If there’s one place in America that knows corruption, it’s Chicago. Platoons of local pols have spent time in prison, generally after being busted by federal prosecutors. The state and local prosecutors and judges are part of the political machine and disinclined to pursue anyone associated with the ruling Democrats. The latest Chicago official to run afoul of the law is former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., who is looking at five years in prison.
So it was pretty galling for Illinois gunowners to hear Chicago’s chief of police, currently struggling with little success against a record murder wave, say they were “corrupt” for making their voices heard in the state capitol. Garry McCarthy, appearing on a radio call-in show said the following:
“If there was special interests affecting police work, I believe that would be called corruption. So, if it has do with donating money versus a popular vote, I think we have a bigger problem in this country and somebody’s gotta wake up to that,” said McCarthy.
In response to the question, are gun rights groups somehow corrupting public safety, McCarthy had this to say, “Well, how is it that they’re controlling politicians. How are they controlling elected officials? It’s not by popular vote.”
Since the “popular vote” counts for about exactly as much in Chicago as it does in Pyongyang, it’s pretty funny to hear a police chief say that it should govern constitutional rights.
Gun rights supporters pounced. “Garry McCarthy’s understanding of our Constitution barely qualifies him as a meter maid, never mind the chief of the nation’s third-largest police department,” said Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Assn. “What on earth would possess McCarthy to assert that constitutional rights should be meted out based on public opinion polls?”
Well, constitutional rights are nice, but McCarthy’s immediate problem is that his boss, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, wants to run for President in 2016, and that gets a lot more complicated when you are presiding over a murder outbreak. Emanuel is finding that his predecessor, Richard M. Daley, left him quite a few stink bombs, including huge budget deficits, a dysfunctional school system and a bloated bureaucracy. But the hidden stink bomb was the demolition of notorious high-rise housing projects like Cabrini-Green and the Robert Taylor Homes.
While there’s no doubt those hellholes, the legacy of a previous Daley, Richard J., needed to come down, blowing them up disrupted gang territories and relationships built up over decades and ensured a period of warfare while criminals sorted things out.
As Kevin D. Williamson pointed out in a recent National Review Online article, the temptation to level the projects was driven by the desire to put the newly valuable real estate on which they sat to more profitable use, increasing city tax revenue. Not much thought, apparently, was given to where the residents and the criminals who preyed on them would go.
They were dispersed throughout the city, setting off hundreds of turf battles that would be settled with gunfire, regardless of the city’s gun-control laws.
It’s a whole lot easier to blame downstate gun owners for crime than to put it on one Daley who warehoused poor blacks in squalid, crime-infested towers and a second Daley who blew up those towers and cast their inhabitants to the four winds to favor downtown real estate developers.
Corruption has persisted in Chicago for more than a century, and will continue so long as it remains a one-party town. Back in the 1920s, the Chicago Tribune said this about Mayor William Hale “Big Bill” Thompson:
“For Chicago Thompson has meant filth, corruption, obscenity, idiocy and bankruptcy…. He has given the city an international reputation for moronic buffoonery, barbaric crime, triumphant hoodlumism, unchecked graft, and a dejected citizenship. He nearly ruined the property and completely destroyed the pride of the city. He made Chicago a byword for the collapse of American civilization.”
Thompson’s successors have not done much better, so their lapdogs should spare Illinois gun owners the lectures on corruption.