Mayor Daley Shoots Down More Questions About Guns Without Answering Them | Bleader

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Mayor Daley Shoots Down More Questions About Guns Without Answering Them

Posted By on 05.27.10 at 08:08 PM

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You can say this about the mayor: he’s sticking to his guns.

More precisely, he’s sticking to his contention that Chicago’s crime problems are rooted in easy access to guns, which is why the city needs to ban them, even though the city already bans them, but at least there’s a parade this weekend. And by the way, there are bad people who live in the suburbs too, and some of them are causing problems in Chicago.

This is what we learned at Mayor Daley's latest press conference on public safety. The line of thinking might be a little confusing unless you understand that he isn’t trying to talk straight. Then it makes perfect sense.

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  • TONIKA JOHNSON

This morning the press corps gathered at the Ogden Park field house in Englewood to hear the mayor unveil a pilot program for keeping kids safe this summer. As usual, police will vigorously enforce the city’s curfew for youth under 17. But in three police districts on the south and west sides, kids caught out after 10 PM on weeknights and 11 on weekends will taken to park field houses instead of police stations. There they’ll receive mentoring and social services before being released to their parents.

“To me this is the kind of forward-looking thinking we need to embrace in every area of government,” Daley said. “We need to conduct pilot programs, be creative and even bold in our thinking and approaches.”

The reporters in the room had a few questions. For one, given the violence that’s broken out on the lakefront this week—assaults, a shooting—what is the city’s plan for the holiday weekend?

“The plan, number one, is that we have a Memorial Day parade," the mayor said. "That’s number one. I want to make sure you understand, it’s one of the largest parades in the city of Chicago. We have over 9,000 public school students marching, and I want to see all the press there.”

Unfortunately, not everyone is confident that the parade will take care of all our problems. Some people, including 43rd Ward alderman Vi Daley, say that crime on the north lakefront is out of control.

The mayor said it's not. He explained that police believe much of the recent violence on the lakefront was caused by suburban youth who'd sent text messages to each other to arrange meetings in the city.

“Texting—they text people, where people are going, in congregation," he said. "So every night you make a number of arrests, and a number of arrests were both city and suburban. We had a lot of suburban people arrested. You have to understand that—it’s not just city people. It’s suburban people too."

But the mayor and the police are on top of the problem.

"We know there’s texting going on. There’s something going on in the suburban areas with a lot of young adults.”

So let's get this straight: it's texting—not gangs—that we should be worried about.

“Well, it could be some gang problems, they know that, but it’s also other issues. We don’t know if everybody’s a gangbanger, but there’s other issues that concern that. Drinking on the beaches is always a concern.”

Yes, but we don’t typically have shootings at the beach.

“You have shootings all over.”

It was hard to argue with that point.

One of the shootings this week involved a senior citizen on the west side who armed himself—in violation of the gun ban—and killed someone who broke into his home.

The mayor had heard about it. "I think everybody understands the frustration that people have in regards to guns, you know, in that instance. And I think we understand that. But again, the access to guns in America, the access today, it’s higher than any period of time in America. And guns on the street will kill people. It’s the access to guns that you have in America. And I’m not arguing about this instance. I understand some frustration that’s taken place. But access to guns in America will destroy America faster than any war in America.”

Still, another reporter wondered, if the senior citizen had followed the handgun ban, isn’t it possible he would be dead right now? That's what his family is saying.

“What I’m just saying: access to guns," the mayor said. "You’re more likely to get killed by someone walking down the street with a gun. Access to guns.”

But many people believe the senior citizen had the right to protect himself.

“I’m just saying, you firmly believe that people should have access to guns at all times, you have a totally different kind of society. You have access to guns in Naperville, in Highland Park, all these places, different places, I’m just telling you: I don’t think the answer is guns."

So what about the senior citizen? Will he be charged with violating the gun ban?

“I don’t know," the mayor said. "Thank you very much."

He grabbed his papers from the podium and walked out of the room.

A couple hours later the police department issued a statement: "The investigation into the Home Invasion and subsequent shooting which occurred on May 26th, 2010, in the 600 Block of North Sawyer is ongoing. Two weapons have been recovered from the scene. No charges have been filed at this time. Updates will be provided once the investigation is complete."

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