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Don’t blame guns for Baltimore’s high murder rate | READER COMMENTARY

“Do something” were the words directed at Mayor Brandon Scott by a heckler concerned about Baltimore’s homicides, according to recent column by Dan Rodricks (”‘Do something!’ a heckler told Baltimore’s mayor. With so many guns, so many violent people, do what?” Dec. 16). Of course, the knee-jerk reaction is to always blame guns, as Mr. Rodricks promptly did. People, not guns, kill people and the killing will never stop until we are able to stop the urge to kill.

Consider what has been done to stop the killing. Buying back guns every year has not stopped the killing. We tried harsher prison sentences but that may have exacerbated the problem. Ending the prosecution of minor crimes has yet to lower the homicide rate. Even the unconstitutional methods previously employed by Baltimore City police only lowered the homicide rate to still unacceptable levels of 200 murders per year. It is apparent that the police are helpless to stop the killing regardless of the budget or size of the force because they can’t stop the urge to kill.

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The article states that “a gun made it possible,” but nothing happens without a person having the urge to kill. Guns are merely a scapegoat, a great way to blame an inanimate object for the actions of murderers. When someone picks up a gun, the gun does not control that person’s mind. The gun does not pull the trigger.

Yes, as Mr. Rodricks states, there are 400 million guns in America, but the glaring fact that nobody wants to admit is that murders per capita are not homogenous. Many states with the most guns have the lowest murder rates. For example, in 2021, according to World Population Review, two-thirds of the people in Montana and Wyoming own guns with very low mortality by homicide rates in both states. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website states that in 2019 Maryland was an embarrassing 8th in the nation in mortality by homicide. There is an undeniable geography to murder which is predicated on the urge to kill.

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Unless or until we stop the urge to kill, the killing won’t stop.

Dudley Thompson, Girdletree

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