Chicago, the windy city. Home to 2,853,114 people; a center for the arts, technology and industry.
Chicago is also home to thousands of criminals, illegal guns, violence and murder.
Crime statistics in Chicago indicate that annually 35,106 violent crimes are committed, which yeilds 9 on the national crime index. This means Chicago is safer than 9% of the cities in U.S.
Not very promising.
Between May 16th and June 15th of this year, over 32,767 crimes were committed with 25% of those occuring in the streets.
In the past weekend, over 54 were shot leaving 10 dead in the lastest outbreak of gun violence in the city.
It is, quite simply one of the most violent places in the nation.
Chicago has a complete ban on handguns.
Since the ban has been put in place, it has not demonstrated any kind of usefulness. In fact their murder rate relative to other cities actually rose after the ban.
Then there's the case of Anthony "Big Ant" Nelson. A home invader and 23 year old career thug with a 13 page rap sheet, Nelson recently met his match in a gun fight with an 80 year old Army veteran of the Korean War.
The home invader fired his weapon at the old vet only to receive, to his great surprise I am quite sure, return fire. Accurate return fire. Nelson was killed.
The elderly vet not only saved his own life, but likely that of his wife and possibly their 12 year old grandson who were also in the house.
Police took the elderly man's gun away from him as soon as they arrived.
Had he followed the law, he would likely be dead now. Of course, that doesn't matter to those who've never faced a home invader. Call the police, they'll protect you.
Luckily the vet won't be charged in this case due to the legislature shutting down one of Rod Blagojevich's proposals. As it turns out he was justified in self defense, despite the city's ban. Of course, they don't want him to obtain another handgun, nor will they return his. That would be breaking the law.
Mayor Daley, who has his own contingent of armed bodyguards, supports the gun ban and cites the many guns that have been turned in with his buyback program as successful, despite the "Homicide issue," that continues to plauge his city.
The Supreme Court is very likely going to shoot down the ban in a decision to be announced next week.
Daley has said that he will do everything in his power to continue to restrict citizens from gaining handguns.
Of course, it makes perfect sense.
Why would he want citizens to have the capability to defend themselves? Why would he not, instead, offer free or low cost saftey classes to those who want to learn how to use a firearm for self-defense?
Now you might be saying to yourself at this point, what about shotguns and rifles? Why can't people just use those to protect themselves in their home, why does it have to be those terrible handguns?
Yes, of course. The elderly can so easily weild large, heavy firearms as compared to lighter handguns.
Ask Beatrice Turner of Des Moines about this issue. When the 89 year old lady was threatened by a burgler who smashed in her front door, she shouted at him to leave. Instead of listening to Beatrice, the home invader advanced. Beatrice, armed with a .22 cal revolver fired a shot in self defense, narrowly missing her assailant. When police arrived, they arrested the man in her front yard, hugged the lady and told her how brave she was and even helped her reload the old revolver.
Ask Avi Manges who confronted an intruder in her home with her handgun. The man fled when he saw her weapon.
Ask the owner of the next residence the intruder invaded, who pointed his own 9mm at the man and held him for police.
Don't ask the suspect, though. He said "Those guys pointed guns at me, they should be arrested!" according to the Glenwood police department in Colorado.
According to the National Defense Survey conducted by Flordia State University, Defensive gun uses can be projected at 2.5 million per year.
That's one defensive gun use every 13 seconds.
In 83.5% in these cases the attacker either threatend or used force first.
In 91.7% of these incidents the defensive use of a gun did not wound or kill the criminal attacker.
In 73.4% of these cases the attacker was a stranger to the intended victim, shattering the myth that keeping a gun for defense will very likely be used against you or someone you love, or that simply having a gun makes you more likely to be killed.
The statistic cited to support that myth is that 58% of murder victims are killed by either relatives or acquantences.
Those who quote this statistic often fail to note that acquantences includes everything from gang members killing gang members, drug buyers killing pushers, cabbies by customers as well as prostitutes and their clients. 90% of adult murderers have adult criminal records.
In 79.7% of the 2.5 million cases, a handgun was the firearm used for defense.
So instead of posting and lamenting and crying when the ban is ended, as I'm sure I'll see, why not consider a celebration?
I'm not saying that lifting the ban will automatically lower crime in Chicago, but I do feel that the citizens deserve a fighting chance.
Then perhaps we can focus on the real causes of crime.
Poverty, disenfranchisement, the gang culture, the glorification of senseless violence, poor education and a general disrespect for the value of human life.
Of course it's always easier simply to blame tools.
Just ask Mayor Daley.
Copyright: Doug Socks 2010
Image courtesy of www.essential-architecture.com
Brought to you by The Right Reverend Douglass A. Socks of the Gunnite Religion, First Gunnite Church of Marathon