First – we have an emotional story:
The cake had been served and the children were jumping up and down in a big, inflatable castle when the birthday party turned to bedlam.
Clarence McGraw’s jaw dropped as he saw the visitors coming, guns drawn. The screaming began.
Children ran everywhere in the courtyard of the low-income apartment complex; adults fell to the ground. Bullets flew. The killers wounded three youngsters, but for reasons police can’t explain, it was 19-year-old McGraw they were after.
As McGraw lay in the center of the green square, the gunmen stood over him and fired again. He was shot 15 to 20 times in all.
The September 15 killing was remarkable in that it took place in the most innocent of settings – the fifth birthday of twin boys. But it was unremarkable in that one of the guns brandished was an AK-47-type rifle – a powerful, rapid-fire weapon that has long been used in Third World conflicts but is increasingly being used in American street fights.
Figures from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, obtained by The Associated Press through public records requests, show a marked increase in the number of AK-type weapons traced and entered into the agency’s computer database because they had been seized or connected to a crime.
The number of such tracings rose even while the federal assault weapons ban was in effect and has continued to climb since its expiration.
Now we establish that they’re scary:
The numbers corroborate what police chiefs around the country have been saying: AKs and other so-called assault weapons are terrorizing their communities and endangering their officers.
Now we have a quote from the Brady Campaign:
A 2004 study by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence concluded the U.S. ban on AKs and other guns was successful, saying in the five years before its passage, assault weapons made up 4.82 percent of ATF crime gun traces, compared with 1.61 percent between 1995 and 2003.
Many politicians, police chiefs and gun control advocates point to the expiration of the assault weapons ban as a reason for the spread of the guns. But many others argue the law was so riddled with loopholes that it had little effect.
And now – the token quote from the NRA.
The National Rifle Association says the focus must be getting criminals off the streets, not more legislation.
“The basic reason why gun control laws fail is that they require the cooperation of a very unlikely source, and that is criminals,” said NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam. “Each time you pass a gun control law, the only people that are going to be affected by that law, the only people that are going to follow that law are law-abiding Americans.”
And we close with another attempt at emotional manipulation.
…No arrests have been made. McGraw was buried in a $450 grave against a chain-link fence in a crumbling New Orleans cemetery. The mound of dirt above his casket is littered with rocks and bone fragments and teeth. There was no money for a marker.
Is this what passes for objective journalism in this day and time?