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New York Times editorial page mocks a Chicago son's "hypothetical" defense of his mother


Otis McDonald Photographed by Agent Frederick Jones
  Would the Times say that Otis McDonald's defense of himself and his
wife is "ludicrous?"Otis McDonald acknowledges a standing ovation at the
Second Amendment Freedom Rally in downtown Chicago as his fellow
plaintiffs and their Chicago attorney look on.  From left to right:  Colleen
 Lawson, Adam Orlov,
Otis McDonald, David Lawson, and Chicago
attorney David Sigale.
(Otis McDonald Photographed by Agent Frederick Jones)

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(This piece interrupts a continuing series on the Benson v. Chicago lawsuit, which began here and here.  That series will continue.)

Today, Gun Rights Examiner David Codrea deftly disassembles yesterday's New York Times editorial, "The Hard Work of Gun Control."  Seattle Gun Rights Examiner Dave Workman puts his stamp on it here.

The Times editors are gloomy because it's so darned difficult to get that good old-fashioned big-city gun control passed nowadays. Everybody's always interrupting with silly questions like "But doesn't that violate my inherent human right to defend my life?" and "Ok, ok, but will this even work?"

There's no need to repeat Codrea's able work here, but a perceptive friend of this column called "GarandFan" at noticed a telling quote that others might miss--this quote from the editorial:

"As flawed as the Chicago regulation is, the lawsuit challenging it is entirely over the top. It disputes virtually every aspect of the law as a violation of the Second Amendment and poses ludicrous hypothetical situations to show that everyone needs a gun. “If an elderly widow lives in an unsafe neighborhood and asks her son to spend the night because she has recently received harassing phone calls,” the lawsuit complains, “the son may not bring his registered firearm with him to his mother’s home as an aid to the defense of himself and his mother.” Putting granny in the middle of a neighborhood firefight is preferable to having her simply call the police?"

That might sound like the standard New York Times condescension, but it may have a factual problem.  The passage in the Benson v. Chicago complaint referenced here would seem to refer to plaintiff Raymond Sledge, who explains in the complaint that he lives alone but often spends the night at his mother's home in a high-crime neighborhood on Chicago's south side.  For Mr. Sledge, one suspects, this is not a hypothetical situation at all.  "Simply call(ing) the police" is a good idea, and there's no reason not to call them when a threat appears, but the Chicago Police Department is alleged to be thousands of officers short of its authorized strength and known to have long response times.  If "granny's" adult son is willing to stay with her all night (which the police certainly couldn't do even if they were willing) then it doesn't seem ludicrous at all to ask that he be allowed to keep his registered firearm at her home with him, especially since, under the law the New York Times editors are defending here, he had to pay at least $135, wait at least a month, then pass extensive background checks plus a five-hour training course in order to be allowed to register that firearm.  Where does anyone find the chutzpah to put someone through that obstacle course before he's allowed to exercise a constitutional right and then deride him as "ludicrous" when he has the chutzpah to demand that he be allowed to exercise the right at a different address? 

Although efforts are being made to contact Mr. Sledge for comment, he has not yet responded.  With Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis set to announce Chicago's training requirements and list of unsafe firearms this afternoon, it may be that Mr. Sledge is too busy dealing with threats to what remains of his right to keep and bear arms to deal with chatter from people who are only upset that he hasn't rolled over and accepted his proper place in the Chicago hierarchy.

For more info: See the thread "NYT - "The Hard Work of Gun Control" for "GarandFan's" analysis and letter to the editors of the New York Times. And watch this space for Chicago's new training requirements and list of "unsafe" firearms. Will firearms used by Chicago police officers be included?  How about guns carried by the police details that protect Mayor Richard Daley and Alderman Ed Burke?  We shall see.


  • Matt G 5 years ago

    There are 13,400 sworn police officers in Chicago. Sounds like a LOT, doesn't it? But then consider that the population of Chicago proper is 2.8 million people (greater Chicago metropolitan area is 9.7M.). Then, too, realize that only about a quarter of those officers are on duty at any given time, and you end up with a ratio of one officer for evey 836 people. Then consider that a lot of those sworn officers are detectives and supervisors who don't patrol. But if we ignore that, and pretend that the chief and the captains and the deputy chiefs and the superintendants all get out and patrol, you get about a 1 : 836 ratio

  • Matt G 5 years ago

    Here's the fact, coming from a patrol officer who's given this some study to get a graduate degree in criminal justice: Police VERY RARELY interupt crimes in progress. Police are out patrolling mostly so that they can see things developing, and so that they can be in the neighborhood to respond when something does happen. That is, we are reactive. Laughing it off and telling Mom to just call the cops on a situation that may very well never happen, but which is likely enough to make her scared about it, is the kind of insensitivity that makes me wonder if the author of such a comment ever had a mother. As the officer who must make the decision between trying to justify his camping out at this ONE house for more than a few minutes longer, or patrolling for the other 835 people on my beat*, I can tell you that it would seem like the best idea is to make sure that someone in the house could take care of Mama. __________
    *FWIW, Chicago has one of the best ratios of cops. I'm at 1:4000 here

  • Don Gwinn, Chicago Gun Rights Examiner 5 years ago

    That's what they claim . . . I don't know if you get a chance to read Second City Cop much, but they claim that Chicago is actually at much lower strength than the department officially claims. They speak of ranges from 9,000 to 10,000 sworn!

  • MamaLiberty 5 years ago

    Matt G , bless you! Maybe you'd like to consider coming to Wyoming. You're the sort of PEACE OFFICER we like out here. We don't have gangs, or much crime at all, actually. Most of us are armed, and we know how to use them. Seems the criminals understand that and look for easier victims.

    Might be a tad boring... but you never know - you might come to enjoy it. :)

  • Defender 5 years ago

    The cities are hurting as never before. When they say "Let us handle it" and then can't or won't, it is up to the individual to be prepared to protect self and loved ones. Are you more afraid of a fine or jail time than you are of seeing those you care about killed horribly? No victim of violence expected to die that day, or they would have been elsewhere. Any time, any place, human beings have the right to repel aggression. Even aggression perpetrated by their government.

  • wally 5 years ago

    You can't talk any sense to the Anti-gun people because the common people don't seem to understand that by the time you call the police ' something bad has already happened to you ' and the police can't protect you from something that has already happened to you ( no one can ! ).And the upper echelon of the anti-gun people don't give a sweet $hit what happens to you because with them its a ' CONTROL THING ' and they are lying to you because they want total control !

  • Freeman III 5 years ago

    Typical attitude of those who live in Ivory towers.

    Try taking a stroll through any 'hood' around 11pmish to really see what is up. If you survive without the use of a firearm, you'll probably be packing next time.

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