CNN’s Republican Personalities Try to Have it Both Ways with Chicago’s Gun Violence

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It’s been all over the news this week, as well it ought to be. A warm and festive 4th of July weekend in the Windy City was utterly marred by extreme gun violence. 82 people were shot, leaving 16 dead. Media outlets such as The Los Angeles Times have been quick to label it “the greatest spate of gun violence so far this year.” In a firearm obsessed country such as the United States, this is negatively notable achievement.

I am a lifelong citizen of Chicago and a current resident of the Rogers Park neighborhood, a far north side enclave that is no stranger to guns and gang activity. The Second City has been infamous for its violent reputation for many decades. In a bit of gallows humor, writer Mason Johnson of CBS Chicago observed in Fall 2013, “Thanks to recent headlines, you’d think the FBI rolled out the red carpet and handed Chicago a beautiful, hand-engraved (in cursive!) plaque that reads ‘Murderiest Murder City in Murderland.'”

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It’s so funny, it actually hurts. Though the Independence Day weekend killing spree is remarkable for its extremity, the Times piece observes “1,129 have been shot so far this year in Chicago…There were 2,185 shooting victims in Chicago last year.”

As far back as mid-2012, the Huffington Post ran an article with the lurid but true headline, “Chicago Homicides Outnumber U.S. Troop Killings In Afghanistan.” Chi-town has been out of control for years. But why exactly? We understand the city’s stratification: ongoing problems with gang activity, segregation, and gentrification juxtaposed with municipal neglect. But that doesn’t entirely account for the frustrating aggression of the holiday weekend. Who has the answers? Let’s turn on CNN and see what the channel formerly known as a serious news network has to say.

Wolf Blitzer, conservative host of The Situation Room: “Outrage and finger-pointing today after a holiday weekend bloodbath; 11 people were killed, dozens wounded in a series of shootings not in a place like Baghdad, but in a major American city, President Obama’s hometown of Chicago…this is truly shocking what has been going on.”

Newt Gingrich, former Republican House Speaker and current Crossfire host: “I’m outraged by the degree to which we as a country have not focused on what happened over the weekend in Chicago. At least 82 people were shot, 82 — 14 of them died. It’s really troubling that the country is numb and so indifferent.”

Were these observations uttered by other people, I’d be inclined to join the head shaking. But it really stretches one’s tolerance to the limit to be asked to endure it from members of the party so deep in the NRA’s pocket, they couldn’t get behind minor, common sense reform like the implementation of universal gun sale background checks after the 2012 Newtown massacre.

What’s really behind the violence in Chicago and elsewhere? One simple word: guns. Lots and lots of guns. Though I understand that the holiday weekend carnage wasn’t perpetrated by licensed gun owners, the last thing the city needed was the implementation of Concealed Carry in 2013. If as National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre claims, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” that postulation was put to the test in the Second City last weekend. Guess what? Fail.

The faux outrage displayed by CNN’s conservative media personalities will lead nowhere, as has been the case with so many gun-infused killing sprees before this. And I’m entirely sure that Blitzer’s attempt to connect the violence with President Obama was coincidental. Right?

What’s really shocking is how often representatives from the right try to have it both ways – and expect us to allow it. Gingrich’s liberal counterpart, Stephanie Cutter did her level best to bring the conversation back to the problem of our laughable gun laws. She countered Newty by observing, “I found this report from the city of Chicago Police Department from a month ago that says they do have a gun problem but their gun problem is as a result of illegal guns coming across state lines or from the outside county into the city of Chicago because there are lax laws — lack of gun loopholes that allow people to buy guns without a background check.”

And the network’s Piers Morgan tweeted, “Imagine the uproar if 60 people were shot in a weekend in London/Paris/Rome/Madrid/Sydney? Yet most Americans will just shrug and ignore.”

The only thing that’s shocking and outrageous is using preventable, sustained murder as a headline generator. We could so something as a nation about our rampant gun violence anytime – if only half of our politicians weren’t firmly under the NRA’s thumb. Where’s the outrage about that?

25 Replies to “CNN’s Republican Personalities Try to Have it Both Ways with Chicago’s Gun Violence”

  1. If it bleeds, it leads. If leading causes more bleeding, why, business creates more business. That’s what makes yellow journalism so great!

  2. I’m very tired of people trashing Chicago, and let’s face it, most of it is because Obama is from Chicago. Somehow anything that trashes Chicago is supposed to prove that Obama is not a good President.. or something; I can’t figure out what.

    Now I also live in Chicago. I want to remind people that Chicago is a big city geographically, with about 100 neighborhoods (depending on who is counting and how they are counting.) Many, probably most, of these neighborhoods have violent crime and murder rates that are as low or lower than the surrounding suburbs.

    I regularly walk my dog around midnight near the park a block from my house and I have never felt any fear. Of course, there have been no fatalities or shootings in my neighborhood in years. You would think that is uncommon, considering all of the stuff you hear about Chicago, but it isn’t.

  3. And remember this, from a Politicususa article from last year:
    “Despite the familiar media refrain that Chicago is the nation’s murder capital, the “windy city” does not even qualify as one of the nation’s top 25 most dangerous cities for homicide. Yes, in sheer numbers Chicago leads the nation’s cities in murders, but its per capita murder rate is lower than forty other cities with populations above 40,000 residents. In 2011, the last year where records have been tabulated to compare cities, according to FBI statistics, Chicago, with a per capita murder rate of 15.9/per 100,000 residents, ranked behind over three dozen other American cities.”
    http://politicususa.wpengine.com/2013/07/11/chicagos-homicide-rate-rank-top-american-cities.html

  4. It you look at the stats, even with all the murders in Chicago and the St Louis area, Illinois has a much lower murder rate than most of the Republican southern states.

  5. Shiva…the problem with that data is its extrapolated with an agenda. there are plenty of right wing “links to back that up” as well. the problems is you cant use either in a fair data based argument. im sure they count things like police shooting criminals, and accidental deaths to pad their numbers.

  6. “the last thing the city needed was the implementation of Concealed Carry in 2013.”

    How many CCW permit holders actually are involved a criminal shooting with them as the perps in Chicago?

    If you can’t come up with a significant number than your argument is lost. CCW permit has NOT been the cause of anything. The problem is NOT guns, it is violence and violent crime, and that, Chicago and you, are not facing.

    It is poverty, drugs, hopelessness, and a criminal culture, not a gun culture that hs driven gun crime in that city. Just as elsewhere.

  7. AS long as it’s young black and brown kids getting shot, America doesn’t give a sh^t. I used to think that a lot. BUT after Newtown, I think America doesn’t really give a crap about ANY children, of ANY color. The American attitude towards guns and violence was summed up in this statement:

    – your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights.” Joe the Plumber.

    Political cowardice coupled with public apathy, that’s what it is. Sad, sorry state of affairs.

  8. Sure, guns aren’t and problem, cause all of those 1200 folks SHOT so far this year could have just as easily been beaten with baseball bats, right?

  9. Tybandit, the dead kids are not even proven to exist, n plus yes the do NOT trump the constitution nothing does And you can cry and bitch all you want, but when your in trouble you run to call or scream for a man with a gun, but are not man enough to use one

  10. We have more and more fireworks in Chicago every year, despite very strong anti-fireworks laws on the books. Same with guns; strong anti-gun laws, but there is a big problem: Chicago is right across the border from Indiana. Indiana is a red state with basically very lax gun laws and very lax fireworks laws. It’s very, very easy to get fireworks or guns in Indiana (legally or illegally) and ride back into Chicago.

  11. You might stop the criminal act and come to the conclusion that the criminals are not the ones doing all the shootings. Its your next door neighbors, people down the street, just regular people.

  12. “How many CCW permit holders actually are involved a criminal shooting with them as the perps in Chicago?”

    How many stolen CCW weapons were used? Did you forget that part?

    “…the dead kids are not even proven to exist…”

    In your mind, perhaps. In the real world, there were death certificates issued, after autopsies were performed.

    “but when your in trouble you run to call or scream for a man with a gun, but are not man enough to use one”

    And that’s what it’s all about for this person. Macho posturing, for he didn’t say that you’d yell and scream for a person with a gun. No, it has to be a man, and if you don’t agree, then you’re not a man either. Women with guns he won’t consider. Because he thinks they are too incompetent to be of any help in a shoot out. So you get misogyny, with your macho posturing, which was expected, I guess.

  13. Your first sentence shows you know very little about the problem, or any solutions.

    Your second sentence shows you are propagandized by gun-nut rhetoric, that has nothing to do with the problem.

    It’s lax gun laws in other states that are the problem – now go ahead and ignore what I just said, as I know you’ll do, to make a specious point about Chicago gun violence.

  14. Theresa, I understand your situation which is exactly why nobody is trying to take away your firearms, despite what you have heard from the RW propaganda machine.

    Tell me how universal background checks, disallowing straw man purchases, disallowing military style assault weapons, limit size of magazines, limiting number of weapons purchased within a time period, requiring child-safety locks, requiring liability insurance just like car insurance, requiring passage of competency with firearms tests, allowing actual studies of gun violence, having registration of firearms required, etc. prevent you from being able to protect yourself.

    None of those go against the second amendment, they all guarantee your rights, they all have been shown to reduce violence.

    Give me a logical arguement against any of those and I’ll listen to you. But give an actual arguement. Don’t just say criminals will have guns. We know they will. But it will be harder for them to get them.

  15. You’ve got to be kidding: “The dead kids haven’t been proven to exist”? Positively insane.

    And I’ve always felt SAFER without guns in the house… I live in Chicago. 911 results in people getting here really, really fast. Unless you’ve got that gun loaded and ready to go (very dangerous), by the time the gun is unlocked and loaded, the cops could be here.

  16. Excellent comment, japa21. Sometimes we allow ourselves to get pulled offbase by the “we need our guns; the Democrats are coming to get our guns” stuff. You are absolutely right. NOBODY is talking about confiscating guns. But sensible gun laws are really the issue, and I can’t understand how any sane gun owner could oppose any of the things that you mentioned. Perhaps Theresa, the OP on this thread, would like to respond to you?

  17. Why, why, why must all pernicious, self-destructive behavior be blamed on a piece of metal called a gun? Do guns shoot
    people by themselves? Tell it like it is! People kill people. This anti-gun excuse is getting old. Behavior of humans creates scenarios like what happened in Chicago last weekend. If they didn’t have guns, they’d kill each other for the same stupid reasons, using some other weapon! It is the “THUG” glorification and mindset that kills. Not guns.

  18. This is so dumb I can’t believe it’s even being discussed. Of all the problems in bad neighborhoods in Chicago, gangs, poverty, etc you seriously think it all is the fault of an inanimate object, a gun. And that somehow this is all the fault of citizen s not in the ghetto that haven’t broken a law in their lives for carrying lethal concealed weapons. Unreal.

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