If there were ever a clear look into the character of Chicago's political boss, Mayor Richard J. Daley, it came during a bizarre press conference when a reporter asked an obvious question: "Given the numbers of shootings in the city, isn`t the handgun ban ineffective?"
Daley moved to a prop table covered with a variety of confiscated guns. Instead of picking up a handgun, Daley hefted a rifle--an SKS with bayonet extended. Red-faced, he glared at the reporter and threatened:
"If I put this up your butt ... you`ll find out how effective this is! If I put a round up your..."
Many headlines treated the mayor`s threat as a joke. But, what if the reporter, Mike Dumke of www.Chicagoreader.com, had threatened the mayor in the same manner? For certain, the phalanx of heavily armed police bodyguards who accompany the mayor would have reacted.
As Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass observed, Daley "meant what he said. And so the mayor reveals his nature.
"Daley has been a bully his entire life, a child of muscle and privilege. … The police despise him. Their department is terribly understaffed and overworked. Taxpayers want more cops. But there`s no money for additional police because Daley wasted it all, hundreds of millions of dollars year after year after year on deals for his cronies."
Kass began his column with this:
"In anti-handgun Chicago, criminals aren`t bothered by Mayor Richard Daley`s handgun ban."
As for the threatened reporter, Dumke said Daley`s tantrum provided "no better illustration of his intolerance for debate, dissent and transparency.
" … there`s a critical discussion that needs to take place around here about gun control, violence, an understaffed police force, neglected neighborhoods, chronic joblessness, the war on drugs, failing schools and the priorities of public officials.
"But Mayor Daley has shown no sign of being interested in talking about it."
Dumke forgot one other element critical to the pandemic of Chicago`s street violence--the endemic popular thug culture where life means nothing.
No greater illustration can be found than in the murder just days earlier of an off-duty policeman--30-year-old Thomas Wortham IV--in front of his parents` home by four gang-bangers who police say were out to prove their manhood by stealing the officer`s new motorcycle.
One of those charged with the murder had a Facebook page where he described his hobbies as "basketball, dice and robbin`" and bragged, "I hav no problem wit pulling da trigger [sic]."
Wortham had just returned from his second tour in Iraq as a National Guard officer. After being shot, he was run over and dragged under the thugs` getaway car.
About the same time, an 80-year-old homeowner shot and killed an armed career criminal who invaded his home and shot first. (See this month`s "Armed Citizen" for details.) The elderly citizen, a Korean War veteran, obtained his handgun to protect his family following an armed robbery by three thugs earlier in the year. Police confiscated his gun.
Public reaction was swift and fully supportive of the veteran. The ABC affiliate interviewed neighbors who said they would do the same. It was their right.
Even more remarkable was a local CBS segment on the aftermath of officer Wortham`s murder. Try this for a headline: "Cop`s Murder Has Some Thinking Of Carrying A Gun … Some Gun Control Supporters Now Thinking Of Breaking City`s Handgun Ban."
There`s more. Wortham`s father, a retired police officer who is allowed under the Chicago ban to keep a handgun in the home, shot and killed one assailant in his son`s murder and wounded another.
Mayor Daley`s reaction to any successful armed defense? " … guns is [sic] not the answer to the problems that we see in a home, in the streets of America. It`s as simple as that."
In preparation for the Supreme Court decision in McDonald v. City of Chicago challenging the city`s gun ban, Daley has been dreaming up all manner of new schemes to block lawful handgun ownership. How about punitive liability insurance for gun owners that would lock out many poor and elderly citizens by cost alone?
We suggest demanding enforce-ment of federal laws against armed, violent criminals.
The Facebook braggart charged with murdering Officer Wortham, according to press reports, was on probation for conviction on weapons charges.
And the criminal stopped cold by the 80-year-old vet was "a parolee with a record of drug and gun arrests."
Applying federal law would`ve taken these thugs off the streets. Instead Daley takes guns from homeowners who protect themselves and their families. That`s insane.
Violent crime will continue to metastasize in Chicago until citizens there share the same rights promised by the Founding Fathers--the means to exercise their God-given right to armed self-defense. And whether through legal action as in the McDonald case or on the legislative front, NRA will remain in the forefront, aggressively fighting to make sure all peaceable Americans share in that life-saving right.