>REACT: Crime and punishment, Chicago style.

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I suspect Chicago Mayor Richard Daley is steaming, as only he can. Seems that the streets of his kingdom have become significantly less safe. Crime has “spiked,” as they say. This means the gang bangers, robbers and rapists are running amok. Public school students are being gunned down at a rate of one a week.

It is sooooo bad that our the ever-grandstanding Governor Rod Blagojevich — sensing a headline — proposed sending in the National Guard and helicopters to police the streets of Chicago, calling the Mayor’s turf “out of control.” Ouch! Double ouch!!

Of course, the Governor got his headline — in fact the entire cover of the Chicago Sun-Times with him caricatured as the quintessential cowboy sheriff. I only hope there were no City Hall staffers within paperweight distance when the morning paper hit the Mayor’s desk.

Already, the new police superintendent, Jody Weis (left), had been brought to the Mayor’s fifth floor City Hall office for a private (leaked to the media) dressing down. He was then dragged before the entire city council for a more public flogging. Maybe the top cop will be the next Daleyite to be tossed under the bus to protect Hizzonor from blame.

Much of the Mayor’s angst has to do with the Olympics. Getting a gold medal for crime is not the way to impress the International Olympic Committee.

In response to the crime wave, Daley resurrects his harangue about gun control. Somehow he cannot get it through his stubborn skull that his version of gun control is not the answer. Has not worked. Will not work. In fact, it may be a part of the problem.

For God sake, there is a total ban on gun ownership in Chicago, except for alderman and criminals. (Am I repeating myself here?) What more can you do? Fortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court may force the city to restore the constitutional right of self protection in the City of Chicago, where police protection is less than assuring. Repealing the gun ban could do more to reduce crime (and the number of criminals) than wimpy regulation and outraged pronouncements.

Daley is also offering a bounty for guns turned into the city — for pounding into plow shares, I assume. This effort brought in more than 6000 guns in the past (about 10 plow shares worth). But what was he actually gotten off the streets? Broken guns, guns owned by honest citizens who never harmed a soul, stolen guns (yeah, people actually committing a crime to get the bounty), BB and pellet guns and even toy guns. As far as can be determined, it does not appear that the violent crooks (currently busy raising the crime stats) surrendered a single gun.

This year, the program is not going so well. I think it is possible that in view of the Supreme Court decision and the rise in Chicago crime, the people are hanging on to their weapons.

Daley has not figured out that if you cannot disarm the criminals, there is no benefit to disarming the God-fearing public. Maybe if the public had guns, the Governor would not need to send in reinforcements.

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