Friday, August 21, 2009

Gun Buyback Programs in the US

I am writing with regards to your gun buyback program. First, I wonder, who is paying for this? Do you really think this will help? Don’t you think we need to ease the violence by bringing jobs back into the inner city?

If you think about it, do you really think the “criminals” are going to drop off their guns for money? If they do, don’t you think they are just going to use that free money to purchase a new gun? And isn’t it true that most of the guns that have been turned in the past have been outdated and brought in by people who just don’t feel like they need a gun the house anymore? And isn’t the murder rate in Buffalo higher as of today than all of 2008? So how is your gun buyback program effective?

If I were in power, here’s what my solution would be. I would first get involved with the city business and economic development leaders and create a plan to re-develop all of Buffalo’s commercial and residential neighborhoods. During this process, promote Buffalo to national and international businesses with special deals to lure them in. Not just office jobs, but national retailers to fill the old commercial districts. Can you imagine the Broadway Fillmore area or Jefferson Avenue having a Barnes & Noble? Starbucks? Gap? etc.? Empty side streets filled in with townhouses instead of the plastic suburban types that are currently going up everywhere. When you offer jobs, better housing and neighborhoods that offer more than just a corner store or a church, then that makes an area feel vibrant and safe.

If you create a plan, one that brings in jobs and cleaner, more efficient neighborhoods instead of tearing everything down and letting the leftovers rot away, then you see crime go down. When there is progress and hope, people will take notice. Right now, the city is losing its population, the East Side is a war zone and several other areas in the city are just as bad or starting to be. You can’t expect a wimpy campaign like a gun buyback to help stop the violence. You have to give a reason not to commit the crimes that lead to murder. That’s cleaning up the neighborhoods (not by leveling it all off) by developing them, bringing jobs and having more officers on foot to stop the petty crimes before they lead to the murders.

It’s time to really put your foot down, Mr. Brown, and start acting like a leader instead of following the status quo that is just making living in Buffalo much worse. This is why I moved away.

Giovanni Centurione

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