Today must be Irony Day in the Western Hemisphere. First we have Cuba calling immigration enforcement “brutal,” and now we have gun-control politicians demonstrating why the founders passed the Second Amendment in the first place. When challenged by a reporter to explain how gun control makes the city safer when it only disarms the law-abiding, Mayor Richard Daley responded by offering to demonstrate by shooting him:
But even supporters of tough gun regulations—myself included—have to admit that it’s not clear how much they reduce violence. Despite having some of the most restrictive laws in the country, Chicago is a national leader in shootings and murders, and the mayor himself noted that “we’ve seen far too many instances in the last few weeks” of firearm violence, including the shooting that left a cop dead last night.
So I asked: since guns are readily available in Chicago even with a ban in place, do you really think it’s been effective?
I’m hardly the only guy who asks the mayor things he doesn’t want to answer, and I’ve been responsible for at least one of his huffing, puffing, ranting tangents, which generally get the press corps laughing, thus enabling him to move on to the next question without giving a real answer to the one at hand.
But even by those standards, this was a masterful and surreal performance.
“Oh!” Daley said. “It’s been very effective!”
He grabbed a rifle, held it up, and looked right at me. He was chuckling but there was no smile.
“If I put this up your—ha!—your butt—ha ha!—you’ll find out how effective this is!”
For a moment the room was very, very quiet. I took a good look at the weapon. It had a long bayonet. (Was it seized during the Civil War?)
“If I put a round up your—ha ha!”
The photographers snapped away. Suddenly everybody started cracking up.
Daley went on. “This gun saved many lives—it could save your life,” he said—meaning, I think, that getting that gun off the street might have saved many lives, including mine.
Sure — and it put the gun into the hands of petty tyrants, who then used it to joke about killing people who ask tough questions. If Daley wanted to demonstrate the wisdom of the Second Amendment, he couldn’t have designed a better demonstration.
The Second Amendment exists for two reasons. First, the founders knew that law enforcement couldn’t defend everyone against attack — unless they created a police state that would eliminate liberty forever. They encouraged people to arm themselves, an important move in frontier areas especially, where the writ of law didn’t run very strongly. The police are very good at investigating crimes after they occur, but not in providing personal defense, which isn’t their job.
Secondly, arming the populace makes it much more difficult for those in power to seize property and liberty without due process of law. As Daley aptly demonstrated, when only the government and the criminals have guns, they both can dictate at will without fear of opposition. When a reporter asks a tough question, just wield a gun at him and then later laugh it off as a joke.
The people of Chicago need new political leadership, a story about as breaking as the Chicago Fire. But this should demonstrate the end result of the forced disarming of the American public: an out-of-control arrogance of the government.
Update: John Kass at the Chicago Tribune has the video of the encounter:
We should note that Daley never pointed the weapon at anyone, but that hardly negates the stupidity of this incident.