Thursday, June 17, 2010



“Disarming people and leaving them naked, particularly where security is thin, you have to be pragmatic about this.”

Those were the words of British Major General (Okay, how many of you immediately think of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance whenever you hear the term “British Major General”? Just checking, and digressing, but doing so parenthetically.) Philip Jones used when explaining a new policy of allowing Afghan insurgents to keep their weapons if they sign on to the latest “peace” plan concocted by the Afghan “government.” Though on its face, the policy looks foolhardy, with even a moment’s reflection, it makes eminent sense; Afghanistan is not a place where one wants to be unarmed. To force those who want to cooperate to disarm assures a total lack of cooperation.

General Jones, clearly a more sound military man than the aforementioned Gilbert and Sullivan character, could just as easily, though, been talking about the streets of Chicago and Mayor Daley’s beloved gun ban that looks about to be deep-sixed by the Supreme Court. What sense does it make to prohibit otherwise law abiding citizens, three of whom in recent weeks have been able to dispatch armed home or business invaders to the next life because those citizens had the good sense to defy Daley’s law, from defending themselves from the armed thugs who control so many of this, or any, city’s neighborhoods?

One might argue that, given that the Chicago Police Department is, with the exception of its very highest echelon, perhaps the best police force in the country, security is not “thin” in Chicago. But the police can’t be everywhere and they, at least for now, lack the speed of, say, Flash or Superman. Further, the courts, given their continuing propensity to see criminals as sociology projects rather than, in most cases, unreformable blights on society with nothing but mayhem, or worse, to contribute, do nothing to make the typical cop’s job easier but plenty to make criminals feel more or less invulnerable. So, in many cases, the only thing that stands between the citizen and the designs of the latest sewer carp to land on his property is that citizen’s gun.

It makes no sense to force Afghans who want to cooperate with the “government” we installed to give up their guns; to demand that they surrender their weapons would assure only their utter vulnerability to the tender mercies of those who would never even dream of cooperation and thus continued defiance of allied forces by all parties to that convoluted conflict. Similarly, it makes no sense to force law abiding citizens of Chicago, or of this entire country, to give up their guns; to demand that they surrender their weapons assures only their vulnerability to those for whom laws mean nothing but a minor inconvenience in their pursuit of all manner of thuggery.


Anonymous said...

what is the basis, other than perhaps hometown pride and personal friendships with rank and file, for your assertion that the Chicago police is among the finest in all the land (by the way--how are the cheese shops in Chicago?) I don't dispute that it may be true, but in the light of the current Jon Burging activities in the Dirksen Building, your premise calls out for elaboration.

The Pontificator said...

Doubtless hometown pride and personal relationships with the rank and file have plenty to do with my assertion that the CPD is among the best in all the land. In fact, such hometown pride and personal relationships almost made me say that the CPD is THE best in the land! However, there is more to it than that. Our crime rate is down drastically in the last ten years, even though relative to New York, we are not doing all that well. Even with the high publicity murder cases of the last few months, the overall statistics for crime in Chicago, and especially for violent crime, continue to move in a favorable direction. But those series are affected by many more factors than policing. So there is no objective way of determining which are the most effective police departments. But in Chicago one gets the sense (and I know this is nebulous) that the city is safe and that the police respond promptly and effectively to crime. Also, in a city notorious for its political corruption, the police department, once a bastion of similar corruption (e.g., the Summerdale Scandal of the ‘50s Dick Cain in the ‘60s and ‘70s, Joseph Miedzianowski in the ‘90s and into the early part of this decade), has cleaned up its act considerably; rarely does one hear any more about corrupt cops taking money from drug dealers or other bad guys.

As far as Burge is concerned, remember that he was not convicted of any crimes; he was, indeed, exonerated of the allegations of torture. He is currently on trial for perjury in connection with those earlier legal actions and has not been convicted of that, at least not yet. But assuming he is guilty of all the nefarious deeds of which he is accused (which looks like a stretch at this point in time; a lot of criminals make up stories to in a bid for leniency or even pardon, and few end up hiring the very officers they accuse of torturing them as their lawyers in subsequent cases), he’s been retired from the department for years. He’s history, a history far removed from current procedures and practices in the department.

Cheese shops in Chicago? They’re much better to our north, in the great state of Wisconsin. But the Polish restaurants, the pizza, and the beef sandwiches here are the best in the world!

Thanks for reading and commenting; I plead completely guilty to the hometown pride and personal loyalty you detected and hope it doesn’t cloud my judgment any more than absolutely necessary!