What About the NRA?

Re: “Under the Gun: Aldermen rush through a gun-control law they’ve barely read to replace a gun-control law nobody seems to have enforced. Who really benefits? Mayor Daley,” by Mick Dumke, July 8

Mick, I know you’re the City Hall reporter, but frankly, I’m shocked and appalled that the Reader itself wouldn’t bother to look into what’s really behind this whole issue and help open the public’s eyes about what’s really going on. The NRA and the gun industry are running rampant in DC and around the country, exempting themselves from federal laws that apply to everyone else (e.g., the DISCLOSE Act, which just passed Congress last week—at the urging of DEMOCRATS—exempts the NRA from campaign finance reporting that applies to every other organization, and that’s just the latest example) and using minority plaintiffs to sue hundreds of states and cities for putting in place reasonable gun restrictions. The gun industry is making ENORMOUS profits off their propaganda and off the sales of DEADLY WEAPONS, and their current push, which is to profit from gun sales in low-income minority communities, is downright despicable. And believe me, last week’s Supreme Court decision was just the beginning. . . . The Reader is always so quick to point out how big biz is taking advantage of the little guy . . . so, why not on this issue? —wakeup

Mick Dumke replies:

Wakeup: You raise some good points. I may not agree with all your conclusions but I’m also not claiming there aren’t serious political agendas at work from gun-rights advocates. However, that doesn’t mean Chicago officials shouldn’t be asked to explain why this gun legislation they’ve just rushed into law is necessary and what else they’re doing to fight violence around here. Right?

Wakeup, IllinoisCarry.com is who sponsored the event . . . last week in Chicago. It was for the most part organized by Gerald Vernon, who is an African-American who teaches Inner City Studies at Northeastern Illinois University. The NRA was not involved, did not sponsor it, and provided ZERO funding for that meeting, so it would be great if you ceased perpetuating that falsehood.

As far as “low income African Americans” go—perhaps they can speak and think for themselves. Maybe they actually have brains and don’t need to be treated like children. Maybe their lives are worth defending, and maybe they can make that choice for themselves. Holy crap, do you have any idea how patronizing and elitist you sound saying things like that? . . .

I carry my guns to shoot people with, because some people need to be shot. Not murdered, not assaulted, not needlessly threatened with, but shot when they engage in behavior which threatens the lives of the innocent—and what’s more, they need to be shot NOW. Not in 10 minutes when the police arrive . . .

In the meantime, I’ll continue to train women and minorities (especially gay and lesbian) and students in the art of self defense with firearms. I’ll also continue to sleep well at night with that stack of letters and e-mails on my desk all thanking me for saving lives. Yeah, that’s right, people actually save life with their handguns, and it happens every day.

When you can provide a better solution than a handgun to a 110 lb woman with a stalker who is making death threats towards her and her children, I’ll be all ears. —LibertyForAll

Unfair to Daley

While I very much appreciated Mick Dumke’s report (loved all the non sequitur quotes from Daley and his crew), I question the image that was chosen to accompany it. This makes two recent Reader covers which feature Daley holding a handgun. Is that really fair? While I think his efforts to curb violence are ripe for criticism, clearly he is not a proponent of handgun use. Why portray him as one in these images?

Dumke’s reporting was a calm presentation of the facts. The image is incendiary and likely to turn off many Daley supporters. How many people will see that image and immediately choose not to bother reading the article, assuming that it will be a screed?

I know you want to get noticed. But what good is it if you’re noticed and summarily disregarded? —tigertooth

Huberman’s Timing

Re: “Huberman’s Miracle: A sop to parents—and a slap at the teachers’ union,” by Ben Joravsky, July 8

Ben—you’re way off on this. The State of Illinois . . . restored certain funding the day before that press conference, hence the need for the add backs. This wasn’t cooked up by CPS and constructed to make Huberman look good, it occurred because the state added funding back that they previously had proposed cutting. They also gave CPS a significant payment to cut down on the $400+ million they were owed. Kind of surprised you didn’t catch this, anyone that follows education in Chicago or Illinois would have been aware of this. —tt

And according to the Tribune most of those decisions were made well before the group Ben mentions began protesting the cuts. This comes directly after I praised Ben not once but twice for never distorting the facts and arguments made by those he is complaining about. —The original IAC

Ben Joravsky replies:

I’m a big boy—rip me when I’m wrong, but in this case, I’m right. That $400 million pension payment break mentioned in the Tribune article you refer to? It swept through the General Assembly back in March. You can read all about it in a March 24 Tribune story from which I quote: “The legislation also would provide some relief to Chicago Public Schools, allowing the system to skip teacher pension payments for three years to give the district financial flexibility while its leaders struggle to fill major budget gaps.” The point is—this stuff was old news long before Ron Huberman called his June 28 press conference. In fact, the Raise Your Hand people wrote about it on their website on May 28. For weeks, teachers and parents have been asking each other: When will CPS update its projected deficit? Like I said in my story, they were just waiting for their right moment.