Cleveland Mayor: Armed robber is a 'victim'

By Chad D. Baus

On March 14, 2007, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson announced that he was going to spend precious taxpayer money to sue the State of Ohio over its decision to make all gun laws in the state uniform.

Jackson also informed citizens that he would continue to enforce the local gun control laws - laws which he claimed were necessary to protect the children of his city.

On April 22 the state witnessed yet another high-profile display of the failure of Cleveland's gun control laws, when teenaged repeat-offender Arthur Buford - one of the 'children' Mayor Jackson claims his gun control laws are protecting - illegally obtained a loaded handgun and tried to rob homeowner and CHL-holder Damon Wells. Wells acted in self-defense, and the teenaged criminal is dead.

Neighborhood thugs reponded by vandalizing Wells' home and setting up a makeshift shrine for Buford - a "good boy", by their twisted sense of things.

It took a week for Mayor Jackson to make a public statement about the incident, and it appears he agrees with the vandals who have trashed Damon Wells' home and force him to move. You see, Frank Jackson believes the armed robber is a "victim".

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Jackson's statements provide an incredible opportunity for understanding why violence is out of control in his city.

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

    Mayor Frank Jackson said Monday that there are two victims in the recent shooting of a 15-year-old in Cleveland: the teenager, Arthur "Ace Boogie" Buford, and Damon Wells, the man who shot him in self-defense.

    Wells, 25, shot and killed Buford as the teen tried to rob him at gunpoint near Wells' home. Wells, who had a permit to carry a concealed weapon, was not charged.

    After the shooting, vandals threw rocks through the windows of Wells' home, and he moved out.

    ...Jackson said that as a lifelong Cleveland resident from one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city, he has seen teens shot and residents often driven out of their homes. The tragedy with Wells and Buford reflects those that go on in the city every day.

    "I'm not foreign to this," Jackson said. "I know how to deal with it. And I'm dealing with it. Whether I'm dealing with it the way people would like, that's another question."

Indeed, there should be questions about how he is dealing with things. Frank Jackson's Cleveland is now considered to be one of the poorest and most dangerous cities in America. Cleveland’s homicide rate increased after drastic cuts in the police department’s manpower and programs were made.

Meanwhile, the city's mayor thinks a teenaged repeat-offender is a "victim", and apparently believes paying attorneys to file junk lawsuits defending useless local gun control laws is more important than putting police officers on the street.

At a press conference, Council President Martin J. Sweeney announced "we have one message to deliver today. This continued youth violence and lawlessness in the city of Cleveland will not be tolerated."

At least someone is saying it. Mayor Jackson, though invited by Council, did not even bother to attend the press conference. Perhaps he had another meeting with his high-priced lawyers.

Related Stories:
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NBC Cleveland: City Police do not support Mayor's defiance of state law

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