Benjamin Baker, a former police officer who is now policy adviser on public safety to the governor, says the crisis is exemplified by a scene he witnessed in an Albuquerque park in July.
“I had my kid here for football practice — he’s 12,” Baker says. “And people decided to come have a rolling gun-and-stabbing battle within feet of where he was practicing. And it caused a person to be shot. And the ages of those folks were 13, 14 and 15.”
Baker says guns have long been part of everyday life in this Western city, but the nature of the local gun culture is different. He says people now see guns not so much as a tool, but as something “sexy.” And they seem more likely to fire them in anger.
“That should have been a fist fight! At worst!” Baker says of the teenagers in the park. “I cannot recall a time where things were as violent and as bad, and particularly how young the age of the perpetrators has become.”
[One policeman] guesses half the cars in Albuquerque traffic now contain guns, some of which wind up in the hands of felons or children.