Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Sub-urbanism: guns in public | Downtown Birmingham, Michigan

Gun supporters march in downtown Birmingham, Michigan
Photo: David Guralnick / The Detroit News.Shaun McElroy, left, of Chesterfield, shakes hands with Sean Michael Combs while participating in a protest on Combs behalf in Birmingham, Mich. on Monday, June 11. Combs, of Troy, was arrested in Birmingham on April 13 after strolling the downtown area while carrying a rifle. He was charged with brandishing a weapon, disturbing the peace, and obstructing a police officer.

Birmingham, Michigan is a traditional town located in Oakland County, Michigan, about 6 miles north of the City of Detroit.

In the Detroit metropolitan area, it's one of the suburban towns that has managed to maintain the integrity and success of its town center--Downtown--in the face of displacement of retail from towns to shopping malls (the Detroit area's once leading department store company, Hudsons, pioneered the development of the shopping mall to ensure its continued prominence as a retailer in the context of suburbanization).

For decades Birmingham managed to maintain two small regional chain department stores, although both companies finally failed--everywhere, not just in Birmingham--a little more than 10 years ago, and I don't know how the city responded.

I used to live a few miles from there.  Before we learned how to drive, as teenagers we could and did bike there.

I have to believe that observing how this commercial district functioned and was highly successful has influenced my thinking about commercial district revitalization, including the issue of tax incentives for retailers (a long story that I won't recount).  And Bob Gibbs, a leading national retail consultant, has his business based there.

This week, Birmingham is famous for different reasons.  In April, a teen was arrested for walking around the Downtown with an M1 rifle and earlier this week, a bunch of suburbites/exurbanites protested--by also prominently displaying guns in public.  See "Gun-toting advocates protest charges against teen in Birmingham," from The Detroit News.

The present level in bifurcation in social behavior and attitudes--what people think is right and what we think is wrong--in the US between conservatives and progressives is so pronounced and so scary.

I can't imagine that rational people would think it's a good idea for overly engaged and enraged and troubled people to carry guns around in public places (e.g., how former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot and others were killed in Pima County, Arizona, see "Representative Gabrielle Giffords and 18 Shot Near Tucson" from the New York Times).

But a lot of people aren't rational.  And the idea that the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution regarding militias being the justification for widespread arming of the population and the right to carry--and display!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!--guns in public is strictly a modern interpretation of the law as promoted by gun advocates.  ("Gun Control, the NRA and the Second Amendment" from FAIR)

Labels: , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home