The issue of guns and violence in our neighborhoods hits us whenever we pick up a newspaper or turn on our TV. We read about it, we talk about it and the question of what to do about it was the subject of the League of Women Voters of Southwest Nassau meeting at the Elmont Memorial Library on July 29, 2014
There were three speakers, each with his area of expertise: Darrin Green, Corrections Officer, Nassau County Sheriff’s Department; Dennis Jones, Retired First Grade Detective, NYPD and Corey Pegues founding member of NOBLE, Long Island Chapter and Retired Deputy Inspector, NYPD
The proliferation of guns in our communities is made easier by bringing them into New York from other states with laxer laws on gun control then New York has; this influx of guns is coming from states like Virginia, Pennsylvania, Florida, Georgia, and North and South Carolina well as organizations that sell to people who have no clearance to own a gun. These guns wind up right here in our surrounding communities, including the communities that each of us live in.
The speakers made the point over and over again, that we, the people, are the most important tool to reduce the violence we are so concerned about. It goes to the current slogan of “if you see something, say something”. That is the national slogan to thwart terrorism and violence against our nation. But it should also be the slogan for each community to make our own communities safer from those who bring violence every day to our own streets, outside and inside, our own homes.
They emphasized that the voices that speak the loudest are the ones that will be heard and the voices have to represent the diversity of the community and the people living in it. They repeated several times during their presentations how important it is to speak up, and how important it is that the police have to be prodded to fully react to complaints. They said to get to know the police at the police station and the precinct captains and commanders. Invite them to meetings to hear your concerns of the crimes taking place in your community. Make it personal, because it is, and have them know that you as a community are watching them, as they are supposed to be watching out for you.
Daily violence should not have to be a way of life. Guns in the hands of the wrong people create an environment of unnecessary fear and endangerment for us all. We deserve better than that. We should feel safe walking in the streets where we live, especially our children, who deserve a chance to grow up free of stray bullets in the streets they play in.