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Local Editorials

Our view: Options for the law-abiding limited in wake of gun crimes

It was another highly disturbing several hours in Kendall County last week.

Moments after the Oswego Village Board opened its 7 p.m. meeting June 19 before a large audience at village hall, just across the Fox River from the village hall two male teens were allegedly being robbed at gunpoint in Hudson Crossing Park. Then, less than eight hours later, six miles west of the village on Route 34 in Yorkville, someone fired a gun at and struck an occupied vehicle.

When we published a link to the article on the Oswego robbery on our Facebook page, it garnered a swift reaction from readers. “That’s a little close to home!” one reader commented. It was indeed. But the days when incidents involving gunshots and robberies at gunpoint were exceedingly rare events here in Kendall County are, sadly, over.

We are a nation awash in firearms. In fact, the Washington Post reported this past week that there are more than 393 million civilian-owned firearms in U.S. “or enough for every man, woman and child to own one and still have 67 million guns left over.”

It’s apparent that while the vast majority of firearm owners are law-abiding citizens, a certain percentage of them are not and either use their guns for ill purposes themselves or allow them to fall into the hands of folks like the ones who robbed the two teens in Oswego or fired shots at that vehicle in Yorkville. Given the proliferation of firearms, we see no reason why crimes like last week’s will become less common here or anywhere else.

So what’s a law-abiding citizen supposed to do to stay safe? Get a concealed carry permit and “pack heat” every time you leave your house? Wait for the politicians to – borrowing a word from our president – "harden” our schools, stores, restaurants, work places, sports venues, etc.? We suspect the packing-heat option would be rather cumbersome for a good portion of the population – especially for seniors and parents with young children in tow. As for hardening our public places, that seems as unrealistic and unaffordable as it is unlikely.

Whatever the solution is, we’re certain the number of criminal incidents involving firearms here in Kendall County will continue to rise. Perhaps the best and only realistic approach is to take our chances and heed the words of Sgt. Phil Esterhaus (as portrayed by actor Michael Conrad) on the classic TV cop show “Hill Street Blues”: “Let’s be careful out there.”

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