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Baltimore residents line up to get laptops in exchange for guns

"Think smart, not stupid. Think education, not guns."

guns computers 2

After handing over guns to police, people lined up for these reconditioned Dell laptops.

Photo by: Fern Shen

Curtis Mason dropped off three small-caliber handguns at yesterday’s Computers for Guns event and came away with a fresh Dell laptop and a sense of relief.

Mason’s 17-year-old nephew who lives in Baltimore had started to acquire handguns, so when the 55-year-old Towson resident heard on TV about the event, he realized he had a chance to help the boy he’s been trying to mentor.

“I was very concerned about these guns. What would happen from them? Would they fall into the wrong hands?” Mason asked.

“I told him ‘You don’t have to go down there. I’ll handle the logistics,’” he recalled. “I said ‘Think smart, not stupid. Think education, not guns.’ I was shocked he didn’t resist.”

Mason said while the boy’s father has been “over in Afghanistan,” he’d been trying to help the youngster with his high school studies and steer him away from trouble.

The shotguns and handguns collected in the first hour. (Photo by Fern Shen)

The shotguns and handguns collected in the first hour. (Photo by Fern Shen)

“He’s turning 18 on Thursday,” Mason said, heading off to collect the laptop he planned to give to his nephew. “He’s getting an early birthday present.”

It was just one of many stories behind the guns – more than 50 of them, organizers say – turned in at the event sponsored by the local non-profit Digit All Systems and the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice.

After several weeks in which Baltimore has seen an alarming upswing in street violence – 22 homicides in the last three weeks, the latest in Greektown last night –  “Stop Shooting, Start Coding” provided a welcome change in the narrative.

“This is a celebration of education over violence,” said Digit All’s founder Lance Lucas, standing in the lobby at the Downtown Cultural Arts Center on Howard Street in a sharp suit, ushering participants into a big room filled with music, ample air conditioning and a party atmosphere.

“Get it off the Street”

First, though, participants had to unload their guns.

Wrapped in t-shirts, towels, newspaper and plastic bags, guns of all kinds were removed from pockets, purses and shopping bags. There were lots of small-caliber “Saturday Night Special”-type handguns, a .357 Magnum in a cardboard box, and several long guns, including a double-barreled shotgun, the kind that can be sawed off and made concealable.

Marcel Simpson, 56, didn’t want to get into specifics about what kind of gun he brought in or why he had it.

“I came in to do the right thing – to get it off the street,” he said, adding only that he got the gun from someone else “and might have saved his life or saved someone else’s life” by turning it in to police, who will melt it down.

Baltimore City Police supervised the guns-for-laptops swap. (Photo by Fern Shen)

Baltimore City Police supervised the guns-for-laptops swap. (Photo by Fern Shen)

Simpson, an MTA employee, said he has no computer at home and was looking forward to using his laptop “to read news, look at websites and do positive things on the Internet.”

Frank Lapira, 39, of Pikesville, brought in a .22 caliber revolver he said he bought for $35 two years ago. “I’ve had it locked in my toolbox but still I didn’t feel comfortable,” Lapira said. “I have a three-year-old and a nine-year-old.”

The .38 Under a Librarian’s Bed

One of the participants with the most specific plans for their laptop was Rene Wright, who brought in “an antique pistol I inherited from my grandfather.”

“I’m starting a business in Highlandtown making wedding cakes and I needed a computer,” said Wright. “I thought this was such an exciting opportunity.”

Before getting their laptops, the crowd listened to music and applauded the seven-year-old inventor of a phone app.. (Photo by Fern Shen)

Before getting their laptops, the crowd listened to music and applauded the seven-year-old inventor of a phone app. (Photo by Fern Shen)

Gloria Wilson, a 62-year-old who retired from work as an assistant at a Johns Hopkins University library, said she was happy to trade away the .38 she has kept for a longtime “wrapped up underneath my bed.” A user of the public library’s computers, Wilson said she is looking forward to keeping up with the news and emails on her new laptop.

Another older participant, who declined to give her name, told The Brew in what sounded like a German accent that she was 79 and acting as “a gofer” for her husband, a gun collector, who was waiting in the car.

“I just want to get rid of this hot thing in my pocketbook,” she said. “I have no idea about [guns] I wouldn’t touch one with a ten-foot pole.”

Watching the firearms pile up on the floor in a stairwell felt very satisfying to Baltimore Police Captain Bernard G. Douglas.

“Over 28 years as a police officer, I have seen all sorts of violence from all sorts of weapons,” Douglas said. “Any time you can remove weapons – I mean, take 50 guns off the street – that’s a big win for the community.”

Education and Employment

After each person dropped off their gun (or guns), they got a playing card entitling them to a computer. (The cards were handed out by a cheerful young woman who later broke down in tears, recounting how she lost her son’s father to gun violence.)

“I’m going to make you listen to 60 minutes of music before you get your laptop,” Lucas said to one participant, as a band played and volunteers helped make sure guests got their share of potato salad, fried chicken and soft drinks.

Lance Lucas said his  swap event points toward education as a long-term crime deterrent. (Photo by Fern Shen)

Lance Lucas said his swap event points toward education as a long-term crime deterrent. (Photo by Fern Shen)

“I wanted music to soothe them. To make it entertaining,” Lucas said. “Most gun buybacks are a church or someplace solemn.”

Lucas, who grew up in Baltimore, said he is hoping events like his can point the way toward “logical long-term solutions, not personality-based reactive solutions” to the city’s persistent bloodshed.

“Look at the unemployment in neighborhoods like Rosemont – 15%, 20%,” he said. “If there was a Ford plant over there, there would be no crime like we’ve been having.”

“We’ve got to look at the link between lack of education and poverty,” he said. “And we’ve got to change peoples’ expectations about our community.”

At yesterday's "Stop Shooting, Start Coding" event in Baltimore. (Photo by Fern Shen)

At yesterday’s “Stop Shooting, Start Coding” event in Baltimore. (Photo by Fern Shen)

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  • Robyn Su Miller

    Awesome story! Yesterday in Baltimore the Creative Alliance had a bike event and many youths also got a bike to decorate. Go Baltimore in making positive change!

  • Lance Lucas

    Imagination and creativity, can beat status quo every time !!

    • Bluesyinohio

      If you and your confederates want to do this elsewhere come to Toledo Ohio. I don’t think you would find anyone complaining about it.
      Our youth and elders need the connections not the guns.
      <3 You!

  • Lance Lucas

    Best story I’ve seen its about us guys..wonderful every day folks!

  • Tashia Bagwell

    Great story! Lance you are heaven sent! Our communities need hope not despair. They need a renewed sense that others care about them and their childrens future! KUDOS Lance!

  • http://collaboratormagazine.wordpress.com/ Jeffrey Clark

    Great story! Thanks for sharing! It’s an excellent example of cross-sector collaboration.

  • Lee Blair

    This is an incredible story, and I am grateful to see it happening on Baltimore. There should be something like this in Camden & Newark, NJ, Philadelphia, PA and Chicago, IL East St. Louis & St. Louis and anywhere that is suffering from a preponderance of firearms.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/adamsfallen Adam

    Any evidence to suggest this program is an effective way to reduce violence? It doesn’t seem like there’s any evidence stated in this article, and these small-scale gun buyback programs (where they don’t technically reduce the overall supply of guns) don’t seem to be very effective, historically…

    • Sofia M

      You need evidence to suggest that fewer guns on the street means fewer guns that can be used for violence?

      • Dirk

        Do you not need evidence..?

    • http://www.theepicadventurer.com/ Julia

      I would also be interested in where you are obtaining your data?

  • Aiyesha Ghani

    I would like to help host something similar in Miami! Who should I get in touch with and how?! Any help is appreciated. email: aiyesha.ghani@gmail.com

    • baltimorebrew

      Probably best to start with Lance Lucas of Digit All Systems who seems to be the person who came up with this and made it happen here in Baltimore. Here’s the contact info on their wesbite for him 443-729-2469

      LLucas@digitallsystems.org
      - Fern Shen

  • Khosbayar

    Let’s see if i’m reading this right; I trade in my lawfully acquired
    firearms, along with my 2nd Amendment right and freedoms and in return I
    get an inferior, secondhand laptop, complete with Windows 8, a
    ready-made Facebook profile and other extra software designed to
    “improve” my online experience.

    Where do I sign up?

    • Kiran Chapman

      No ones forcing you to do shit. If you’re so defined by your firearms that you think you’re actually being dehumanized and losing your freedom by getting rid of them then you are a very lost human being. The man who got his 17-year-old nephew a laptop instead of guns? Do you see what a profound impact thats going to have on his future?

      • Khosbayar

        I see him throwing a laptop at his attacker if he ever encounters trouble, and him STILL getting jumped or killed.

        It doesn’t take second sight to see you’re not very well versed in history. Look at what happened in Dunblane, Scotland after the massacre in 1993. Armed robberies skyrocketed 800% in one year.

        Argument = invalid.

        • Kiran Chapman

          A few things:

          1) Throwing a laptop at his attacker. Thats a very interesting defense tactic. Actually throw valuables at someone attacking you, I never thought of that. THIS IS WHY YOU NEED A GUN, BECAUSE YOU’RE AN IDIOT.

          2) I don’t know how you were able to gain insight into my historical knowledge from four sentences, but your anecdote about Dunblane is literally the most irrelevant thing you could’ve said. Did you just Google “bad things that happened with guns once” ?

          3) And to sum it all up, you had a really stellar conclusion, “Argument = invalid.” Thanks for breaking down your awful logic into mathematical terms for me.

          Altogether, this is a foolish argument we’re having that has become one of semantics, not about this actual article. The issue is that you’re first post was just plain wrong because you viewed a voluntary program as an attack on your freedom. It has nothing to do with you if you don’t want it to, so stop feeling victimized about a wonderful initiative someone’s taken. Maybe it’ll help provide you with some real personal security, the kind you can’t get from weapons.

          • Khosbayar

            “Dunblane is literally the most irrelevant thing you could’ve said.”

            It’s
            so irrelevant, the UK are looking at BANNING simple kitchen knives due
            to the increasing amount of assaults and murders committed with the
            aforementioned…Did I also mention the UK also outlawed private
            ownership of all firearms after Dunblane?

            “because you viewed a voluntary program as an attack on your freedom.”

            That’s
            how it all starts; VOLUNTARY turn-ins. Then they will eventually go door-to-door asking residents to “voluntarily” give up their firearms, or face arrest. I guess you missed the part
            where Gov. Cuomo in NY State said “confiscation is NOT off the table”,
            right in your own backyard. I could tell you about California and how
            they’re implementing illegal Gun Control measures that are hidden in
            plain sight, but that’s your homework assignment for today. If you don’t think any of that isn’t going to happen in America in the future, I know of 313 million people who are going to be in for a VERY rude awakening.

            “so stop feeling victimized about a wonderful initiative someone’s taken.
            Maybe it’ll help provide you with some real personal security, the kind
            you can’t get from weapons.”

            Those
            who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary
            safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. –Benjamin Franklin

          • Kiran Chapman

            You thought that was real slick of you, huh? A little Ben Franklin to validate your argument. Buying a gun is the very definition of “purchasing a little temporary safety.” Its not sustainable and extremely volatile and only invites trouble. Our friend Mr. Franklin espoused the ideas of communal spirit and the positive impact of education and he came from nothing. Basically the exact ideologies your arguing against. More people than you could possibly imagine would be thrilled with a world without guns.

          • CM

            This is hilarious but also sad. Just for a start, Dunblane was in 1996 not 1993. A ‘study’ from the extremely subjective Countryside Alliance as part of its ‘Campaign for Shooting’ merely ‘suggested’ that ‘the use of handguns in crime rose by 40% in the two years after the weapons were banned.’ (Source: BBC News) First, that isn’t clearly not an ’800 per cent rise in armed robberies in one year’. Secondly, as might be clear from the name of the lobbying organisation and its campaign, this was not an objective study.
            . Secondly, the UK is not ‘thinking of banning simple kitchen knives.’ And here in Scotland we are all very glad that there are strict gun laws so that serious incidents involving guns are so rare. No one over here can understand the obsession about guns in parts of the US. We would prefer people – especially children- to have the freedom to not get shot.

    • http://www.theepicadventurer.com/ Julia

      Rights haven’t changed. But maybe taking a pile of guns off the street by the owners’ volition signals that even those who exercise their right to arms acknowledge that their community is not being helped by it.

      Meanwhile, please consider that a lot of people still don’t have access to computers in their own homes, and are being left out of many, many public conversations (like this one, incidentally). Urban gun violence, like urban literacy, has a major socioeconomic component, and owning home computers might be a way to make inroads on two problems at once. Maybe having a laptop, and being more involved in the goings-on of the world, might strengthen community ties more than owning a firearm.

      • Khosbayar

        “Meanwhile, please consider that a lot of people still don’t have access
        to computers in their own homes, and are being left out of many, many
        public conversations (like this one, incidentally).”

        In 2013, if you don’t own a laptop/desktop or some form of device that connects to the Internet, and refer to yourself as an American, you really should pack it in and move into an old folk’s home.

        For Christ’s sake, my grandfather is 83 and even he has a laptop with internet access.

        • GammaRae

          Good for him. But that anecdote does NOT negate the FACT that many in this nation still do NOT have access (that’s why we have the added charge on our cell phones to provide basic service for PHONE CALLS to areas with few/no towers…) It is NOT ubiquitous in this nation to have a smart phone -

        • sublow

          Shut up

      • Khosbayar

        And don’t give me this “Oh, they may not be able to afford having a laptop or smartphone” crap either. There are at least 313,914,040 people in the United States. Even the poorest of the poor have a smartphone with online access. Your claim of people “being left out of many, many public conversations” is absurd at best and total CRAP at worst.

        • Kiran Chapman

          Even the poorest of the poor have a smartphone with online access? Who do you think you are? Thats absolutely not true. You have no idea what it means to be an American. You’re ignorant and narrow-minded. There are more than 220,000 unemployed in this country and you think they can buy smartphones and pay for monthly service? Julia made a perfectly valid and non-argumentative point and the fact that you have to be combative in your response is pretty pathetic.

        • MrsNumbles

          Do you actually live in the States, you idiot? Or should I ask instead what overly-entitled part of it do you live in? It isn’t sunshine, roses and iPhones on every corner. I worked in a public library for more than a dozen years, and the amount of people who came in to use the Internet because they couldn’t afford a smartphone OR an Internet connection rose every year I was there. Go sit your tail down somewhere and THINK.

        • Brian

          I’m not the poorest of the poor and I have an old dumb phone. Some of us still do.

  • ham_snadwich

    It always amuses me how rightwingers get their panties in a twist over gun buybacks. These are private citizens engaging in lawful commerce and getting something of value in exchange for a firearm they don’t want. People who don’t want or don’t know how to use guns safely should not have them. It is the height of responsible gun ownership to encourage people to get rid of guns they don’t want.

  • mark bodden

    Good program.

  • https://www.facebook.com/DakinAssociates Shaun Dakin

    So awesome !

  • davethesuave

    ok, i am going to oh-so-briefly wade into this back & forth argument with a simple question or 3 to Kiran, Khosbyar, Julia et al.

    Who are these folks turning in their handguns, rifles etc?
    Are they the so-called law-abiding? Or the criminals?

    How exactly do you get on-line with one of these reconditioned laptops, if you cannot afford paying an internet provider?

    How does one make oneself safer in their home by the acquiring of a computer?

    I do not live in the ghetto, and I would bet most of you do not either. Because if you lived in an area where rampant crime happened, and you had an effective way to defend yourself (and I do not mean using a Remington single-action revolver made in 1922), why on God’s Green Earth would you trade that in for a computer?

    I understand the revulsion that people feel when you look at the murder rates in the big cities. I get that America is probably one of the most violent societies the world has ever seen (spare me the Vikings analogy or what goes on in the 3rd world, I’m talking about one-on-one violence). But a buy-back program does 2 things, far as I can see. It gets a computer into the hands of someone who would not otherwise be able to have one; this is good. And it possibly creates a false sense of security; this is comforting, and misleading.

    Now if you want to use that laptop to search for a new domicile away from the marauding that happens on a nightly basis; well, then it’s a positive, and I’m all for it.
    Just don’t fool yourself. You are no safer. And when you tell all your neighbors about your new computer, you might actually be less safe. After all, now someone on your block knows right where they can go to get a new computer on the cheap. Hint: it’s inside your home. Hint #2: you have no means to defend your home. Hint #3: you’ve just announced it.

    • SpiritOnParole

      Interesting. If the numbers are right then owning a gun is what gives people a false sense of security. in 2009 alone there were 2,199,125 burglaries alone (http://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2009/data/table_01.html) And yet there were only 406 justifiable Homicides. (http://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2009/offenses/expanded_information/data/shrtable_14.html) one would think is guns were the mighty source of protection they are claimed those 2 numbers would be a bit closer together. But that is not even counting the number of rapes, robbery, assault, and the many other violent crimes I didn’t add to the first number. Anyone can go to the link and see those numbers. So all those people buying and hoarding guns, for the most part don’t seem to remember they have them when being victimized. Just saying.

      • davethesuave

        remember, there are uncounted foiled assaults that never get reported. would you, knowing that the first thing the authorities would do would be to confiscate, i mean retain for evidence, your weapon?

      • Brian

        I probably saved my life with a gun. Didn’t fire it, but made the assailant aware I had it and he disengaged. Didn’t report it to the police, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

    • Bluesyinohio

      I have lived in ghettos and so called dangerous neighborhoods for almost 40 yrs. I am a White Widowed woman. I have never had any guns I owned in the house. I have never needed a gun to protect myself.
      I watch out for my neighbors and they watch out for me.
      I always have a dog to warn me of anyone in the house and a phone near me at all times. (thanks to mobile phones)

      My second husband was the only one I was reluctantly forced to allow to bring a gun in the house. He always had a classic style Colt style revolver or a hunting rifle of some type.
      They were never left loaded and the ammo was far from the guns. He would always clean them but never took them to a shooting range because of his disabilies.

      Later, after 15 yrs, he decided that he did not trust himself around the guns because of severe depression. He gave them to his Nephew who is a Baltimore Detective, to be destroyed.
      I was happy to not have them in the house and we spent the rest of out 24 yrs of marriage in peace and no problems.
      Since his death I have had not problems and know that if trouble comes I can handle whatever happens with the knowledge that I have never been in the position to kill someone in anger or fear.

      • davethesuave

        you’ve been lucky up to now. i hope the streak continues.

        • Bluesyinohio

          How many times has your gun saved you?

          • davethesuave

            never have owned one, so can’t answer the question. but if i lived in a very rough neighborhood, i would probably get one. as the old saying goes, “don’t bring a switchblade to a gun battle”.

    • Kevin

      Are guns not among the favorite items stolen from homes on a regular basis? Are family members not more likely to be harmed by a gun kept in their own home rather than as a defense against intruders? Yes, suicide, domestic violence and accidents count , too — dead is dead. And an unwanted gun off the streets is one less likely to end up in criminal hands. 50+ people at this event made a sound decision on their own volition. Why are you calling them foolish? You don’t know their situation. Butt out, and stop instigating.

      • davethesuave

        i called no one foolish. folks have every right to turn in their guns for a computer. there are people who should never be allowed to own a weapon. they’re not qualified and never could be. that’s true of driving a car as well; some people are a menace on the roads and should never be licensed.

        But would you ban cars because of the dumb actions of a few?

        btw, Kevin, having a lively discussion is not instigating. and having a differing point of view from yours does not entitle you to squelch the speech. I am relieved you are not King, or anyone disagreeing with you would be silenced. (Hm, I’m beginning to understand your viewpoint now…)

        • Kevin

          You tell people not to fool themselves — that is saying you think they are being foolish in their choices — uh, duh! King? What are you talking about? You have a particularly skewed sense of reality, sir, a severely defensive stance. I suggested that you to butt out. I did not to you must stop saying whatever dumb defensive thing you please. You’re trying to frighten others for standing up and speaking out publicly. And how do you know they haven’t opted to keep a different gun in their home? You assume so much about me and about these people who run their lives the way they want. Why? Because its not the way you want. You automatically assume these Dell computers are useless and, somehow, won’t perform the email and communications that they’ve specified. Since you liken cars to guns, I assume you wish everyone who acquires a gun to have a state-issued license, and to pay for mandatory insurance, and to pass a state-administered test of their abilities. Cars and guns are different tools and are designed for completely different purposes. One can injure and kill using any number of items that weren’t designed to be used for that purpose. Guns however, only serve one purpose (other than target practice): to injure, hunt or kill. I am relieved, too, davethesuave, that you are not me or anyone else, because your arguments alone consist of illogical scare tactics and defensive attacks against imaginary demands that you are being forced into silence. Take this to heart — the marauding ghetto is not after you or your rights of free speech. If, by your own admission, these people in these communities have nothing to do with you, then why criticize them for their attempts to take control of their communities?

        • Kevin

          Also, have you never heard of free, public wifi hotspots? If these computers come with standard wifi capabilities, then these people can go to a library or McDonald’s or some community hotspot in their apartment complex or even use their friends’ connection. Your loaded question assumes a lot. It’s like asking why people who can’t afford car insurance would want to use public transportation or get a ride with a friend? Doesn’t make any sense. You might do well to try imagining how you would cope were you in their shoes; rather than calling them out for investing in “false” and “misleading” efforts.

          • davethesuave

            everything you state is correct. thank you.

  • Trus Real

    I’m a pro-gun advocate from Maryland and I don’t think this is a bad idea. A laptop is better than a $100 Giftcard at some grocery store. And if it’s their choice, it’s their freedom. Pro-gun people have been preaching freedom to own a firearm or to deny ownership ever since the beginning of this argument. And these people are simply exercising their right to do so. It’s their life, their own safety, no one else’s. It’s no one else’s burden if they fail to protect their own. Plus maybe they can use their laptops to educate themselves on firearms and may end up purchasing one down the road with more knowledge on the way it works and the safety rules.

    • Ob Serdious

      Each sees protecting his or her family in their own way. Some see removing the gun from the home the way to protect his or her family. Owning a gun to protect your family is not the only option.

    • ham_snadwich

      Exactly. Owning or not owning a gun is a personal choice. Some feel safer with one, others feel safer without. As long as they’re acting within the law, both choices should be respected.

  • DrLearnALot

    What a great idea!

  • RexRed

    Now melt down the guns and turn them into wheel chairs for the disabled.

    • Brian

      Yeah, because the manufacturing process totally works like that.

  • texican

    What a great deal! Pick up a worthless piece of junk at a gun show for less than 50$, turn it in, get a free laptop!

  • trk387

    THIS is what happens when a BROTHER is in charge!!! GREATNESS! and none of the STUPIDITY that couples with it. ALL the other city’s give our CASH for old guns, (white politicians) now you can just take that cash and buy OMG NEW and better guns!!! lol ALL through history black men who were in charge ran they shit! ” Herman Boone ” Coach of the Virginia Titans, Joe Clark, Principle of East Side High, NJ, and so on. They did the job the WAY it should be done not the way THEY (the others) wanted it done!

    If President Obama would just some how be INFUSED with this (take no prisoners attitude) he would be the GREATEST president ever.

    Here is a bit I did making him well… watch… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJ0ttpgZmfE

    • davethesuave

      Brothers rule. Of course, they’re also committing the majority of inner-city murders. Greatness indeed.
      A random speculation: Martin Luther King Jr would no doubt be considered a passive old fart if he could return today. And he would be called far worse. By some people on this thread.

  • Vanda Guzman

    I am so thankful for this awakening in Baltimore, start here and move from place to place, city to city,Person to person, and heart to heart. Thanks so much. Love Vanda

  • Vanda Guzman

    Oppps, i forgot to mention that I lost my Grandson & Nephew Feb, 2006. I live in Germany and getting a call 3:30 a.m. in the morning in Germany was something that i could never image any other parent or relative having to experience. I see this happening now I know their lives, or the lives of any of our family members will be in vain. Thanks again. Love Vanda

  • davethesuave

    a general comment, which might seem OT, but is really totally connected: you could magically melt down every gun in existence today, and people would start beating each other to death with baseball bats. the majority of crime & violence is due to protecting drug trade turf. legalize all drugs (not just the sanctioned prescription ones) and most of the murders & arrests go away quickly. now factor in the treatment of people with serious addictions. and give retroactive clean slates to anyone arrested and convicted of non-violent, so-called “drug-related” offenses, and now you’re making real progress, and shutting down the lip service.
    of course, there will always be the random crime of passion, but that’s not where the bulk of the problem exists. sadly, the politicians that so many of you trust to run our governments honestly and efficiently do anything but that. and here we are. as was said so many years ago, We have met the Enemy; and it is Us.

    next time you vote, assuming you bother to, think first. what have the people you’ve been supporting all these years done to earn your vote? the majority of the murders in Baltimore are preventable. we just haven’t gotten upset enough yet. or maybe we’ve just given up and decided to accept the status quo.

    The War on Drugs should be called The War on You.

  • Yelena

    If I was there, definetely would trade one of my non-functional junk guns for a working laptop. Better that just sell them for part and make under $10.

  • Eric J.

    Old electronics depreciate til they’re worth virtually nothing. Guns (my assumption) retain their value. Trading a product that has tangible value for one that doesn’t is stupid. Even though this program seems worthy, it’s a waste of money for the citizens. I’m willing to bet that the city is going to profit off of the sale of these guns, even if they are scrapped for the metal.

  • Tee Cee

    I recently started coding and I have been using http://www.codecademy.com/ to do so. It is free and simple to use. The layout is clear and the instructions and help functions enable learning quickly.
    I am not a computer genius, but a teacher of English for more than 10 years, and I beleive computer literacy is as important and literacy was in the last centrury. A computer may devalue, as a car does, but a computer gives you the tools to learn more. Through websites such as codeacademy, or https://www.coursera.org/ or many other open source/data pages you can better your qualifications to open your horizons. Here is an article with more ideas: http://www.businessinsider.com/best-free-online-business-courses-2013-10?utm_source=buffer&utm_campaign=Buffer&utm_content=buffer1276f&utm_medium=facebook
    The point is that computers are tools that don’t kill people. By learning even a little bit of code, you can become part of bigger projects and work towards bettering yourself or your community.
    I applaud Balitmore for this bold move and hope to see more like it!

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