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How do we think about the George Floyd murder? Show more Show less
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On May 25 2020, George Floyd was suffocated to death by the police. Floyd had been arrested on suspicion of using a counterfeit $20 bill. In chilling footage that would go viral within 24 hours, officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than 8 minutes ignoring Floyd's repeated pleas for him to move. The asphyxiation led to his cardiac arrest. Floyd's death has so far inspired protests across more than 75 US cities, calling for an end to police brutality and institutional racism. The responses to these riots have included state-wide curfews, the threat of military intervention, attacks on the media and civilian arrests. The situation has given rise to a complex debate with commentators arguing over what precisely it has exposed about contemporary America. So, who are these groups, what do they stand for, and why?

This is a structural issue: American gun laws are to blame Show more Show less

The US gun laws mean every police engagement is potentially life threatening. Corrupted by their power over life and death, police feel above the law, which feeds their behaviour and how others respond to them.
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Tighter gun laws will help reduce violence in low-income communities

There is a correlation between poverty and gun violence. Better regulation of how and to whom firearms are issued would reduce gun based violence.

The Argument

Studies have concluded that in neighbourhoods with higher levels of resident poverty have 27% higher gun homicide rates. Conversely where there was greater social mobility, there was a 25% reduction in gun homicides, and a 19% reduction where there was greater trust in government.[1] It conveys that gun violence does not only relate to financial inequality, but also the fear of survival amongst these communities.[2] It is contended that in addition to community based incentives, such as better education, creating community-based programmes that discourage gun violence to change attitudes, better legislative measures, such as regulation of how the firearms are licensed, are necessary, taking into consideration the psychological health of the persons the firearms are issued to, as well as their propensity for committing criminal acts.[3]

Counter arguments

Tighter gun laws in isolation will not assist in reducing gun violence in low-income communities. There is a significant racial disparity in gun violence. For example, in 2018, 288 of 309 victims of gun crime were African American in Baltimore, yet the focus seems to be on white, middle class, suburban teenagers. Racism against minority communities exist as evident in the Baltimore Police Department after the death of Freddie Gray. Communities are suspicious of the police, and in return as more police officers are killed in states where there are more guns, the reaction from the police is to use their firearms quickly. Long term solutions cannot merely focus on legislative measures, but in putting the spotlight on low-income communities, where there is racial disparity in gun use. Efforts need to be made to reduce the lack of trust that these communities have with the police. Investments need to be made to provide those impressionable members within these communities with alternatives to resorting to street level violence such as illegal drug trade. There needs to be better access to psychological health services for those affected by gun violence, as younger members affected by it in their communities are likely to develop more aggressive behaviours.[4]



Rejecting the premises




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This page was last edited on Sunday, 4 Oct 2020 at 21:12 UTC

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