Law Enforcement News

Vol. XXV, Nos. 511, 512 A publication of John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY May 15/31, 1999

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In this issue:

Around The Nation: A coast-to-coast roundup of police news.
People & Places: Taking it personal in Littleton; TV crimefighter is cut down; belated honors; DEA museum is something to snort about; guns from the sky.
Painful admission: Hartford chief admits to racism in the department.
Casting a wider net: Running from the law gets harder in KC.
Anteing up: Union banks on better educated cops.
Change of tune: With prisons crammed, drug treatment gets a second look as alternate sanction.
Counterfeiters’ best friend: The advantage of sophisticated computers, printers & copiers.
“I cannot tell a lie”: Even if you could, would a cop be able to tell the difference?
Change of tune, Part II: Canadian chiefs say it’s time for marijuana decrim.
LEN interview: Prof. George Kelling, co-author of “Fixing Broken Windows.”
Advice & consent: New Jersey avoids a civil rights suit over racial profiling.
A group of their own: NJ’s minority troopers say their union doesn’t represent them.
Forum: After Littleton, we’re all on the hook; confronting school violence by doing what works.
Upcoming Events: Opportunities for professional development.

Note to Readers:

The opinions expressed on the Forum page are those of the contributing writer or cartoonist, or of the original source newspaper, and do not represent an official position of Law Enforcement News.

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Life after Littleton: We are all on the hook

     By John A. Calhoun
     The tragedy in Littleton, Colo., struck all of us hard. With the Conyers, Ga., shooting, the nightmare continued. As we speak with family, colleagues and friends amid grief, outrage and “what to do,” each of us wrestles with the devastating events, sometimes arguing with, and sometimes agreeing. If we’re honest, discomfort is a given. If we are passionately for gun control, we cannot deny the underlying causes of violence. If we come down on the side of blaming the culture, how do we explain away more than 14,000 deaths — homicides, suicides and accidents — by firearms? Comfort must not be our goal it will not solve the problem.
     Simply put, we must do three things:
     -Get guns out of the hands of kids.
     -Get adults into the lives of kids.
     -Get kids into the life of the community.
     Getting guns out of the hands of kids: Why do we have major fights over trigger locks when we mandate safety caps for prescriptions and seat-belt use in cars? Why does a one-gun-a-month purchase restriction upset anyone except gun traffickers? Why are so many kinds of gun sales exempt from so many of the rules? Why don’t we hold criminally responsible adults who make it possible for children to get their hands on weapons? Why can’t we wait three days to purchase a gun, when that might curb an impulse and save a life? We’ve done a stunning job in reducing crime to its lowest level in 30 years. Our crime rates are now comparable to or better than those of such major foreign cities as Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam and Sydney, with one exception — homicide by firearms.