So, it takes a lot for me to look someone in the face and say "You're full of shit." Outside of Wayne Lapierre and the NRA nuts (they're not all nuts, but there's a very vocal minority, emboldened by a dirtbag leadership, that just keeps the boat rocking), I'm generally a live and let live kind of guy.
However, the other day a friend sent me a blog post that she came across, located on the site Chicago's Hottest Blog (impossible, since this is the hottest blog in town), it was an article entitled "Cops Give GUNS To Chicago Gangs?"
By now, you've probably heard the story. FBI agent stops at a gas station for gas. Leaves his car on, and unlocked. Goes to pay for the gas, and voila, someone hops in the car and drives off. Inside the car is tactical gear, and several firearms, including two Glock handguns, an M4 rifle, a stun grenade and ammunition.
First time this has ever happened? Absolutely not. However, it didn't take long for the theories to start flying, many of which hovered around the idea that the agent actually intended for the car to be stolen, concluding a transaction for the firearms in the vehicle.
This is the angle that the blog takes. He then goes on to link his story to a BBC mini-documentary on the violence in Chicago, The Lost Streets of Chicago. In it, rapper Bo Deal talks about how many guns there are in the streets;
"I've never seen so many guns like now, ever. It's like they dropped off crates of guns in everybody hood, like it's designed for a motherfucker to lose."
Now, I'm not sure if this is where the crates of guns being left on corners and in alleys comes from, but it has taken off like wildfire. This was exacerbated by a guy saying that he's actually seen a crate of guns left in an alley:
Now, there is so much to get a handle on here, I don't know where to start, so I'm just gonna rum it down by the numbers;
- I feel like the author of this article is asking questions that anyone who knows anything about the current state of gun violence in Chicago can answer. The University of Chicago Crime Lab is an NGO that actually studies these things. We can take their info and data and actually answer the questions that he asks without some fantastical story of crates of guns popping up on street corners like lemonade stands. How are teenagers getting guns? How are convicted felons getting guns? How are all these guns getting into the hands of vicious thugs?
Well dear sir, allow me to introduce you to my friend, the straw purchaser. He's making tons of money off of your neighborhood.
Guns in Chicago can come from far away as Mississippi and Texas, places where gun laws are much looser than Illinois, and let's not forget our dear old friends in Indiana. I bet they sell a lot of AR-15's in Indiana.
- Does police corruption exist? Chicago has a long history of dirty cops. I have met a lot of Chicago cops, notably in my political and activist work, who at least appear to be stand up people and to have the best interest of the community at heart. However, we know that corruption happens at all levels of government. Though not in Chicago, what immediately comes to mind is the Los Angeles Police Department Rampart Scandal of the late 90's, one of the most widespread cases of documented police corruption. Here in Chicago, you need only look back a few years to the Jon Burge Scandal, and his torturing of innocent men for false confessions. However, do I believe there is an orchestrated dissemination of guns in the southside of Chicago by the Chicago Police Department, absolutely not...and here's why.
- Why isn't there proof? Everyone has a video...or pictures. I've personally spoken to people who believe that the government is leaving crates of guns in their neighborhood, but when you ask "have any of you actually seen a crate of guns in this neighborhood?", everyone looks slack jawed. No, they haven't. Because, they don't exist. If they did exist, we'd at least have pictures, because no one can keep secrets in the hood.
- What would the end game be? If you told me, as I've mentioned, that cops were selling guns...I could believe that. I once had a very intelligent academic tell me that you can tell almost any story through the lenses of money and power, because people will do some wild s**t for money and power. But, where is the gain in dumping guns? Who's getting paid? Who's paying? Is it just to dismantle the community? That seems an extremely risky and minimally controllable way to do it. I simply don't see the upside to that equation.
- So, it takes a lot for me to look someone in the face and say "You're a piece of shit". However, allow me to address the claims in the above video, and allow me say this as clearly as I can; If someone in my neighborhood comes up to me and says "Hey, there's a crate of guns in the alley," and when I ask, "Did you call the police?", and their response is anything other than "hell yeah!", my next response is going to be:
Pick a hand...
because I'm about to give you what you deserve: an a** whooping. If someone finds a crate of guns in your neighborhood, and they try to rationalize to you why they're not going to turn them in to the authorities and are going to attempt to benefit off of them, you should just go ahead and beat the brakes off that person, because they are, unequivocally, a piece of s**t.
Is the government dumping guns on the south side of Chicago? No!
Are there corrupt cops possibly dealing guns in our fair city? Now that is a possibility, however that would denote community members helping in said gun trade, and that is just as unforgivable as a crooked cop.
We have to stop rationalizing criminal behavior. We have to stop rationalizing "going along to get along", and we have to stop enabling and embracing those who destroy our communities. You're out shooting people and selling drugs? You're no friend of mine.
And as my Uncle Olaf used to say, that's how the cookie crumbles.
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