Friday, June 16, 2006

Defining "Success"

So, the Boston Police Department and the Mayor's Office have already declared their latest gun buyback program a success, only four days into its four-week run.

From the latest Media Advisory released 6/15/06:

WHAT: ClearChannel Outdoor has teamed up with Mayor Menino, the Boston Police Department and members of the community to heighten awareness for the 2006 Boston Gun Buyback, "“Aim For Peace"”. This event will unveil the first of thirty billboards to be located around the city. Participants will also share information related to the program'’s increasing success. Many of the 127 guns collected will be on display.

From this posting dated 6/15/06:

The new Boston Gun Buyback Program is off to a strong start. As of this morning (June 14,2006), we have collected 100 firearms turned into police and community drop-off locations. As a result of the program'’s success, funds for gift cards are running low. This is a "“call to action"” for local corporations to join our efforts to decrease youth violence and take guns off the streets of Boston.

And, from this item on

[Boston Police Deputy Superintendent Darrin] Greeley says, because of the program's success, they may run out of gift cards by the end of Wednesday.

Now, from the get-go, the stated purpose of the gun buyback was to "get the guns off the streets" in order to cut down on the city'’s gun violence.

However, since the gun buyback program began, a mere four days ago, the city has seen multiple gun possession arrests and gun-related homicides, including this fatal shooting earlier today in Hyde Park.

About 12:25am this morning, officers from District 18 responded to a call for shots fired at 1 Rosa Street. Upon arrival officers located a victim inside of a motor vehicle suffering from multiple gun shot wounds. The victim was transported to an area hospital, where he later succumbed to his injuries.

It seems they're jumping the gun (no pun intended) here in declaring this buyback program a "success".

Unless, of course, the actual goal of the program has nothing to do with reducing the violent crime rate, and everything to do with creating a photo op for the politicians involved who now get to pose in front of conference room tables covered with "violent guns", thereby creating the illusion that they've taken positive steps toward reducing gun violence in the city.

Now, if the presentation of this feel-good facade was the intended goal of the gun buyback, then by all means, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED, Mr. Mayor!

I gotta ask, though, if the numbers come in at the end of the year, and show a marked increase in the amount of gun violence in the city, compared to 2005 where the city hit a 10-year-highin its homicide rate, will these glowing declarations of "success" be retracted and will the gun buyback program be called to the carpet as the cheap publicity stunt many of us had known it to be all along?

Yeah, I don't think so either.