Well, you might think so if you swallowed whole whatever the popular news venues eruct up. But in fact, this is a wild story that has run amok nationally.
Here is what happened…for real.
As you know, the Supreme Court of the United States is expected to hear arguments in a case called McDonald v the City of Chicago, in which a private citizen—outraged by the inability of law abiding folks to keep handguns in the home within city limits—is suing Chicago’s long-standing and awful ban on handguns.
The arguments look pretty solid for Mr. McDonald, and many people believe Chicago may be forced to repeal the ban. Consequently, liberal supporters of the ban need an emergency to demonstrate how essential a continued ban is.
In any large city, this is merely a waiting game. And a horrifying tragedy gave them what they needed: an adult gang member (who may be a former gang member…or not—the press is not asking) was advised to flee town when a hit was ordered on him. He, his wife, and children were preparing to flee, but stopped in the neighborhood late at night to pick up some cigarettes at a convenience store. While they waited, gunmen opened fire on his blatantly parked car. A bullet struck his 20-month-old daughter, Cynia Cole, while she sat quietly in the back seat of the car. She subsequently died of the injury, because he carelessly put her in the line of fire by brazenly stopping for smokes in a likely target area.
Horrifying, especially given how cute and sweet the girl was, but pathetically quite typical. However, the story was carried a bit differently by the press: an innocent girl, while simply sitting in the back seat of the car, was shot by gang members who appear to have been aiming elsewhere. The poor, devoted father stayed with her all night. You see, guns are out of control in Chicago. CNN reports this as a “violent crime wave.”
But thus far, 113 murders have been committed in Chicago: this is only a fraction more than typical. Appalling, but hardly a violent crime wave. A rational person might ask “Why are there any at all?” And we will see why shortly. But that fact is not dramatic enough. Instead, a violent crime wave has resulted in innocent people being shot left and right. Unspoken: and the conservatives want to reduce gun control measures?
Two Illinois state representatives, LaShawn Ford and John Fritchey, responded by demanding the governor call out the Illinois National Guard. Put them on street corners on the South and West sides of the city, arm them to the teeth, and let them stop the violence. Evidently Democrats like surges now.
Not surprisingly, this lit up the news media like a Christmas tree, with no shortage of sensational stories. The public is appalled at the idea, understanding full well the logistical nightmare that follows, the enormous costs in doing so, and the public relations disaster that is certain to follow when a National Guardsman fires on a child—a child given a toy weapon by gang members, and encouraged to run up to the nice soldiers. Besides, isn’t this illegal, under posse comitatus or something?
Posse comitatus only applies to the Federal government ordering any branch of the armed forces (except, clearly, the United States Coast Guard) from acting in a law enforcement capacity—which is great, because the Feds have a ton of non-military groups already acting like law enforcement. But the Mayor of Chicago, Richard M. Daley, could indeed call the governor and ask for the National Guard to gear up and hit the streets; heck, his father did it in the late 1960s to calm rioting.
However, Mayor Daley is aghast at the idea as well: the Chicago Police Department may be undermanned right now due to budget cuts, but they know the neighborhood, they know the people, and can do the job without the eventual disaster that the Guard would unwittingly unleash.
No, the Mayor counters, what we need is more gun control.
Get it? McDonald v. Chicago is very likely going to turn the handgun ban on its ear. A Rahm-style emergency occurs, and two legislators propose a terrifyingly Draconian plan for martial law. The Mayor acts outraged, as do the mainstream media outlets, and instead offers something much more palatable to the public: more gun control, not less.
Endgame: the public clamors for more restrictions, and thus the Supreme Court (long known to cave in to public outcry, evidently, in Daley’s imagination) upholds the ban.
The reality of course is that while Chicago is not experiencing a dramatic rise in violent crime, its crime rate is obscenely high—and this is because of the handgun ban, not despite it. Chicago is a rich and fertile…and literal…hunting ground for gang members who know the public can provide little resistance, and the CPD is understaffed in all areas. You rob banks because that’s where the money is. You pillage Chicago, because that’s where the soft targets are.
NPR’s Michel Martin sensed something was up when she interviewed Representative Fritchey and asked “Do you have any theory about why it is that Chicago is continuing to experience this [type of violence] when a number of other major cities are not.”
Fritchey gave a non-answer about the existence of multiple theories, and variable statistics, and how ultimately the communities need to step up and end this. He did not imply that Chicago’s communities are somehow more stupid or incapable than in other cities. They are not. He did not propose that the police are inept. They are not. Nor did he mention that Chicago’s communities, rare in the country, are completely disarmed. Which is the fundamental difference.
And Martin delivered a smack-down. “Okay, but having said that, it’s hard to imagine that New York City has any fewer dysfunctional parents, perhaps, than Chicago does. If you think that’s kind of the cause of the thing or the job opportunities for the particular kid. People involved are [not] that much different. I’m not going to hector you, but I do want to ask, why is Chicago still experiencing this kind of high murder rate and other major cities have seen even more dramatic changes than Chicago?”
Fritchey pooped this reponse: “Well, it’s a vexing question, but a very legitimate one. You know, I would submit that on a certain toll we have a culture of complacency in this city. You have a number of people in these affected areas that simply accept the violence as a part of daily life.”
No, Representative Fritchey: they have no choice but to accept it. The only culture of complacency at fault is the Democratic Party’s toward gun control. This is the same culture that would tolerate the use of a sweet little girl’s death as a perfect lever to pull a political stunt to make the Mayor’s obsessive compulsive fear of firearms seem reasonable.
Daley cannot escape the inevitable conclusion that his firearm ban is a catastrophe, which was predicted back when he first proposed it in 1982, and continues to result in innocent death after innocent death almost three decades later. Your mind may boggle at how he can live with this, especially when the rest of the nation can demonstrate that handgun ownership halts the spread of violent crime. But that would be like explaining to a sufferer of OCD that too much hand washing is bad for the skin.