Posted at: 06/16/2012 11:29 PM
| Updated at: 06/16/2012 11:30 PM
By: Dan Levy
TROY - There was a gun buyback program in Troy on Saturday and is usually the case, those who ran it, say it was a huge success.
Those programs are getting to be common partly out of necessity, but mostly because people simply feel that something has to be done.
Sixteen more guns were taken off the streets of Troy Saturday. Since gun buyback programs began, more than 100 weapons have been turned in in the Collar City. That's enough for both cops and clergy to claim significant progress in a never-ending gun battle.
When Troy streets are transformed into panoramas of crime scene tape, evidence markers, and shooting victims, rounding up the bad guys is part of the societal recourse. To eradicate street crime, Reverent Willie Bacote says we need to eradicate guns.
"It may be six bullets or maybe 15 in a magazine but we're hoping that taking that one gun off the street, out of the hands of someone who can get it and do some damage is truly a blessing," Bacote said.
Reverent Bacote collected a table full of blessings Saturday at his Missing Ling Street Ministry Church, where people turned in 22.s, 32's, pistols, and long-barrel rifles.
"No amount of money, no amount of police presence in the community is going to do any good because we have to begin to change our selves," Bacote asserted. "We need to change our mind set, and we need to accept responsibilities for what's happening."
Conventional wisdom suggests that people who turn in guns typically are not the people who are committing crimes. That begs the question: Does a gun buyback program really do anything to solve the crime problem?
"I believe it does," said Troy Police Sergeant David Joslin. "It eliminates the number of these types of weapons, many of the guns that are used on the street, in this area, have been stolen."
Joslin says fewer guns in the home also lessens the possibility that a child could be involved in an accidental shooting.
"Any of these weapons can do major harm," he says.
"Statistically in the city of Troy, we have seen nothing but black on black crime," Reverent Bacote points out. "We're killing one another."
Solving that dilemma, Bacote says, needs to begin at home, with good parenting, and also needs to include involvement of the church.
"We've seemingly gotten away from the basics," Bacote continued. "We are a people who are loving people and now we've become a people who have become getting to the point where we are eradicating ourselves."
Even though most of the weapons turned in Saturday were described as "family heirlooms" -- guns that are legal and owned by law-abiding citizens with no intention of committing a crime, one of the weapons, according to Bacote, was a "community gun" -- one that was available and accessible to several different people, possibly for the purpose of committing a crime.
Bacote says it's a real blessing that that gun was turned in.