Mayor Richard Daley expressed sadness and outrage in the wake of the Arizona shooting rampage, and said the incident is yet more evidence that stronger gun control is needed. …
“But unfortunately, events like this happen far too often in America. We have to come back with some common sense gun laws. I mean no one should have that type of weapon, that kind of magazine on the streets of America.” …
“It isn’t what your beliefs are, it’s basically access to guns . . . we have a killing machine going on because of guns,” he said.
I was waiting for the right time to respond to the Giffords tragedy and I guess this is it.
First: Rep. Gabrielle Giffords did not deserve to be shot. Let’s get that clear. The situation is a national tragedy. My heart goes out to not only the injured and their families, but everyone who was at the scene and has to live forever with that memory. It must be brutal.
Second: despite calls for civility for over 200 years, mudslinging is part of politics. Free speech is the law of the land (thankfully) and the Supreme Court has ruled — many times ruled — that the solution to bad speech is more speech, not less. You got a problem with someone you talk it out. You do not shoot them.
Now then, with that out of the way…
Daley’s reaction, and the media’s reporting of the story as a whole, is itself abysmal and tragic. Is this news? Of course. But this story is blown way out of proportion.
First: Daley’s quote, “It isn’t what your beliefs are, it’s basically access to guns . . . we have a killing machine going on because of guns,” shows just how dumb this guy really is. This event occurred because of guns about as much as DUI’s occur because of cars. If this lunatic drove a van full of explosives into the crowd and went boom would the mayor want to ban vans? Of course not. This event happened because of one thing, an evil man.
Second: Six people dead and 14 injured. That happens nearly every week during the summer in Chicago. Every week in June, July, August. Over and over and over again. Year in and year out. And where is the national story, the outrage, the discussion by the talking heads? Where’s the policy wonks talking about why and how to solve? Why isn’t Dianne Sawyer on location in Lawndale interviewing survivors?
A one time spree killing by a madman is going to happen from time to time. Such events simply cannot be prevented.
Another national tragedy is that we’re allowing hundreds of our youth, mostly African-American males, to be gunned down in the street and it receives little to no attention. Either the media doesn’t care, or the society doesn’t care. Either way it bodes badly for our city and for America.