Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Attacks on men in Lincoln Park continue

It happens every few months in Chicago. The typical situation: women walking alone at night are sexually assaulted in North Side neighborhoods with high concentrations of white women, such as Lakeview and Lincoln Park. Last week and yesterday, men were the target--just robbery. In Monday morning's incident, apparently the victim used a bike lock to fight off his attackers while giving up $137.

These perpetrators know they are preying on an unarmed and disarmed populace. Possession of handguns in Chicago is illegal. When the handgun ban ordinance went into effect in 1982, handgun owners were allowed to keep their weapons, avoiding an unpleasant situation of mandatory turn-in or possible door-to-door confiscations. I do not know if "grandfathered" handgun owners are permitted to replace non-working weapons. I do know Chicago Police Headquarters in Bridgeport, at 3510 S. Michigan Ave., has a "Handgun Registration" window.

The biggest proponent of the handgun ban is Hizzonerdamare Richard M. Daley, who has 24-hour armed, taxpayer-financed Chicago Police protection, as well as a taxpayer-financed Chicago Police squad car in front of his South Loop home at all times.

I sympathize with the victims and anyone who must walk alone at night in the Windy City. From my days of being Carless in Lakeview, there were a few very scary incidents. Fortunately, none resulted in violence or the loss of my wallet/cash, thank G-d. But I know I would have felt so much safer if I had been able to carry a handgun with me, on my person. (Concealed carry is illegal only in Illinois and Wisconsin. The other 48 states respect their citizens' constitutional rights.) Thanks to Chicago law, I was only permitted my wits and pepper spray. Pepper spray is ineffective on attackers under the influence of controlled substances, and many of them are, desperate for cash to fuel their addictions.

The sexual assaults are obviously more serious than robbery attacks, although one victim last week was hospitalized with a broken jaw. I keep hoping that one night, a potential victim will whip her handgun out of her purse and blow her attacker's head off. I would pay to see Mayor Daley's press conference the next morning. What could he say? Would he congratulate the heroine? Would he be furious at her for daring to defend herself in Daleyland, his imaginary crime-free metropolis? Would such an incident encourage the aldermen to consider repealing the handgun ban, against the mayor's threats to their cushy taxpayer-financed jobs?

One of my Facebook Friends posted a news story today on the attacks to warn her male friends. After I suggested someone ought to defend himself with a weapon, another Friend teased me for using the term "pack heat." A loaded phrase, perhaps--pun intended. But the situation is absurd. The city with one of America's highest murder rates has a handgun ban. Exactly how does the handgun ban reduce street violence? It doesn't. It just makes it more difficult for us to defend ourselves against the violent perpetrators who prowl the city, looking for hapless victims.

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