Chicago’s new police superintendent, Garry McCarthy, is gaining some unwanted attention for remarks that he made recently at St. Sabina, the city’s progressive, south-side Catholic Church. Among other things, McCarthy told the mostly black audience that federal guns laws are akin to “federally sponsored racism,” according to the Chicago Sun Times. While it does seem his statements were intended for the specific audience he was speaking to, the underlying message behind his harsh words should not be overlooked.
Talking about gun laws and race might make many card-carrying NRA members uncomfortable, but statistically speaking, minority groups are more likely to be killed by gun violence. In a press release from the Violence Policy Center, it was reported that black women are more than 2 1/2 times more likely to be murdered than a white woman. That same report showed that in 2006, 59 percent of black women who were murdered were killed by a gun. Another Violence Policy Center report shows that 82 percent of all 6,841 blacks murdered in the U.S. in 2008 were killed by guns. The murder rate among this group was almost twice as high as that of Caucasians.
The numbers speak for themselves; minority groups face a higher chance of being killed by a gun than anyone else in this country. The fact that lawmakers cater to the gun lobby does show an unwillingness on their part to do something about gun violence against our most vulnerable citizens.
It seems that no one can have an honest conversation about race and violence. Conservative blogs like Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government have taken to playing the race game right back with sensationalist commentary on the speech at St. Sabina, referring to the church’s priest , Rev. Michael L. Pleger, as having “warm relationships with Louis Farakhan, Al Sharpton, and Jeremieh Wright.” Nothing gets the NRA conservative base more riled up than mentioning those three names together. Not once was the subject of the speech given by McCarthy discussed in the article, only the racial tone and Father Pfleger’s activist roots.
While Garry McCarthy’s statements were sensationalist, and they probably were more candid than what he might say at an official Chicago Police Department news conference, they were honest. They dealt with a problem that Chicago faces every year. His timing for the speech could not have been better. The city always faces a crime wave at the beginning of summer. Every year, residents know that on the first warm day people are going to get shot; lots of people. Residents have come to accept this as a fact, especially in the most dangerous communities in Chicago.
St. Sabina is one of the communities plagued by gun violence, and the residents who were in the church that day needed to hear someone get angry. They have listened to enough politicians tell them that the city wants to reduce crime, always with no results. Seeing the new leader of the CPD give an impassioned speech lets them know that they are not alone in the fight to get their neighborhood back from the grasp of violence. So when people comment about Garry McCarthy’s comment that he was speaking to the “right” audience; what other audience should he have been talking to about guns in the streets?
Chicago residents need to stop accepting gun violence as part of living in the city. We all need to understand that guns do kill people, and keeping guns off of the streets and out of the hands of criminals is the only way to stop the senseless tragedies that saturate our nightly news. The question isn’t whether or not Garry McCarthy was wrong in his statements about the gun lobby and the government. The question is; why does anyone think that the NRA is right to make guns legal?
Stefano Esposito ” Top cop Garry McCarthy likens federal gun laws to ‘racism ‘” Chicago Sun Times
Violence Policy Center, ” Missouri leads the nation in black homicide victimization .” & ” Why men murder women .”
Rebel Pundit ” Chicago police superintendent goes on rant, slams NRA and Palin at radical church .” Big Government