Thursday, February 10, 2005

Busy Week for Police

We've had four murders in Rockford this week, two are drug related, one from a botched car break-in, and one from an argument. Three people have been arrested including a 14 year old boy. One person has a warrant out for their arrest. The argument shooting is the one with a warrant, but the warrant is for aggravated use of a firearm, as is the person arrested for the two drug related killings. Why do I mention that? Because we learned from a murder in our neighborhood that it isn't considered a murder if they find a weapon on the person who was killed. I think they are afraid that the person will use the self-defense plea and get off, so they charge them with aggravated use of a firearm, which is often a misdemeanor. That's right, found guilty in connection with killing someone and the penalty is six months in the county jail. The murder in our old neighborhood several years ago was exactly that same situation. In fact, the person who was killed had just finished serving his six month sentence for killing someone else who had had a gun. The person who killed him got the same six month sentence. It is time for the state legislature to come up with a more serious category of crime for these situations. If you fire a gun and someone dies, the penalty should be measured in years, not months. And no, I don't care what the circumstances are. Guns are not toys and they are rarely used in self defense. These aren't the days of the old west and we shouldn't sit around pretending that they are. The man who killed two people was not using his gun in self defense. If he had been, he would have been hit before he got off his second shot. If you can't tell, I have no problem with gun control. In fact, there needs to be a LOT more of it. I've lived in some of the toughest neighborhoods in Illinois (including Chicago's west side), I have friends who I visit in many of those neighborhoods, and I have never nor will ever own a gun. People are shocked when I say that our current neighborhood is the best neighborhood we've ever lived in, because most people think our current neighborhood is much too dangerous a place to raise kids.

A quick extra note for those who think that this is a big city problem, the man arrested for killing two people in the drug related shooting is from a small town in central Illinois, he's not a local.