Following the Las Vegas massacre in October, Donald Trump’s White House put together a list of talking points to help its surrogates argue it wasn’t a gun that allowed Stephen Paddock to shoot 58 people to death in 15 minutes. Among them: “[S]ome of America’s cities with the strictest gun laws have the highest rates of gun violence. Examples include: Chicago last year had over 4,300 shooting victim [sic]”
“What about Chicago?” is a timeworn talking point among Second Amendment absolutists. A red-state gun owner once needled me about my city: “Guess Chicago proves gun control laws don’t work.”
“Chicago proves that local gun control laws don’t work,” I retorted. “They’re worthless as long as you can buy a gun somewhere else and take it across the city limits.”
Trump’s attorney general, Jeff Sessions, tried to blame the violence here on Chicago’s sanctuary city policy, saying it protects “criminal aliens who prey on their own residents.”
Even Hollywood conservatives have gotten into the Chicago-hating act. The original Death Wish movies were set in 1970s New York, a special time and place in the annals of urban anarchy. But with New York’s homicide rate at a historic low, the reboot of the franchise—about a man who exacts vigilante justice on the thugs who’ve made his city uninhabitable—needed a new setting. How about . . . Chicago?! It’s the nation’s murder capital! (It’s not.) When the feckless CPD can’t solve his wife’s murder, surgeon Paul Keysey (played by Bruce Willis) buys a gun and goes on a killing spree, smirking every time he dispatches another victim. To make things worse, the movie features voice-over work by Chicago’s worst radio personality, Mancow Muller.
Then there’s Chicago’s worst columnist, the Tribune‘s John Kass, who sagely remarked of the death of a Rogers Park woman cut down in gang crossfire: “There are many guns in the suburbs, but people aren’t being shot down in the suburbs.”
Why oh why do they hate Chicago so? Saint Louis and Baltimore had the highest murder rates in the nation last year, but conservatives don’t talk such smack about them. A few theories:
• Chicago has been run by Democrats since 1931, longer than any other major city.
• Chicago produced Barack Obama, and attacking the city’s dysfunction is a way of discrediting his legacy.
• Chicago sent Trump into retreat. In March 2016, the city’s well-developed protest culture, which dates back to Saul Alinsky, mobilized against Trump, forcing him to cancel a rally at UIC Pavilion.
• Chicago hates Trump. He got just 12 percent of the vote here, his worst showing in any of the nation’s 15 largest cities.
• Chicago is a blue island. We’re urban, multicultural, progressive, and immigrant friendly—everything conservatives fear and loathe gathered into a mass 2.5-million strong in the midst of America’s otherwise Trump-voting heartland. Chicago’s murders prove that LIBERALISM = DEATH.
The fact that 762 people were murdered in Chicago last year—more than New York and Los Angeles combined—is something we all ought to be ashamed of. NYC and LA did a far better job of taming crack-era gang violence than Chicago. But using those murder victims to score cheap political points is something to be ashamed of too. v