Chicago is a city of double standards when it comes to gun rights. While ordinary citizens are deprived of the right to own a handgun for self defense, influential politicians exempt themselves from that ban. Other politicians are also provided around the clock bodyguards at taxpayer expense, even when there is no threat to that politician’s safety. Chicago cops are also allowed to carry a gun for self defense while off duty, but ordinary Chicago residents are denied the same concealed carry rights that citizens of 48 states are granted. This injustice really becomes apparent when one examines the outcomes of cases where unarmed citizens are attacked by criminals, and where cops are attacked by criminals:
A few hours before sunup, the eight young friends from the west suburbs were just trying to get home in a black Lincoln Navigator SUV when they got turned around and lost on Chicago’s West Side.
Passing the other way early Saturday was Shalimar Santiago, 27, a reputed gang member driving through the neighborhood about an hour after a buddy had been shot by someone in a black SUV, law enforcement sources said.
Within moments, Santiago allegedly rammed and sideswiped the Lincoln with his minivan, causing the SUV to flip over and hit a light pole. The law enforcement officials are calling it a tragic case of mistaken identity in which a group of people became victims of a gang feud, with deadly consequences. And this time, the weapon was a minivan.
“We tried to avoid them and they kept sideswiping us,” said Robert Thompson, 21, a passenger in the youths’ SUV. “We tried to lose them by going left but they hit us dead-on. … I remember flipping once, twice maybe, and that’s it.”
On Monday, one SUV passenger, Stephanie Herrera, 18, died in Mt. Sinai Hospital, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. The SUV driver, Joseph Penkala, 21, remained comatose in Northwestern Memorial Hospital, his family by his side.
The rest of the victims suffered injuries including a fractured vertebra, a dislocated arm, cuts that required nine staples and bruises that covered their bodies.
Santiago was arrested several hours after the crash by detectives following leads. He was charged with eight counts of aggravated battery, but charges were expected to be upgraded because of Herrera’s death. His bail was set at $500,000 Monday.
Four reputed gang members have been charged with trying to shoot and kill an off-duty Chicago police officer after they allegedly mistook him for a rival, a police source said today. The shots fired at the officer, who was driving when he was shot at, narrowly missed his head, the source said.
The officer’s route home that morning took him into the middle of a feud between members of rival gangs in the area. Police sources said the four gang members — alleged Latin Kings — targeted the officer’s car because it was moving through Two-Sixer territory.
As he was driving near Pulaski Road and 31st Street in the Little Village neighborhood, the officer sensed he was being followed by a car with four people inside, the source said. He tried to evade the car, driving around several blocks, the source said.
Then he made a quick U-turn in the street, and the car again followed right behind him, the source said.
At that point, the officer dialed 911 for help — twice — but the gang members allegedly accelerated and pulled up next to the officer and opened fire, striking the car.
The officer returned fire and then pursued the car until he lost sight of it. Using a description the officer provided, Harrison Area detectives found the car a day later and arrested one person who was inside, the source said.
These two cases exemplify the problem with Chicago’s gun laws, which don’t disarm the criminals, but instead only ensure that crime victims are defenseless. Making matters worse, only cops and influential politicians are allowed to carry a gun for self defense, which is why those privileged individuals have a good track record of defending themselves, while ordinary citizens continue to be shot while defenseless against the still-armed criminals. By any measure, that is unjust, and reminds me of what we would expect in a country like North Korea – rather than the third largest city in the United States. Further aggravating this wrongful situation is the fact that Chicago has intentionally reduced its police force at a time when the murder rate is the highest it has been in years, and the police admit to telling thousands of 911 callers that a cop simply wasn’t available to help them when they called 911. It is bad enough to deprive the ordinary citizens of the ability to defend themselves; denying them effective police protection on top of that is even worse.
Those opposed to gun rights will suggest that allowing Chicago’s ordinary citizens to have and carry self defense handguns would lead to an even worse situation. However that doesn’t appear to be the case. Firstly, those criminals who want guns clearly have no problem getting them now, and don’t think twice about ignoring the Chicago handgun ban. Secondly, decades of evidence from states across the country shows that law abiding citizens who carry a gun for self defense are not a threat to public safety. Instead, such armed citizens have a proven track record of successfully defending themselves and even saving the lives of cops. Finally, the facts also show that those armed citizens are much less likely than a cop to shoot the wrong person by accident. There really isn’t a rational objection that can be made to concealed carry, given the decades of empirical evidence which shows its value.