Chicago bans guns then watches its helpless citizens on 10,000 cameras
by Gerard Valentino
Chicago is known as a world-class city, offering everything from a great nightlife to the arts, ethnic cuisine, championship sports teams, top universities, and excellent public transportation.
But Chicago's real claim to fame is its world-class crime. Year after year, violent thugs slaughter Chicago's citizens, making it one of the most violent places in the United States.
The city's answer to this bloodbath is a system of more than 10,000 cameras to invade its citizens' privacy and watch the effects of its draconian gun laws that render citizens helpless.
Cameras only serve to give citizens a false sense of security because many people assume criminals won't commit crimes while under surveillance. Just watching the local news blows that theory out of the water. Nearly every newscast shows video of the latest crime committed in full view of security cameras.
To be fair, there is some evidence that cameras can sometimes shift crime from one location to another, but there is no evidence that they change behavior or reduce crime overall.
And all the cameras in the world can't overcome Mayor Richard Daley's decision to invoke the failed tactics of gun control. Wherever people are disarmed, criminals can choose their victims at will, cameras or no cameras.
One tool alone shifts the balance of power in a violent encounter from the criminal to the honest citizen – a firearm.
It's bad enough that the State of Illinois doesn't allow legal concealed carry for law abiding citizens, but in Chicago keeping a gun for home defense is also illegal. City residents can only hope that the U.S. Supreme Court will rule in favor of the right to bear arms and overturn the longtime ban on firearms ownership.
For the moment, the first, last, and only line of defense for homeowners is the strength of the locks on their doors and windows. Once a criminal gets into the home, the situation has only one possible outcome as long as homeowners lack the means to fight back.
To think criminals in Chicago don't know they have a free pass when committing crimes within the city limits defies logic. And thinking criminals will obey gun laws borders on insanity.
Still, the biggest tangible issue created by the cameras is that citizens believe a city saturated with electronic surveillance is safer than cities that don't employ the same tactics. That simply isn't true, and the Daley administration's assertion that more cameras equal less crime is irresponsible, given that people might be more willing to take risks in areas under surveillance.
Privacy advocates are quick to point out that widespread use of cameras does irreparable harm to the freedom we enjoy as Americans. Others will argue that it is up to the city inhabitants to decide if they will tolerate the cameras since there is no expectation of privacy while out in public.
Not surprisingly, most pro-gun advocates see the intrusion for what it is: an unacceptable trade that removes privacy and provides little if any security.
For Chicago to trample on its citizens Second Amendment rights and create a citywide victim zone is stupid. To erect cameras that do little but observe the mayhem is just cruel.
Gerard Valentino is a member of the Buckeye Firearms Foundation Board of Directors and his first book, The Valentino Chronicles – Observations of a Middle Class Conservative, is available through the Buckeye Firearms Association store.