A major highway in Chicago was shut down by gun control protesters on Sunday.
Thousands of protesters came out for a march that closed all the northbound lanes of the Dan Ryan Expressway. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel had given the protest his tacit support, and even the Chicago police superintendent had agreed to allow the protest to go forward.
Illinois state police have jurisdiction over interstate highways, however, and they had threatened to arrest anyone who illegally walked onto the highway for any reason.
But the cops didn’t get their way, partially because there were simply too many people present to arrest. After a long negotiation between the Illinois state troopers and the leaders of the gun-control march, the protest was allowed to go forward.
Chicago has been hit hard by gun violence in recent years, despite being one of the cities with the strictest gun control systems in America. But apparently the incredibly restrictive laws already in place aren’t enough; people like Catholic Reverend Michael Pfleger and the “reverend” Jesse Jackson are demanding more laws.
Because the solution to criminals breaking the law is, according to these idiots, to pass laws punishing those who aren’t breaking them.
There was also a controversy between Illinois’ governor Bruce Rauner, a Republican, and the march leader, Catholic Priest Michael Pfleger. (Pfleger has become a major gun-control advocate in the Chicago area.)
Rauner stated, just before the march began, that Pfleger and others had agreed to keep their protest march to the shoulder of the highway, instead of blocking all northbound traffic on the road.
Pfleger called that statement a lie in a tweet, and told supporters their protest would go on just as planned. Rauner responded by calling the highway shutdown “unacceptable” later in the day, and voiced his disappointment with Rahm Emanuel.
Rauner called on Emanuel to “take swift and decisive action to put an end to this kind of chaos.”
Rahm Emanuel responded by tweeting “It was a peaceful protest. Delete your account.”
Which is about the level of poise and maturity one would expect from ol’ Rawhide Rahm.
People who were marching in the protest said they were calling for “commonsense gun reform,” which is a code-word of the left for restriction and eventual confiscation of guns that are not used in the vast majority of crimes.
However, at least the people of Chicago are doing something. Some marchers were marching to draw attention to what they believe are the root issues of gun violence: poverty, joblessness, poor schools. And that’s not very wrongheaded, actually. Rather, it’s right on the money.
The problem in Chicago is not that there aren’t enough gun laws. Chicago actually has quite strict gun laws (though its handgun ban was struck down by the Supreme Court). The problem in Chicago is that there are too many gangs and not enough peaceful and productive alternatives for young men to pursue. Gangs are the way to prosperity and security for too many young Chicago men. And with gangs comes gang violence.
At issue is not the presence of guns in the city. What’s really at issue is ultimately an attitude of deep nihilism that sinks into young men in the inner cities, usually from childhood. They believe their own lives don’t matter, they believe the lives of their rivals don’t matter. Bloodshed then becomes nothing more than a means to advance in the world.
Chicago can, and should, combat this nihilism with real opportunities for urban youth. Better schools and more job programs would do immensely more to reduce gun violence than more laws.
And lots of the people marching in Chicago yesterday knew that. But they decided to call their event a “gun control march” instead of a “poverty control march.” So, ultimately, they’re choosing to advocate for more failed laws, more death, and a continued cycle of violence.
And that’s a real shame.