Domestic Terror, by Rich Paschall
When I was in Medellin, Colombia some years ago we went to an outdoor dining spot and someone at a nearby table mentioned Pablo Escobar. My friend immediately commented, “Pablo Escobar! Pablo Escobar! He died in the 1990s and we still have to hear about him.” I responded, “Do you think that’s bad? Al Capone died in 1947 and we still have to hear about him.”
If you live in Chicago, sooner or later someone is bound to ask you about Capone, the era of the speakeasy, and the Tommy gun. No, Capone is no longer alive. Yes, he is buried in a Catholic cemetery here. No, I have never seen a Tommy gun. Yes, there are a couple of speakeasies left, if you know where to look. Hint: The giveaway was the green doors.
Republican politicians, and an orange one, in particular, love to paint Chicago as a violent city. There is, like every major US city, too much gun violence here. We are well aware of it, but we are not at the top of the list. The orange one did not mind misrepresenting us. He hates Chicago and the feeling is mutual. He lost big here to Hillary Clinton. His predecessor, President Obama, whom he also seems to hate, lived here. Cook County, Illinois, which contains Chicago is strongly Democratic. There was no chance that a Republican would carry Cook County, so little chance he could win the state with most of the population living up here.
Before we look at cities let’s look at gun deaths by state. These are murders per 100,000 population and the year is 2020, the most recent available. The statistics are reported by the National Center for Health Statistics:
If I give you the next ten you will not find Illinois there either. I would like to point out that Texas is ahead of Illinois in this dubious statistic in 2020, 2019, 2018, and …OK, you get the idea, This will be important later. How many of the above states do you think are Republican?
Where Chicago ranks against other cities depends on the size of cities that are included, whether gun violence or just murders, and it seems, who is doing the measuring. Using “FBI’s 2019 Crime in the United States data, as well as data culled directly from city police officials and the U.S. Census Bureau,” CBS News ranked the deadliest US Cities for 2019. Cities had to have a population of at least 100,000 for this list. Chicago was not in the top 25. So our question is this. If we are going to do something about crime in the big cities, are we going to include all those others? What about all those Republican cities?
1. St. Louis, Missouri
2. Baltimore, Maryland
3. Birmingham, Alabama
4. Detroit, Michigan
5. Dayton, Ohio
6. Baton Rouge, Louisiana
7. New Orlean, Louisiana
8. Kansas City, Missouri
9. Memphis, Tennessee
10. Cleveland, Ohio
“…we need to realize that people who think that, well, maybe if we could just implement tougher gun laws, it’s going to solve it, Chicago and L.A. and New York disprove that thesis. And so, if you’re looking for a real solution, Chicago teaches that what you’re talking about is not a real solution.” -Governor Abbott, Texas (R)
“What he fails to consider is the geography and that is the police department says that 60 percent of the guns used in Chicago come from states like Indiana where the gun laws more resemble Texas and they’re much much easier to get,” said Better Government Association (BGA) investigative editor David Kidwell.
The southern edge of Chicago is up against Indiana. I have taken the Chicago Skyway Bridge and when I get off on the other end, I am in Indiana. Illinois is bordered on the west by Iowa and Missouri, two Republican states, and on the south by Kentucky, home to Sen. McConnell. On the north is Wisconsin which has a Democratic governor after they turned Scott Walker out of office in the last election.
“Shame on you…You are lying about Chicago and what actually perpetuates gun violence. The majority of guns used in Chicago shootings come from states with lax gun laws.” – Governor JB Pritzker, Illinois (D) in response to Governor Abbott
“Instead of coming after my city, take a moment to think about how YOU can stop this carnage. I work day and night to stop the violence. I see the suffering. Open your eyes. Lives are being lost. Be a part of the solution or get the hell out of the way.” -Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Chicago (D)
Then we have this from the Senator whose state has more gun murders than the State of Illinois: “Gun bans do not work. Look at Chicago. If they worked, Chicago wouldn’t be the murder hellhole that it has been for far too long,” Ted Cruz, Texas (R). In the wake of the Uvalde, Texas school shootings, speakers at the National Rifle Association (NRA) convention were busy telling lies about Chicago and gun laws. The fact is Chicago does not have the tough gun laws people think we have. Why? The NRA fought Chicago’s handgun ban in court and won. They fought the ban on gun shops too. In fact, if Chicago proposes any common sense gun laws, they can expect to be sued by the NRA, which many consider a domestic terrorist organization.
July 4th, Highland Park, Illinois parade shooting
There were some news reports that showed the shootings as having been in Highland Park, Chicago. I have driven to Highland Park and have taken the train there a number of times. Highland Park is not in Chicago or next to Chicago. It is not in the same county as Chicago. It is up the “Northshore” where the millionaires and billionaires have their mansions. It is a Republican stronghold. We are sending them our thoughts and prayers since that is all the NRA and the Republicans receiving NRA money allow us to do.
Sources include: “Firearm Mortality by State,” National Center for Health Statistics, cdc.gov, 2020.
“Murder map: Deadliest U.S. cities,” by ELISHA FIELDSTADT, CBSNews.com February 23, 2022.
“Crime in the United States,” by Metropolitan Statistical Area 2019, United States Department of Justice, Criminal Justice Information Services Division.
“Texas Gov. Abbott claims Chicago’s ‘tougher’ gun laws fail to prevent violence are false, BGA finds,” Better Government Association, ABC7Chicago.com, June 4, 2022.
“AP FACT CHECK: NRA speakers distort gun and crime statistics,” by Amanda Seitz, apnews.com May 27,2022.