President Barack Obama has been chided for failing to keep his promise to visit the South Side of Chicago, which he dubbed “his Kennebunkport,” every six to eight weeks, [Obama`s Chicago visits: Mixed feelings on infrequency of trips home, By Katherine Skiba and Becky Schlikerman, Chicago Tribune, April 12, 2011] But on Friday (February 15) he returns to one of the largest concentrations of black people in the world to push for more gun control. [Obama coming to Chicago to `talk about the gun violence`, By Ellen Jean Hirst, Naomi Nix and Jennifer Delgado,Chicago Tribune, February 11, 2013]
Obama will use the gun violence in Chicago, in particular the murder of 15-year-old Chicago public school “honor student” Hadiya Pendleton, whose majorette squad had participated in Obama’s inauguration festivities a few days earlier, as a symbol for restricting firearms all over America. Pendleton was gunned down not far from the Chicago residence of America’s First Family. Her four-hour funeral was attended by the First Lady herself. [Hadiya Pendleton funeral: Joyous memories, bitter facts about gun violence, By Dahleen Glanton and Bridget Doyle, Chicago Tribune, February 9, 2013] and Obama invited Cleopatra Pendleton, Hadiya’s mother, to Tuesday’s State of the Union address.
But the violence in Chicago and the “random” shooting of Pendleton—just one of the 51 homicide victims and 185+ gunshot victims in the city of Chicago in 2013 as of February 14—are a fatally flawed symbol of the need to force the American people to surrender the Second Amendment and their right to bear arms.
No—rather, the South Side of Chicago and the condition of the almost entirely black community there instead symbolizes why the Second Amendment must be protected at all costs.
Recall that Chicago was one of the first major cities to eliminate its citizens’ right to purchase handguns—in 1982, its city council passed what amounted to the strictest gun control laws in America. This coincided with Chicago’s black population overtaking the white population for the first time in the city’s history. Chicago was more than 85 percent white in the 1950s, but massive migration of blacks from the South and white flight from the city reshaped the demographics of Chicagoland.
It is the black population’s propensity to commit robberies, assaults, and murder using guns—even though they are illegal in Chicago—that threatens to destabilize the city, scaring away tourists, driving away capital investment, aborting gentrification. (There’s a riveting account of this mayhem in Sudhir Venkatesh’s 2008 book Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets).
This is a city where
- 94 percent of the gunmen who shot and wounded someone in 2012 got away without criminal charges [Most Shooters In Chicago Don`t Face Charges, By Mark Konkol, DNAinfo January 24, 2013]. (The number was 91.5 percent in 2011).
- the embattled Chicago Police Department will no longer respond to pesky 9-1-1 calls that merely report “criminal damage to property, vehicle thefts, garage burglaries, or other crimes in which the suspect is no longer on the scene, and the victim isn’t in immediate danger” [Chicago Police Changing Response Plan For Some 911 Calls, CBS Chicago, February 4, 2013] in a bid to free up additional officers to patrol, ahem, majority black areas of the city.
- The Rev. Jesse Jackson—when he isn’t calling gun rights supporters “domestic terrorists” – is calling for the Department of Homeland Security to patrol the streets.
Incredibly, the death toll by murder in Chicago over the past decade is greater than the number of American soldiers who have died in Afghanistan since the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom:
Of the victims of murder in Chicago from 2003 to 2011, an average of 77 percent had a prior arrest history, with a high of 79 percent of the 436 murdered in Chicago in 2010 having arrest histories.
For the same 2003-2011 period, blacks were the victims of 75 percent of 4,265 murders. Blacks also were the offenders in 75 percent of the murders.
According to 2010 U.S. Census information, Chicago has a population of 2,695,598 people. The city is 33 percent black, 32 percent white (not Hispanic), and 30 percent Hispanic or Latino in origin.
For the 2003-2011 period, whites were nearly 6 percent of the victims and accused of carrying out 4 percent of the murders.
For the 2003-2011 period, Hispanics or Latinos were 19 percent of the victims and 20 percent of the offenders.
Chicago murders top Afghanistan death toll | City where no handgun purchases allowed sets pace for violence, By Mihcael Thompson, WND, January 16, 2013
The plain and unspeakable truth is that it is the black population itself that is responsible for creating conditions where law-abiding citizens flee and where 15-year-old girl can be shot walking home from school. But not only is this truth unspeakable, it is literally inverted in the MSM. Thus columnist Susan Reimer (email her) recently racialized the gun control debate by lamenting that “angry white men” showed up a debate in Prince George’s County and contributed their voice to a national dialogue that should properly ensure they have no voice at all.
But [Democratic Governor Martin O’Malley’s] opponents — primarily white men, and a few white women — continued to mutter and grumble loudly in discontent….
I was surprised at the way the African-Americans were taking the punches. According to the U.S. Justice Department, 51 percent of those killed by guns between 1980 and 2008 were black, yet African-Americans make up only about 13 percent of the population. Where is the righteous anger?…
Gun violence is a scourge in so many black communities, families, churches, schools. It is the leading cause of death among young black men. And yet it seemed those in the audience Tuesday night were willing to let those angry white men, with their National Rifle Association talking points, hijack the conversation.
[Rage and resignation at the gun control town hall: Susan Reimer says angry white men are having their say on the gun issue, Baltimore Sun, February 6, 2013]:
If you really want to see the State of the Union in 2013, go look to Obama’s adopted hometown of Chicago.
But, remember, if you get mugged, dialing 9-1-1 will no longer generate a response from city’s police.
Paul Kersey[Email him] is the author of the blog SBPDL, and has published the books SBPDL Year One, Hollywood in Blackface and Escape From Detroit, and Opiate of America: College Football in Black and White.