Is the Second Congressional District in the State of Illinois cursed? Those considering the post should think twice. The past three Congressmen have all faced shameful exits. Because of Congressman Jesse Jackson, Mr.’s resignation a special election is necessary for the citizens of the South Side and the South Suburbs.
And again controversy looms as the candidates assemble. As Donne Trotter was on his way to being slated by the Democratic Committee, he was, arrested at O’Hara Airport on December 5 for caring a weapon. He had appropriate papers and the gun was registered. The pundits have dismissed Trotter with what I think are silly questions, regarding his secondary employment as a security guard. A lot of people these days have second jobs and are not obligated to broadcast it.
Trotter has had an unblemished record as a legislator. Congress is a natural career progression and he is an excellent candidate for the spot with a proven track record as a legislator. He has fought for health care for low-income families in Family Care and Kid programs. He is the Chair of the Appropriations Committee and is a member of the State Revenue and Appropriations Committee and The Economic and Fiscal Commission. Of the field of candidates he is the most experienced legislator. He is the right guy now for Washington D.C,. Trotter served in Springfield with then Senator Barrack Obama.
Carrying a gun on an aircraft is a federal offense. Trotter was wrong to have the gun in the bag that he forgot was there. How do you forget the gun in the bag? The courts might throw the book at him, to make him a public example but in his bid for Congress his legislative records should be considered more than his gun. His experienced in the jail cell was most humbly. He now has a new view.
The reality of a Black man carrying a gun on the dangerous South Side of Chicago should be noted. In spite of the police reports stating that the crime rate in Chicago is on a downward trend it doesn’t quite feel like that on Chicago’s South Side. Moving about in the evenings and early night in South Side neighborhoods is cause to carry a gun for protection and out of fear. The police don’t always get there in time.
I may take scorn for telling it, but a lot of Black men carry guns. With the arrest of Trotter, I hope everyone pays attention to registration of the gun they may carry. Why? Scared of the policemen and now scared of the young thug. A lot of Black businessmen carry guns. Why? It is perceived they carry money and they are prime candidates for robbery. A lot of preachers carry guns, particularly on Mondays. A lot of teachers carry guns. They fear the children they teach might have surprise weapons in their backpacks. A lot of alderman carries guns as they perform public duty. Why? Simple. Fear. They are not looking for trouble, but want protection in case it comes. Some argue better to have it than not. Better for the police to lock me up than the thug to shoot. A lot of old black men carry guns. They remember life in a different time. Some Black men, particularly older ones, take second jobs as security guards or in the Sheriff Department so that they can carry guns and have the power of arrest.
I recall being at a heated aldermanic debate some years ago. It was an open forum that got out of hand. As one of the female alderwoman was being physically approached she went in her purse and pulled her gun on the stage and the meeting quieted down, because she was not to be threatened.
I know an elderly Black man who carries a gun open in his car as he approaches his Englewood home. He is regularly arrested. But he smiles and tells the police; the thug won’t shoot me in cold blood. I live in Englewood and I can’t fight. As he pulls into his garage, particularly at night, the gun is on the seat of the car. The policemen ask him why do you carry the gun. His reply is, I am in my nineties and I live in Englewood. End of story.
I know a young man who recently broke his leg and is on public transportation as he travels from home to work. He carries a knife. I argued with him that this was dangerous. He dismissed me because he said you don’t know the streets, like I do.
One Thursday evening, on the way home, seven young men jumped him at the Metro Station downtown on Michigan Avenue. When he pulled his knife they ran away. He called the police and the crime was reported but the young men got away. The young teens probably attended a charter or catholic school, because they had on uniform clothing. I asked the attacked young man what would happen had he not had the knife. He said seven against one, I could be dead, beaten or robbed. He has been robbed on the Metro line before. He said, I am a sitting duck with a cast on my foot. He justified carry a knife. The tough reality is that people are afraid on the streets of Chicago, so many are arming themselves. This is the problem that should gain public focus.
During this holiday time, crime is up. When you read about the gang shootings and killings at the funeral, and the Michigan Avenue stabbings in the bathroom at the high-end restaurant, you think twice about where you travel. You think again about what neighborhood you visit. Is it better to be safe than sorry?
This is the reality of living on the South Side where the crime rate does not appear to be going down. Trotter was wrong to carry the gun, yet understandable. The pundits and the editorial writers should walk a mile in his shoes before coming up with knick names.
I have been to social events, political forums, community meetings and the like with Trotter and have seen him and his staff makes a concerted effort to escort women to their cars for protection.
Trotter is well respected and his likeability is high. I hope this mishap does not take him out of the race and the second congressional misses an opportunity for a well place, well-meaning and experienced legislator.