The first, of course, is that gun buybacks don’t work. (Note to the band, which donated the tickets.) In one D.C. case, “[o]f the 3,000 guns collected, none was traced to crime or criminals and only 1.5 percent had been stolen.”
Typically, people who ditch their guns aren’t crime risks anyway; if you use a .45 to make a living, you’re not giving it up to hear “Paradise City” or “November Rain” or even my favorite, “Estranged.” Otherwise, people just turn in old, junky guns that hardly work anyway — for the cash or in this case tickets. There is no statistical evidence that any gun buyback has ever reduced crime.
The second and more amusing reason stems from political correctness: Oakland’s criminals are disproportionately teen and young adult blacks, while Guns N’ Roses fans (count me one of the biggest) are mainly young adult to middle-age whites.
Chip Johnson writes:
“Offering Guns N’ Roses tickets in the northwest Oakland neighborhood known as ‘Ghostown’ and Sobrante Park on the east side of town is like giving cats free tickets to the dog show.
“What’s next, a free pass to Michael Richards stand-up act? There is surely a disconnect between the city’s promotional plan and the marketplace.”
Even the whites Johnson talked to don’t really care, as the band’s last studio album came out 15 years ago. They’ve been my favorite band for years, thanks to the killer guitar work, but to think young gang members want to see the guy who used the N-word in “One In a Million” (over a killer guitar riff from a half-black dude, oddly enough) takes some real stupidity. Even if there were a prayer of it working otherwise.
Robert VerBruggen blogs at http://robertsrationale.blogspot.com.