This is from a very long article by the Chicago Tribune
on the upcoming Supreme Court case.
From behind the wheel of his hulking GMC Suburban, 76-year-old Otis McDonald leads a crime-themed tour of his Morgan Park neighborhood. He points to the yellow brick bungalow he says is a haven for drug dealers. Down the street is the alley where five years ago he saw a teenager pull out a gun and take aim at a passing car. Around the corner, he gestures to the weed-bitten roadside where three thugs once threatened his life.
"I know every day that I come out in the streets, the youngsters will shoot me as quick as they will a policeman," says McDonald, a trim man with a neat mustache and closely cropped gray hair. "They'll shoot a policeman as quick as they will any of their young gangbangers."
To defend himself, McDonald says, he needs a handgun. So, in April of 2008, the retired maintenance engineer agreed to serve as the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging Chicago's 28-year-old handgun ban. Soon after, he walked into the Chicago Police Department and, as his attorneys had directed, applied for a .22-caliber Beretta pistol, setting the lawsuit into motion. When that case is argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on March 2, McDonald will become the public face of one of the most important Second Amendment cases in the nation's history.
Amid the clamor of the gun-rights debate, McDonald presents a strongly sympathetic figure: an elderly man who wants a gun to protect himself from the hoodlums preying upon his neighborhood. But the story of McDonald and his lawsuit is more complicated than its broad outlines might suggest. McDonald and three co-plaintiffs were carefully recruited by gun-rights groups attempting to shift the public perception of the Second Amendment as a white, rural Republican issue. McDonald, a Democrat and longtime hunter, jokes that he was chosen as lead plaintiff because he is African-American. . . .
The family's house was burglarized three times in the 1980s and early 1990s, Otis McDonald says. Five years ago, a teenager pulled out a gun and took aim at a fleeing car in the rear alley. Three days later, that same teenager and two other young men surrounded McDonald's car and, according to a police report, threatened to "off" him. This summer, according to another police report, someone broke into the family's garage.
McDonald says he has spotted drug deals in the back alley and watches with suspicion as flashy cars roll down the street. He disdains the young men who, he notes, wear their "pants hanging off of their butts," and the people who blare their rap music and toss bottles on his lawn.
"To have worked all my life and struggled knowing that anybody who wants to be anything — they can go out there and be something," he says. "But these people, they don't want nothing."
His wife wants to move, but McDonald refuses to be intimidated. Although he keeps two shotguns in the house, he says those weapons would be difficult to handle against an assailant.
"I would like to have a handgun so I could keep it right by my bed," he says, "just in case somebody might want to come in my house." . . . .
Labels: SecondAmendment, SupremeCourt