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What Will It Take to Keep America Safe and Free?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
AP Photo/Andrew Selsky, File

It was midday a week ago Saturday when Daryus Clarke was doing his job as a clerk at the Plug Smoke Shop in Queens, New York.

Three individuals dressed entirely in black walked into the store. One had a gun.


As reported by CBS New York, they took "$100 in cash and $50 worth of merchandise ... and shot Clarke in the chest." Clarke died from this wound.

The next day, just before midnight, as reported by the New York Post, an argument broke out at a delicatessen in the Bronx. It culminated in a 24-year-old man being shot in the stomach and a 42-year-old man being shot in the leg. The 24-year-old died.

Last Monday, 26-year-old Dion Reid was standing in front of a mini market in Brooklyn. At about 2:10 p.m., according to the Daily News, he "was shot in the ankle and hip" and bled to death. That night, as reported by the New York Post, a "37-year-old man was discovered unconscious and bleeding at around 11 p.m. in the first-floor stairwell of a building" in Brooklyn. He "had suffered a gunshot wound to the head and was pronounced dead at the scene."

In the wee hours of Saturday morning, the Daily News reported, "a fight inside a Bronx nightspot escalated into gunfire." A "34-year-old man was shot multiple times and was found wounded inside his car." He was brought to a hospital, but he died.

Quamane Rogers was released on parole last June after he served a prison term because, as the Daily News reported, he "shot a 29-year-old man near a playground." Last Saturday at 2:50 p.m., Rogers himself was shot in the face and died in a neighborhood on Staten Island.


All told, according to the New York Police Department, eight people were murdered in New York City in the seven days from March 20 to March 26. So far this year, 84 people have been murdered in that city.

In 2022, as this column noted last week, there were 438 murders and non-negligent manslaughters in New York City.

But New York is not the only American city where murder has become commonplace.

As of March 28, according to the Metropolitan Police Department, there had been 51 murders this year in Washington, D.C. That is up from 43 murders that were committed in the nation's capital through March 28 of last year.

Through all of 2021, there were 226 homicides in the nation's capital; in 2022, there were 203.

In Detroit, there were 308 homicides in 2021 and 309 in 2022.

In Los Angeles, there were 397 homicides in 2021 and 382 in 2022.

In Chicago, there were 804 homicides in 2021 and 695 in 2022.

These murders in New York, Washington, Detroit, Los Angeles and Chicago generally did not make national news.

But this week, national attention has rightly focused on Nashville, Tennessee, where a former student murdered three children and three staff members at the Covenant School.

President Joe Biden immediately made this horrendous crime into an instrument to promote legislation to restrict gun ownership in this country.

"Is there any action that you can take on guns?" a reporter asked him.


"I have gone the full extent of my executive authority to do, on my own, anything about guns," Biden said.

"And so, I think the Congress should be passing the assault weapons ban," he said.

"So I can't do anything except plead with the Congress to act reasonably," he said.

What would be a truly reasonable response to the massive number of murders that are committed each year in cities across America?

This nation does not have a gun problem. It has a moral problem.

The problem is not that some people own guns. The problem is that some people choose to use them in an immoral way -- by taking another person's God-given right to life.

"Our Constitution," said President John Adams in 1798, "was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

To stop the massive number of murders committed in this country every year, we need to permanently imprison those guilty of committing them, and provide American children with the moral and religious guidance they will need to maintain a society that is both safe and free.


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