John Kass devotes his Chicago Tribune column to the murder of Chicago police officer Thomas Wortham IV, who survived two tours in Iraq to die outside his boyhood home. At the end of the column Kass quotes the alderman representing Officer Wortham’s neighborhood: “His mother was worried that something was going to happen to him over there [in Iraq]. But he had to come home to Chicago to get shot down.”
To the sayings of Mayor Daley Kass adds this classic exchange on the case pending before the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of Chicago’s handgun ban:
Given the numbers of shootings in the city, isn’t the handgun ban ineffective?
The question was more than fair. In Chicago, the only people who are confident in their 2nd Amendment rights to bear arms are the criminals, the cops and the politicians.
Law-abiding citizens can’t own handguns. They don’t have an army of bodyguards, as does Daley. Political hacks have guns. They get out the vote for his machine.
And the retired neighbor who’s never been arrested in his life? Oh, no. If he has a gun, it would be anarchy in the streets, according to Daley.
Confronted with a logical question, here’s what the mayor did: He picked up a rifle from the prop table of guns, raised it and began to babble.
“It’s been very effective,” said Daley of the handgun ban. “If I put this up your butt, you’ll find out how effective it is. Let me put a round up your, you know.”
The mayor of Chicago then went on to say if the justices were attacked by thugs with guns, they’d see things his way.
“Maybe they’ll see the light of day,” Daley said. “Maybe one of them will have an incident, and they’ll change their mind overnight, going to and from work.”
“Chicago politics is a rough business,” Kass comments, “But suggesting that Supreme Court justices need to suffer before becoming enlightened is despicable. It not only embarrasses the mayor, but everyone who lives or works in Chicago.” One of Daley’s press aides subsequently issued a statement saying the mayor used “less than ideal” language when he suggested inserting the rifle into his critics and pulling the trigger.
I well remember the 1969 paperback compilation Quotations from Mayor Daley. Kass’s column probably puts the current Mayor Daley in mind of this quote from the mayor’s father: “They have vilified me, they have crucified me; yes, they have even criticized me.” Isn’t it time for an updated father-and-son edition?