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First diary here (you have been warned)-started off as a comment to Georgia L.'s great http://www.dailykos.com/... (link?!?)
As a Chicago native (south and north-side) and pretty mouthy gun restrictionist, I've spend the past month or so (post Sandy Hook) fending off FA-fetishists on FB (where I yak most) who try (and fail-pffft) to pillory my long-held stance with "the Chicago".

What often gets lost/is never addressed in "the Chicago", is the 2008-9+ economic collapse (for a lot of people in my neighborhood/s - just the latest collapse) really hit the drug trade hard-and if you think its not a part of the overall economy (urban, suburban and rural), then perhaps you'd be interested in an over-priced, stripped of plumbing condo on a block of abandoned tear-downs-cash only courtesy of BoFA. When the best customers, the weekend warriors who had decent jobs, cut back, then the turf battles started.  

But it wasn't always like this in Chicago (more below the sleeping orange panda thingy)

When I was a kid, in a poor, but not really-really poor, Chicago neighborhood, I don't recall ever hearing gun-fire - when there was a ban on importing/selling cheap guns.  

Add in 20-30 years of gentrification pushing people out of affordable housing/neighborhoods, 1,000 fewer cops (despite Next-Mayor-For-Life Black Swan's press parties), a job future for too many that smells a lot like "well you can always make levis in prison", and the cheap, cheap guns of all kinds available/for sale-no questions asked, no limits, no records, no consequences, but lots of profits (except for the victims and their families/friends) in the suburbs and states that ring Chicago and IL make the now daily slaughter all too predictable, even as the numbers get numbing.

So, for the past 20 years or so, I know what gun-fire and semi-automatic shots sound like and can pretty much tell how far off and what direction (should be sad, the world over, to know this, shouldn't it?).

Now, to the why I'm a gun restrictionist - on most things, I believe the needs/welfare of the many outweigh the selfish, delusional desires of the few - we can argue how/who decides this-you know, democracy and stuff - but here's where it gets personal (list not complete-sadly) - why I want our national stupidity on guns to end (in memory/tribute):

-my late aunt - for helping raise the 3 orphaned kids of a friend who's cop husband shot her and then himself - while the 3 kids were in the next room.

-my mother and father - for hiding and destroying the shot guns another aunt snuck away from her abusive husband.

-for K (a college friend) - mental health, employment problems, and guns (7 I recall) and a stand-off with suburban police that actually ended without any injury - he got mental health help then - where are those services now?

-my gun-owning college friends (all from rural areas) who mocked my anti-gun stance - until their "secured" guns were all stolen one Thanksgiving break - wonder where those guns wound up?

-for another relative who in her grief had to clean up the mess from her son's suicide - walls, carpets, floors - they don't often show the clean-up in movies, do they?

-for the friend of a friend, who has a permanent dent in his leg from a drive-by/run-by in park - teaming with kids playing - on a sunny day.

-for the young man with the pretty, long hair who's name I didn't catch, who chatted me up when I moved into an apt in Humboldt Park - he was shot in the face the next week.

-for J. also HBP (not really a good man but he wanted to change according to someone who knew) who was shot down on our block (semi-automatic - that awful sound) - I walked past the blood the next morning on my way to work.

-for another relative - mourning/picking up the family pieces for her nephew - mental health, employment problems, lots of guns (again), and meth - not of the mixy - in a suicidal stand-off with local, rural police.

-for me - for knowing what semi-automatic gun fire sounds like at 5:15am (couple of weeks ago) - and where its coming from and what direction it seems to be going - and wondering if I'll later see another person from my neighborhood turned into a terrible statistic on the news.

Originally posted to shabbedolle on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 02:42 PM PST.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA and Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA).

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks again for your perspective (6+ / 0-)

    and congrats on your first diary!

  •  Yes, I love how every gun enthusiast (7+ / 0-)

    insists that their guns are secure.  They are all the most responsible gun owners in the world.

    What I can't understand is how any of these perfectly secure guns manage to get stolen.  Or used by children.  Or used in an angry dispute.

    I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

    by coquiero on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 03:05:29 PM PST

  •  I lived in logan square for a number of years (5+ / 0-)

    Long time ago.   I grew up in a nearby suburb.  A schoolmate of mine was shot and killed in humbolt.  Another is halfway through a forty-year sentence for 1st degree murder.  Premeditated because he stole his father's handgun.  The history of guns in America is the story of shattered lives.

    "Goodnight, thank you, and may your God go with you"

    by TheFern on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 03:12:24 PM PST

  •  And who's been in charge (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    43north

    of local government all that time?

  •  If the violence in Chicago is drug related (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LilithGardener, 43north

    Why is this about guns, not about the drugs?  We all know the best way to wipe out an illegal drug market is decriminalization.  

    I want to reduce crime rates structurally.  We can't arrest or ban our way out of this.  

    Under capitalism man exploits man, under communism the roles are reversed.

    by DavidMS on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 04:03:39 PM PST

    •  It isn't (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Duckmg, 43north, a2nite

      Chicago was actually one of the only major cities that didn't even really get hit by the crack epidemic. The idea that urban gun violence is the result of drug dealing gangs is a widely held misconception but it really doesn't have much truth to it. Especially in Chicago, all of the major gangs have been broken up, and now what you have are a bunch of smaller "cliques" of pretty young guys, battling each other for dominance. Poverty, urban flight, lack of jobs, distrust in law enforcement, all of that plays a role...drugs are only a small part of it.

      You must work-we must all work-to make a world that is worthy of its children -Pablo Casals Please support TREE Climbers for victims of child sexual abuse and exploitation.

      by SwedishJewfish on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 08:10:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You and the Diary Author make similar points (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        noway2

        1) Urban Flight/Gentrification - two sides of the same coin, each removing working-poor to middle-class housing and with it, neighborhoods which were often stable.

        2) Jobs.  "stitching Levis in prison" was the authors point.
        Yours too.

        3) Law Enforcement.  Not just more cops, better cops.
        Certainly ones that don't go home, shoot their wife and themselves, while the kids are in the other room.
        My experience is that someone was found-out.  Affair, corruption, pending indictment, something.

        4) Poverty, despair, hopelessness, and no desire to live for a better tomorrow.  A tomorrow which experience has proven to be more of the same shit.

        5) Health care, including Mental Health Care.
        When rich people, can't get their kids into treatment, not just "try this pill, let me know if it works"?
        Poor people are totally fucked.  There's no polite way to say it.

        Where you and I have disagreed SwedishJewfish, is where the guns fit in this discussion.
        Guns vector violence, or guns are a symptom of the violence.
        Without the guns, there will still be violence, until the 5 items above are addressed.

    •  The violence in Chicago is about guns (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shabbedolle, a2nite

      People are getting shot right and left.

    •  Does it have to be one or the other? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      43north, a2nite, Lonely Texan

      There are many reasons for problems. To not use as many of them as possible is senseless. Drugs may not be as big a problem in Chicago as other areas, it is likely contributing to some of the carnage.

      Solutions that are not uniform create the problem of all the big cities with strict gun control laws and high gun violence; they are surrounded by places where the lax gun laws allow the sale and transport of the weapons into the cities.

      The numbers that die from murder - suicides and suicides in families and workplaces, are also gruesome. These are often a combination of socio-economic, mental health and other issues that need more public support services.

      Some thoughts I have been suggesting: before we assess or require some kind of insurance to have guns, how about proof of a gun safe. Information on securing guns in registration classes. PSA campaign and in school safety education on securing guns and ammo, not handling one you find, always handling a gun as though it is loaded.

      This suggests another avenue.

      my mother and father - for hiding and destroying the shot guns another aunt snuck away from her abusive husband.
      I am thinking some gun dealers who have secured property and safes could add a sideline service for revenue and safety. Gun owner can take any firearms they are uncomfortable having in the home to the dealer, get a receipt for the gun to reclaim when ready. Seems like the fee could be pretty reasonable. If there is a divorce brewing, job problems, new mental health diagnosis of someone who lives in the home, even going out of town on vacation; might be a good time to just remove a potential weapon from availability. The dealers could be a better option than a friend or family member.

      "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

      by Ginny in CO on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 11:51:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ginny, great suggestion: Secure Bailment (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        a2nite, Ginny in CO, Lonely Texan

        Rec'd for innovative solutions.

        The downside: the illegal guns will never get there, and will remain stuck in a couch, under a car seat, and readily available.

        That's no reason to ignore this as a solution to some of the easy gun access.

        •  It isn't really aimed at illegal guns. (0+ / 0-)

          The number of deaths, orphaned children and maimed from interpersonal disputes is very significant. It won't be enough for them, the mental health and socioeconomic issues need to be addressed too. OTOH, the secure tactics can decrease some of these guns from getting in the hands of criminals.

          It might be possible to tweak it for illegal ones. If the cops had a way for family to turn in an illegal gun to get it out of the hands of a family member without getting into an investigation, etc. a few of those families might have a person just do it. All of the reductions in guns will add up over a decade. The restrictions in sales will decrease the new ones getting to criminals.

          I personally want to do everything that is feasible to save every life that can be. The sooner we start, the sooner we get the numbers down and the statistics will follow.

          "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

          by Ginny in CO on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 08:02:33 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary, thanks (6+ / 0-)

    I recently read the book "There are no children here" about two boys growing up in a housing project in Chicago...broke my heart into little pieces. Since then I've been reading everything I can find about Chi-town and how it got to be the war-zone that it is today (at least in a few unfortunate buroughs) It is very complex, but has absolutely nothing to do with gun control, although the gun control in chicago, as I've found, is really just a paper tiger since they don't apply to the rest of IL, and the Chicago ordinance is barely even enforced.

    Conservatives using "The Chicago" as some kind of trump card is more than a little irritating.

    You must work-we must all work-to make a world that is worthy of its children -Pablo Casals Please support TREE Climbers for victims of child sexual abuse and exploitation.

    by SwedishJewfish on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 08:02:57 PM PST

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