The .45-caliber handgun found feet from the body of Officer Thomas Wortham IV passed through three states and many hands before a chance encounter at a convenience store set it on its tragic course for Chicago.
It is terrifically hard not to respond with massive amounts of snark at the sentence above. Just the implied imaging of "the gun", under it's own volition, wandering through three states before it committed it's hinus acts in Chicago, without benefit of any human interaction, got my hackles up.
To be fair, the rest of the story gives the details on how this weapon, this tool -improperly used -. arrived in Chicago. But the story which is told, is not the complete one.
1. Why was there a need to go "out of state" to get firearms (of any sort)?
2. Why was an officer shot?
3. Why are gangs as big a problem as they are, and why are they (or must they) be so heavily armed?
4. Why, with the city of Chicago's and the state of Illinois gun laws being some of the tightest in the nation, are they (the criminal element/gangs) able to circumvent said laws?
These are just a few of the questions (some of which are obliquely addressed in the article) which should have been of more importance.
Questions 1 and 3 are tied together. The criminal element (in any city/state) is going to get what they think they need in order for them to continue doing "business". If they feel they are "threatened" by other gangs/criminal elements, or by law enforcement agencies, any of which are perceived to have superior firepower, then they will, if possible, "up the anti" and escalate things on their side. If they have to go "out of state" in order to meet their needs (or even "out of the country", they will do so.
Question 2 sadly is much easier to answer on a couple of levels. First, if you have no real fear of either the law (LEO's) or the ultimate judicial consequences for your acts/actions, then taking the life of a cop is no longer any big deal to you. This holds true for many of the gangs, especially those tied into the drug cartels. Secondly, if you place no value on the lives of human beings (I would have said "other humans", but that is not applicable here), it would follow that you will take what you want, from whom ever you want, when ever you want. After all, your needs/wants/desires, are the only ones which matter.
Question 4 is almost rhetorical. The short answer is, "Because they can". They will continue to do so as long as the system (be it the political "machine", the judicial, or the local society in general) allows them to do so. If the public would consistently raise a hue and cry over the gang/drugs/general lawlessness, vote in (or demand they were appointed by the powers that be) judges who seek to convict and not circumvent/interpret the law, work WITH law enforcement instead of promoting an environment of "them or us". Oh, and how about allowing the citizens to arm themselves (as provided for by that pesky Constitution). When a society has the option to either arm or not, one tends to find a large chunk of the criminal element goes elsewhere. (This is a proven fact, I'm not going to provide a link, those of you who know this already don't need it, and those who refuse to believe it, are welcome to google or bing it.) Perhaps had the local citizenry been armed the thugs may have thought twice about trying to take the cycle (thinking it is bad enough having to possibly deal with LEO's, we have the very real risk of being shot at by anyone).
I feel bad to see yet another of the "thin blue line" has been taken from us. The "good ones" are hard enough to come by as it is, that one was lost for any number of reasons, many of which should have been addressed long, long ago, is figuratively and literally, criminal. That the Chicago Tribune chose to print an emotional heart tugging story about "the evil gun" (and the sad misguided folks who "interacted" with it, on it's "journey to Chicago") which is nothing more than a thinly veiled "anti-gun" rant, is .... well let's just say it goes to show "yellow journalism" is not only alive and well, but happily resides at the Chicago Tribune.
(Cross Posted at Snugg Harbor)