mass shooting is usually something like this: “Our hearts go out to the families and friends of those killed and injured in this senseless shooting, and now is not the time to politicize the issue of gun control.”

All gun violence is senseless. What’s incredible is the lack of political outrage.

There should be a groundswell of legislation on the state and federal levels calling for a banning of assault weapons and bump fire stock devices that turn semi-automatic weapons into rapid fire machine guns.

The reason for this deafening silence is simple, money.
In 2016 alone, the NRA spent over $3.6 million deploying lobbyists and a whopping $52.58 million in political races to terminate any anti-gun candidates.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation lists total 2017 economic impact of companies that manufacture and distribute guns and ammunition at $51.25 billion. When political candidates advocate for stricter gun laws, the NRA and associated trade industry organizations target them, and do everything they can to attack their candidacy. put it best:
The National Rifle Association goes to great lengths (and spends a huge sum of money) to defend the right to bear arms. It is opposed to virtually every form of gun regulation, including restrictions on owning assault weapons, retention of databases of gun purchases, background checks on purchasers at gun shows and changes in the registration of firearms.

Colossal sums are being spent to defeat Islamic terrorism, and substantial dollars are being consumed to mitigate gang violence.

In the meantime, homegrown terrorism remains unchecked, while the gun industry keeps powerful firearms omnipresent in America.

The only problem is, it’s literally killing us.

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