Saturday, November 19, 2005

A new experience for Gavin Newsom: failure

On KQEDFM's Forum last week, Mayor Newsom again inexplicably denigrated Proposition H---the handgun ban---that city voters passed 57% to 42% on Nov. 8. He and host Michael Krasny were discussing the rash of gun violence in some of the city's neighborhoods when Krasny asked him about Prop. H. Newsom said it "was not going to help" and its chances of success were "very slim."

One can speculate that, since the handgun ban was Supervisor Daly's brainchild, the mayor will naturally tend to downplay the notion that the gun ban has much chance of success, much like Daly denigrates the mayor's recent successes in dealing with homelessness. Another possible explanation: Mayor Newsom is thinking of his prospects---specifically, running for higher office in California. The gay marriage thing definitely won't help him in the state's hinterland, where voters are a lot more conservative than they are here in Progressive Land. Gun control too is a lot less popular in rural areas than in cities.

Both of these reasons may be involved. Or he may simply be uninformed---or misinformed by whoever he listens to on issues---about the efficacy and legality of gun control in California. There are websites that the mayor can consult to fill in any knowledge gap.

In today's SF Chronicle, there's a story with some despairing comments from a frustrated Mayor Newsom about the recent shootings in the city:

"We are in constant communication, the police chief and I, trying every strategy we know how," the mayor said. "Gang-related homicides are down, but overall homicides are up...I've tried to deal with this in every rational way I can...I haven't been able to succeed to the extent that I'd like to succeed." ("Leaders Scramble for Ways to Stop Surge in Killings," Jaxon Van Derbeken, Nov. 18, 2005)

Young Gavin Newsom isn't used to failure; he's succeeded at everything he's done in life so far. But he's met his match on the issue of young black and hispanic men and gun violence, because ultimately it's an irrational national/international phenomenon with deep roots in popular culture, no doubt aggravated by the usual suspects---poverty, unemployment, broken homes, etc. Specifically, the mayor needs to understand the toxic effect that rap/hip-hop culture has on many young men. As long as the lyrics to the crappy music they listen to and the appalling videos they watch deem it acceptable---even cool---to brandish guns and shoot each other for relatively trivial reasons, the gun violence will continue. Obviously, this is out of the control of a mayor---or even a president, for that matter. But if we are going to turn the culture around, we have to begin by calling things by their proper names.

But here in Progressive Land, where mindless multicultural tolerance reigns, it's definitely not cool for city leaders---especially white leaders---to even appear to criticize the black community, even if a large portion of that community agrees about the hip-hop/rap garbage and its corrosive effects on its young men.

But the least the mayor can do is quit the sniping about Prop. H. Even if it makes it only marginally more difficult for the punks to get the guns they shoot each other with, it will be a Good Thing.

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