Obama Has No Answers for Skyrocketing Murder Rate in Chicago
President Obama was in Chicago on Friday to talk about gun violence and push his domestic agenda. He was introduced at Hyde Park Academy, a high school about a mile from his home, by Chicago's Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who has seen his city's murder rate climb to heights not experienced in a generation.
More than 500 people were murdered in Chicago in 2012. Desperate to avoid blame for his policing policies that some experts believe have contributed to the killings, Emanuel has taken up the president's call for more gun control with the fervor of a true believer. His extortionate tactics in trying to get banks to stop lending to gun makers unless they support "common sense" gun control is only the most recent of his efforts to shift blame from his own shoulders and place it squarely on those who buy, sell, and manufacture firearms.
But the president's speech, where even he admitted "no law or set of laws can prevent every senseless act of violence," was devoid of any proposals to address the problem. He even failed to mention the assault weapons ban. And giving a surreal touch to the proceedings, he told the audience:
[L]ast year there were 443 murders with a firearm on the streets of this city, and 65 of those victims were 18 and under. So that’s the equivalent of a Newtown every four months. And that’s precisely why the overwhelming majority of Americans are asking for some common-sense proposals to make it harder for criminals to get their hands on a gun.
Never mind that the Newtown shooter wasn't a criminal. And bare majorities support the assault weapons ban -- the major focus of his gun control proposals. The tragedy of gun violence in Chicago has nothing whatsoever to do with Newtown. It has a lot more to do with policing policies that pulled officers out of high crime areas and cutting the police budget by reducing the number of officers. One can't really say that the massive increase in murders was completely preventable. But the effort Emanuel is making to escape blame for the problem makes one think even he knows his policies have dramatically failed.
And in Chicago, forget about "criminals" getting their hands on guns. The city's draconian gun control laws ensnare more law abiding citizens than law breakers:
A 55-year-old woman who works as a researcher at the University of Illinois at Chicago was jailed this week for bringing a pistol -- licensed, unloaded and in a case – to her office.
The woman, who also holds an “Illinois firearm owners registration card,” told Chicago police that she had brought the handgun, recently purchased for home defense, to her workplace because she did not want to leave it at her residence while a work crew was there doing a renovation project.
But Chicago has perhaps the toughest gun laws in the nation and carrying the weapon, even without ammunition, is a serious offense.
A co-worker spotted the pistol case and called police who came and snatched up the information specialist from her workplace. The Chicago Tribune reports that the woman was held on $25,000 bond pending trial and placed on leave by the university.
The woman was released on $25,000 bail and awaits trial. And Emanuel can put another notch in his belt for taking a dangerous gun scofflaw off the streets.
Obama tried to tie his economic policy to reducing gun violence:
"If a child grows up with parents who have work, and have some education, and can be role models, and can teach integrity and responsibility, and discipline and delayed gratification — all those things give a child the kind of foundation that allows them to say, 'my future, I can make it what I want,'" he said.
It is proper that the president point out that there is more to reducing violence than policing and gun control. But the president is addressing students living in an area where single mothers dominate and ideals like responsibility, delayed gratification, and discipline are virtually unknown.
There has been some buzz about Emanuel running for president in 2016. It probably isn't in the cards. The mayor may want to be president, but one Chicago Machine pol in a lifetime is all the country can handle.