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Gunrunning Networks

In Charlie Savage’s article, “Guns Inquiry Urges Action Against 14 in Justice Dept.”, Savage describes the accusations made against 14 current federal officials towards neglecting to take action against illegal weapon deals.  Michael Horowitz, the inspector general, claimed that the majority of these officials are prosecutors and agents in the Arizona based group in the of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.  Savage explains that officials chose not to take action against “stray buyers” in the hope that they would have access to people that had more influence in the gunrunning network.  This has supposedly resulted in hundreds of weapons ending up in the hands of criminals throughout the United States.  Savage explains that these allegations only highlight the rumors that officials high in Obamas administration have been neglecting to deal with weapon problems in an attempt to let the situation inflame, in hopes of  strengthening gun-control laws.  Many of officials that were involved with the scandal that resulted in the shooting for Brian Terry has already reassigned from the field office in Arizona, and are waiting for the full report by Mr. Horowitz before deciding on any disciplinary action.

This article is interesting because it really highlights the extensive network of criminal relations that stretch across the US and Mexico.  When thinking about this network I tried to develop my own theories about different properties of this network.  Assuming that different dealer or manufactures are nodes, and the dealings between these nodes are paths is how the network would be defined.  I image that the network in the area near the border are extremely dense, in a large cluster.  Since the majority of the manufacturing is coming for the same area, this density then disperses, with smaller cluster most likely focused around areas with a high demand for weapons.  For example, near many urban areas such as Los Angelos, and New York the demand for guns is higher, these would be more densely clustered  areas of the network.

Something to analyze is the different paths of this network.  This is important, especially for law enforcement because it can help to really understand how to break down this network.  For example, this network can most likely be divided into two sets.  One set that consist of the majority of dealers  and manufactures in Mexico, and then the United States set.  Then there are probably very sparse  connections between these two sets, but the active between these two dealers is very heavy.  These paths would be considered bridges in the network  If every path in this network has a weight of the amount based on the amount of weapons or exchange of money.  The paths with heavier weights are what the officials are trying to focus on.  So if the case of the officials that neglected to take action against certain dealers that had distributed hundreds of weapons we need to wonder, how officials are weighting the paths in the network of the gunrunning network.

This network is interesting partly because of its secretive nature and lack of social order, but also partly because of the complexity of the network.  For instance, it is mentioned that there are ties between drug gangs and weapon trades.  This makes the network even more complicated, because in a holistic sense, the majority of crime can some how be linked together.  The drug trafficking, weapon trades, gang violence are very closely tied together and it is hard to distinguish and divide these networks because they are so intertwined in nature.




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