Guns are the problem, not clubs

by Brian Clarey

It’s been a week now since Greensboro police officers brought down convicted felon Quinton Dewayne Campbell, 22, on February One Place.

They had no choice: Campbell had already discharged his weapon in the crowded district, hitting innocent bystanders, an established threat. He’s lucky he wasn’t killed.

And we’re lucky it wasn’t worse, with multiple shooters or better aim or more blood spilled on the street.

As it was, the incident causes us to look at the downtown district we created and ask some relevant questions.

Is there enough police protection downtown? Actually, there is.

A walk down Elm Street on any given weekend night will reveal dozens of cops on the beat — on bicycles, in cars, standing in small clusters on the sidewalks. That doesn’t mean we can’t count on city leaders and some of its citizens to swiftly and predictably overreact, demanding increased police presence and stricter enforcement of laws that are already being enforced ably, while pulling limited law enforcement resources away from other parts of the city that need it.

And the sad truth is that more police downtown would not have prevented this incident from happening.

There are those, too, who will cast negative light on the downtown nightclubs and the clientele they serve, but this is another example of misplaced anger and fear. Nightclubs attract all manner of young (and not-so-young) people — they are a big reason why our downtown thrives while those in other municipalities are desperate for warm bodies on the streets at night. It is also unreasonable to hold a club owner, in this case Rocco Scarfone, proprietor of the N Club, responsible for the actions of his patrons after they leave his establishment. True, Scarfone and others downtown would be wise to use every method possible to guarantee the safety of their customers, but nothing can prevent people from bringing guns — registered or otherwise — downtown at night. Nothing, can prevent people from gathering in a district where we’ve asked then to gather. There is no way to ensure that conflict will not happen on our downtown streets, save from closing them off to the general public after dark.

Like it or not, we have a vibrant and bustling urban center, one we’ve been planning, paying and politicking for over the last decade, one that, by most measurable standards, seems to be working.

But like anywhere else in the US where a lot of people congregate, some of them will want to bring their guns. That’s the way we want it, as evidenced by our country’s fixation with firearms and steadfast resolve against their restriction.

All there is for us to do is be thankful our police were on the scene, that nobody got killed and that in the future, maybe a few dumbasses will think twice before bringing their guns when they go out drinking.

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