Hurley over at WMD (my eyes! my eyes!) attempts to make a point about Iraq but falls pretty short – of course. He compares recent outbreaks of crime in Philly with Iraq, sarcastically calling the city a “quagmire” and urging us to “get out of there”. I won’t bother to argue that Philadelphia has struggled with crime for years and that we didn’t cause such instability by overthrowing it’s mayor and creating a power vacuum that led to violence among different Philly neighborhoods, or that Philadelphia is located in Pennsylvania – part of the United States. Don’t need to make those arguments.

What is interesting to note is that Pennsylvania is a concealed carry state. Apparently the criminals are not the least bit deterred at the prospect of law-abiding citizens carrying weapons. Must be the heat.

“Certainly, we’re seeing more guns out there than ever before,” said Dambach, a 30-year veteran.

“If you go down almost any street, the chances are good that you’ll find a person who has a gun on them, or has easy access to one.”

The triggermen are often teens and young adults who are loyal only to themselves, Dambach said. Homicides are often the results of arguments over such trifles as bicycles and girls, not hotly contested drug turfs.

“The things that normally people would have had an argument over now escalate into shootings at the drop of a hat. It’s disconcerting,” Dambach said.

Solutions? Real policing and NOT citizen armament – sound familiar?

“When we start employing that type of New York, [William] Bratton-styled policing, it makes an impact,” Dambach said.

Since its inception, SITE has been well-received in many of the city’s tougher neighborhoods, Dambach said. The visual presence of so many cops reassured many residents, and the improvements in the quality of life were appreciated. That the unit has excelled at getting guns off the street – since Jan. 1, SITE has confiscated 95 firearms citywide – hasn’t hurt, either.

Philly has fuck-all to do with Baghdad, but it is relevant to the gun debate. Instead of apples-oranges, maybe we stick with apples-apples and oranges-oranges. Works out better that way.

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