(I just sent this to my councilman, Gino Melone. For more background on the story about the Trenton Police Department's new gun request, please click here)
History is full of examples of victorious outgunned underdogs, and the lesson here is that it's not about the weapons or the might, but rather, the brains of the leadership and the dedication of the group.
If we apply that Trenton — and really, shouldn't we look at history to help guide us in the present? — it is safe to say that fancy, new guns won't make us safer. New guns are not the deciding factor in whether or not the good guys win the war against the criminals.
I like gadgets and new things, and trust that the new, more expensive Springfield handles well, and might even be cooler than the same-old/same-old Glock. But it's just a gun — a tool — which is no better than the person using it, and, to the person on the receiving end, there is no difference between a Glock and a Springfield. Heck, look what Vice President Dick Cheney did with bird shot!
You and I both are looking at a significant tax increase this year, and since you're only a few blocks away from me, you see a lot of the same grit and grime, and possibly even the same miscreants and criminals as I do. We pay a lot for what we get here in Trenton — we love it, but this is no paradise — and we'll be paying more shortly. We face a $7 million budget shortfall in FY 2009. The new Springfields will cost us $200,000 for the weapons alone — I'm assuming the holsters/belts will be extra — an expense we just cannot afford right now. Glock has offered new, free weapons to our police department, and considering shot is shot, whether it comes from a Glock or a Springfield, how can we possibly justify the new guns? It's an unnecessary expense at this time for our city. Maybe we can revisit it if and when our fiscal picture improves.
I hope you will vote against this expenditure.
Trenton, NJ 08629