This past weekend in Chicago a flash mob, organized on social media made headlines. The estimates were af around 400. There was a hysterical tone to the reports, most especially on the two dominant right wing stations in the city, WLS and WIND. They used the event, which was down played by police, and apparently handled quickly and effectively. About 2 dozen were arrested for serious crimes such bumping into people. There were several reports of purses being snatched, but no more than usually happens on a busy weekend day in Chicago, and most every other city on the planet. I’m not downplaying the incident, as much as attempting to balance the fear and hysteria stoked by a media with a very purposeful agenda.
The NRA, gun pornographers, the media proliferators of gun porn, like WLS and WIND have been vocal and aggressive on their support for conceal carry laws in Illinois and Chicago. But here it is important to take a look at several facts about violent crime in Chicago. Notably, the most violent years in Chicago history were in 1974 and 1992, with 970 and 942 murders respectively. The city had a lower population at the time, so the adjusted rate now would be over a thousand for both years.
From 1992, the murder rate declined steadily. By 1999, it had decreased to 641, though admittedly that was still higher than any other large city in the US. Murder bottomed out in Chicago back in 2004, but has seen a year over year rise. The vast majority are due to neighborhood specific gang violence. Nearly all murders in Chicago occurred by people known by the victim. Overall, the city is safer than it has ever been, with steady decreases in violent crimes and property crimes.
The conceal carry would in effect, make petty crimes like purse snatching, shoplifting, even a fight punishable without the benefit of trial or appeal a death sentence for the would-be perpetrator. It would also significantly increase the likelihood of so-called collateral damage to bystanders as well. Indeed, such a provision under the law could cost someone their life simply by virtue of the conceal-carry gunman feeling threatened. Moreover, on a crowded bus, or train, the possibility of a gun battle erupting from multiple shooters startled, frightened or confused in a chaotic situation becomes greatly increased.
The proliferation of guns in public spaces creates does not create a deterrence, but rather tension and fear, which is hardly necessary. Moreover, will downtown offices and business be safer with pistol packing salesmen and secretaries? Will business be required to allow guns into their offices? Will you fire or lay off a person with a loaded weapon? Or will we now have weapons lockers in office buildings? Or will the NRA take to suing businesses that ban guns in the workplace? Will you be less likely to complain about your sandwich at a downtown Subway if the cashier has a glock on her hip?
Will the headlines scream injustice or shame the first time a nervous suburban tourist guns down a kid who purposely bumps him, and then cops an attitude. Is it worth killing a man who steals a purse? Should the punk who grabs a cellphone on a bus take three of four slugs to the chest? Isn’t that a police matter to arrest the kid, and have a sane sort of justice, instead of this fear and paranoia based pornography from WLS and WIND?
Make no mistake, if the gun pornographers get their way, there will be deaths, of petty criminals and of innocent bystanders. As for the training conceal carry advocates claim they will have, let me remind of the police shoot out last year in Times Square between a gunman and several trained New York Police. After dozens of shots exchanged the gunman was killed. 11 bystanders were wounded as well, all by police bullets.
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