Investigative report proves failure of Chicago's gun control policies

By Gerard Valentino

The Chicago Sun-Times is running an investigative report on the 59 hours of violence that took place over an unforgettable April weekend in 2008. When the dust settled, 40 Chicagoans were added to the countless victims of the unrelenting violence that has long plagued the city. While Mayor Richard Daley blames guns, and gun dealers, for his inability to stop the carnage, The Sun-Times research shows that an ineffective crime prevention policy is more likely to blame.

In 2009, the vaunted Chicago Police Department, which Mayor Daley claims is among the best in the world, cleared only 18% of non-fatal shootings.

That means 1,740 non-fatal shootings went unsolved and left the perpetrator free to attack again. Such a shockingly low number should put in perspective how badly Mayor Daley has performed in his quest to rid Chicago of violent crime.

By admitting that the police haven't been successful in prosecuting those responsible for turning Chicago into one of the most violent places in America, Daley is admitting he has failed as well - something nobody expects the Mayor to do anytime soon. Instead, he can point the finger elsewhere and use the bully pulpit of the mayoral office as a tool to deflect blame.

Criminals are thrilled when responsibility for their actions is placed elsewhere. After all, if Mayor Daley is spending the city's resources to destroy gun rights, he isn't spending them to put them in prison.

Few can dispute that criminals are thriving in Chicago. They do because while Mayor Daley is spending precious city resources on taking gun companies to court, he isn't spending them to help the police crack down on crime. Chicagoans can only wonder how many police officers and anti-crime initiatives could have been paid for with the millions in legal fees Daley wasted in the quest to destroy private gun ownership.

During the same time period where nearly 1,740 non-fatal shootings went unpunished Mayor Daley supported putting an elderly man in jail for using a non-registered gun in self-defense. The resident in question was not only forced to shoot his attacker, he was then vilified as a criminal by Mayor Daley's spin doctors. Such an act is devoid of any semblance of human decency or compassion.

The Sun-Times report also pointed out that even though the Chicago PD claimed an 18% success rate in solving non-fatal shootings, very few ended with a conviction. By The Sun-Times' estimates, nearly 90% of the crimes in question went unpunished.

Considering all the facts, there is a pretty good chance the elderly man probably shot one of the criminals Chicago P.D. failed to put in jail for previous crimes.

In most other cities in America such a dismal performance in stopping crime would lead to a one-way ticket out of office. But, like New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, Daley has done a great job of deflecting blame onto guns.

In contrast, pro-gun advocates accept that only a criminal is to blame for committing a crime.

But there are mitigating factors that can have a profound effect on crime rates. At the top of that list is leaving criminals on the street after they commit unspeakable crimes. When a criminal commits a heinous crime and it goes unpunished, it not only adds to crime statistics but also instills confidence for the next attack.

The logic is really quite simple to follow: if a criminal is arrested, prosecuted, convicted and sent to prison for a violent crime it is impossible for that same criminal to prey on law abiding citizens while incarcerated.

When a criminal goes unpunished, just leaving a violent thug on the street isn't the only damage to public order. In places like Chicago, the victims of violent crime are victimized again when they testify in court only to watch their attacker go free. When that happens it does immeasurable damage since it discourages the next witness from doing the right thing.

The quickest way to turn around a neighborhood is for the citizens to fight back against crime. By testifying against the criminal element, the law abiding can enhance their power by augmenting it with the power of the criminal justice system. That option is off the table in Chicago because the criminal justice system is broken.

By letting the police administration hide behind the excuse that guns are to blame for crime, Mayor Daley also undermines the hard work and sacrifice of cops on the street. Not only do the citizens of Chicago deserve better from the Mayor and Police Department leadership, but so do the rank and file officers who risks their lives by trying to enforce the law in a near war zone.

Until Daley changes or leaves office, the people of Chicago will live with the fear of being the next victim of the unchecked crime so prevalent in their hometown. Granted, there are neighborhoods in Chicago where people don't live under the constant threat of being victimized.

But, that is the exception and is only available to those at the higher socio-economic levels.

The only other exception is Mayor Daley, who hides behind armed guards, has police patrols around his house, and has the peace of mind that comes with being one of the best-protected people in America.

In his mind, the guns in the hands of his own bodyguards are not evil. But the gun in the hands of a scared 70 year-old homeowner who is trying to defend his wife is the real cause of violent crime in Chicago.

Gerard Valentino was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, is a member of the Buckeye Firearms Foundation Board of Directors and the author of "The Valentino Chronicles – Observations of a Middle Class Conservative," available through the Buckeye Firearms Association store..

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