As the gun debate rages on after the Newtown, Conn., school shooting, many measures -- some controversial -- are being implemented in states across the US.
One that is being talked about is from Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, N.J. Booker is no stranger to controversial programs and is fresh off of living on food stamps for a week and documenting it on Twitter. The info-for-money-on-your-neighbor who may be packing illegally has been around since 2012 but is now making traction since the recent school shooting at Sandy Hook.
Seen in the above YouTube video, Booker is offering $1,000 to anyone in Newark who tips off authorities that their neighbors may be in possession of illegal weapons. He assures you that there is no need to be scared about squealing on your armed neighbor and ensures you can call anonymously. After police have arrested the illegal gun owner, you can then simply walk into any bank or send a friend to collect the cash.
I don’t know about the mayor, but I foresee several problems with that set up. If your neighbor is illegally armed and dangerous, why would you want to rat them out? Is the mayor going to put you in the witness protection program, too?
Secondly, if callers can be anonymous, how are they simply going to waltz into a bank to collect the reward money? Does "anonymous" mean something different to Booker than the rest of us? Same thing applies for sending a “friend.”
Thirdly, though Newark crime has decreased, it can still be a dangerous place, and pitting neighbor against neighbor for quick cash can be problematic on many levels.
The Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting has ignited a firestorm of reaction. Gun enthusiasts and those advocating tougher gun legislation are butting heads like mad bulls seeing red, while law enforcement, governors and mayors across states are implementing their own brand of “gun control.”
Some, such as California, have gun buy-back programs. President Barack Obama has appointed Vice President Joe Biden to explore ways to find change in our culture of mass shootings, while many advocates, such as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, are calling for a ban on assault rifles and tougher gun laws.
Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, are on a crusade for more gun control. (Read it here). Giffords knows firsthand what it feels like to be brutally attacked by a crazed gunman wielding a deadly weapon and intent on killing as many as people as possible. The former congresswoman was shot along with several others in Tucson, Ariz., on Jan. 8, 2011. Luckily, she survived, but suffered permanent neurological damage. Six others were not so luck, dying in a hail of bullets that awful day. One of them was a child, 9-year old Christina-Taylor Greene.
Several other mass shootings followed and preceded Giffords and Sandy Hook, while many more victims fall prey to gun violence in the inner cities of Chicago, Detroit and beyond. Understandably America has a problem, but offering neighbors money to literally “sell out” their neighbors is not only dangerous but divisive.
Mayor Booker, I think you may want to explore another way to rid your city of guns.
Weigh in: what do you think of Booker’s offer?
For some of my other articles on Sandy Hook and the raging gun debate, click links below: