Here’s the video. Big thank you to Amanda Warr at BestofTexas who did all the heavy lifting on this.
Owing to the limits of video — and my own ham-fisted interview style on video — here’s some extended remarks we both agreed on for before you watch the video that gives a little more context.
The question that started this all was what makes Dallas safer when it comes to guns. Is it people disarming themselves? Is it people arming themselves?
We both had our preconceived notions about the answer when we started. And our preconceived notions about the people who would show up – whatever their motivations.
Instead we met the councilman behind the buyback who told us “You have to own guns.” We met people like Don Pogue and Curtis Jackson, who were just getting rid of old junk they had while keeping their good firearms at home. We met gun lovers like Bryan Wendt, looking to make buyback attendees a better offer, but who on seeing the condition of most of what was turned in, said, “Most of this stuff should be destroyed. You can’t have people relying on these old pieces.” (He encouraged them to buy better arms.) And we had a gun poseur who couldn’t tell a piece of history from a piece of shit.
Here’s the video and our extended concluding remarks, which weren’t clear as we’d like in the first version of this. (We’ll have a higher res version up later.)
The fact is, one more gun turned in isn’t going to make the city of Dallas better. Sure, it could be stolen and used in a crime. Just as likely it could be used in defense. And one more gun kept isn’t going to make Dallas any better, either. It may be used to protect someone. It may also be used by a kid because some dolt didn’t know how to properly store it.
Then we met Sonya Whitaker. She told us how she was turning in an old rusty revolver her granddad gave her that was useless. Her South Oak Cliff house had been burglarized twice, and she didn’t want some criminal getting it.
She also told us the police weren’t doing enough in South Oak Cliff to combat crime, and maybe turning in this old useless lump of iron might show good faith.
Sonya mused that if perhaps she showed that good faith, then perhaps her city would show faith in her community and patrol a little more often.
Sonya is a second generation Oak Cliffer. She went to college and works at a Dallas hospital. She made sure her son is going to college. She has no intention of moving out of Oak Cliff no matter how well she does. She’s taking a stand. She’s putting pressure on the police to do something. She’s involved in her community. Would she be safer if she owned a better gun and knew how to use it? Maybe. But since she couldn’t and probably wouldn’t bring it to where she works and she’s been burglarized twice — maybe not.
Sonya’s staying and fighting to make her little piece better. She’s staying where middle class people are needed most, trying to turn her neighborhood around. And she’s starting at home, with her son.
You know who is going to make Dallas better and safer? Not politicians, not police, not gun owners, and not anti-gun wieners.
It’s people like Sonya.
(Personal note: An unfired, still-in-the-box Colt 1911 .45 pistol was turned in before I could bid on it. It is slated to be euthanized. I’m holding a memorial at 4 p.m. today. Send flowers.)