Fearmongers and Hypocrites in the Gun Debate

It was a year ago this month that a crime wave was supposed to sweep the streets of Chicago

The Supreme Court ruled that the city’s handgun ban violated the rights of residents, making the ownership of such firearms legal after they had been banned for almost 20 years.

Gun control activists were just sure that legalizing handguns was going to be a bad thing.  After all, murders in the Windy City had been spiking during the months leading up to the Court’s decision.  How could “introducing more guns into the mix” make people safer?

Well, just ask the 45-year-old Chicago woman who recently killed an intruder in her home.

“I was scared for my life,” she said, relating how she opened fire with her handgun after the burglar confronted her with a tire iron in her basement.  “I thank God that I'm still here.”

It’s good to know that there are some people who are happy the Chicago ban was ruled unconstitutional.  Sadly, few of them are on the City Council, which responded to the McDonald v. Chicago decision by enacting new “emergency” restrictions on firearms. 

But those controls aren’t making a whit of difference in keeping bad guys from getting firearms, and they’re only making it more difficult for law-abiding residents to protect themselves. 

Even so, people like this Chicago woman now have the ability to legally purchase handguns, and that is helping save lives -- much to the shock of those who had predicted nothing but doom and gloom in the wake of last year’s Court case which upheld individual gun rights:

* “The Supreme Court gun decision moves us toward anarchy,” said David Ignatius of The Washington Post.

* The Court’s ruling “could prove far more destructive -- quite literally -- to our nation’s communities,” said Supreme Court Associate Justice John Paul Stevens (who is now retired).

Not to be outdone, then-Mayor Richard Daley stated that the key issue in the Chicago case “is nothing less than the safety of our streets.”  More parents and children would die, he predicted, if “guns [become] too easily available in our society.”

But one must now ask the all-important question on this one-year anniversary:  since the Court ruled against Chicago and guns have become more available, did crime rates skyrocket as Daley & Co. predicted?

Well, not quite.  While Chicago’s murder rate was on the rise before the Court’s decision, it has plummeted in the months since handguns were made legal (in relation to previous years). 

Last year marked a 45-year low in Chicago’s murder rate, and the trend continues to look optimistic.  This year, it took longer for the city to reach 100 homicides than it did last year -- another sign that Chicago is experiencing fewer murders.

In other words, Daley & Co. were completely off target.  How can all these fearmongers be taken seriously when their predictions have been so horribly wrong?

Fearmonger:  “Someone who stands to gain power, influence or funding by spreading fear in the general population.”

Get that.  It doesn’t matter if a fearmonger’s prediction ever materializes.  A fearmonger only wants to scare people into adopting his solution to the problem.  For Daley & Co., the fear of what could happen is intended to frighten everyone into supporting even more gun control.

And that’s why it’s helpful to go back and examine some of their statements.  After all, one way to test the validity of someone’s world view is to see how well he can predict the future. 

Whether it’s Harold Camping telling us when the world is going to end, or Barack Obama explaining that his stimulus package will keep unemployment under eight percent, or a big city mayor promising that more gun control will keep people safe … if they can’t correctly forecast the future, then it shows the world their ideas are fundamentally flawed.

No wonder that the fearmonger usually loses his cool when his predictions fail to materialize.  Such was the case with Mr. Daley, who got testy with a reporter when he was asked about the effectiveness of his city’s handgun ban which was enacted in 1982.

“It's been very effective,” Daley snarled, grabbing the gun off the table in front of him. “If I put this up your -- your butt, you'll find out how effective it is. If we put a round up your, ha ha.”

Richard, you’re so funny.  We’re all laughing … not!  Actually, people are laughing at Daley, but it’s because of his hypocrisy.

Hypocrite:  “A person who engages in the same behaviors he condemns in others.”

That describes Richard Daley, who fought to keep Chicagoans defenseless when he was in office.  But now that he’s retired, he wants full-time protection that most mortals simply can’t afford.

While most residents of the city need to spend hundreds of dollars and wait several weeks to buy a legal handgun, outgoing Mayor Daley demanded five armed bodyguards to protect him -- all at the taxpayers’ expense, of course.

Mr. Daley doesn’t have to pay a dime, and he doesn’t have to fill out any paperwork. 

Maybe if we forced hypocrites like Daley to live under the laws they want to impose on everyone else, then maybe … just maybe … they’d understand the ineffectiveness of gun control.