5/21/2010

Mayor Daley flips out on gun control question

OK, Chicago has more murders than any place else in the country and consistently one of the couple highest rates for large cities. Shouldn't Daley be exasperated? Just about the failure to reduce crime.

Irate with a reporter's question on the effectiveness of the city's handgun ban, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley offered to give a first-hand lesson following the shooting of an off-duty police officer.

"Oh, it's been very effective," Daley said, according to MyFoxChicago.com. "If I put this up your butt, you'll find out how effective it is. If I put a round up your … you'll know."

Daley, whose comments came at a news conference on Thursday previously scheduled to discuss the city's ban and a pending U.S. Supreme Court lawsuit challenging the law, became testy when a reporter questioned the ban's effectiveness as the mayor held a rifle confiscated from city streets.

Jacquelyn Heard, Daley's press secretary, later told the Chicago Sun-Times that Daley was somewhat exasperated because the individual asking the question -- a reporter from the Chicago Reader -- was "missing the point that unrestricted guns are a devastating issue" for the city.

"To illustrate the point, he offered what admittedly could be considered a less than ideal example, but it's one that is a stark reminder of how destructive gun violence has been," Heard told the paper. . . .


He later apologized for his comments.

Mayor Richard M. Daley said Friday that he regrets his choice of words when he suggested he'd stick a rifle with a bayonet up a reporter's "butt," but he said he was trying to "shock" the media into exposing gun manufacturers who flood the streets with firearms. . . .

Daley said without the gun ban, people would be in danger from people with weapons such as the one he picked up. But since such weapons can be confiscated, lives have been saved, he said. . . .


From the reporter, Mike Dumke, who asked Daley the question.

Daley also likes to highlight what he considers to be flagrant hypocrisy on the part of the defenders of gun rights. “Now you can’t walk into the Supreme Court—you have to walk in the side way. They’re going to barricade the doors or something now. I mean, they’re barricading the doors but they’re saying everyone else should have guns. That’s the thing that bothers me in Washington. As you know in Washington all things are being barricaded, all federal buildings. But they’re saying everybody else should be able to carry guns.” . . .


So is Daley being hypocritical when he uses armed body guards? Here is how the reporter involved described the event.

So I asked: since guns are readily available in Chicago even with a ban in place, do you really think it’s been effective?

I’m hardly the only guy who asks the mayor things he doesn’t want to answer, and I’ve been responsible for at least one of his huffing, puffing, ranting tangents, which generally get the press corps laughing, thus enabling him to move on to the next question without giving a real answer to the one at hand.

But even by those standards, this was a masterful and surreal performance.

“Oh!” Daley said. “It’s been very effective!”

He grabbed a rifle, held it up, and looked right at me. He was chuckling but there was no smile.

“If I put this up your—ha!—your butt—ha ha!—you’ll find out how effective this is!”

For a moment the room was very, very quiet. I took a good look at the weapon. It had a long bayonet. (Was it seized during the Civil War?)

“If I put a round up your—ha ha!”

The photographers snapped away. Suddenly everybody started cracking up. . . .


Of course, it is understandable why Daley tries to evade the question. See this discussion on Chicago's murder rates.

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