Gun violence, Chicago-style

Chicago Skyline 2008

Chicago Skyline 2008 (Photo credit: TomC)

Chicago has strict gun control laws that are not preventing 500+ homicides per year. Critics of gun control laws use Chicago’s experience to argue that strict gun control laws don’t work. That is total BS. Chicago is the transportation hub of the nation and is adjacent or close to three other states, Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan. Guns are brought into Chicago from outside the city limits, either from other cities in Illinois or from out-of-state.

I grew up in Chicago and moved to California in 1965. I am not up to date on the current situation, but this is what I know and what I think I know. Chicago is one of the most racially segregated cities in America. Most of the homicides that make up the 500+ annual figure are crimes committed on blacks by blacks, and many whites in the Chicago area don’t really care. If the homicides were blacks killing whites or whites killing whites, there would be much more support for strict gun control laws within the state and across state lines covering the entire metropolitan area. That and only that would be a true test of how well strict gun control laws really work.

North is south

English: Chicago River is the south border of ...

English: Chicago River is the south border of the Near North Side and Streeterville and the north border of Chicago Loop, Lakeshore East and Illinois Center (viewed from Lake Shore Drive with Trump International Hotel and Tower at jog in the river in the center. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

North Avenue in Chicago runs straight east and west from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River, while Lake Street starts at Lake Michigan and runs west and then northwest to the Mississippi and beyond. In all of Cook County, Lake Street is south of North Avenue. The two streets cross on the eastern border of Elmhurst, Illinois and I grew up 6 blocks from their intersection. My grade school was three blocks from my home and bordered on North Avenue. At that time, Lake Street formed the northern border of Elmhurst and was farther away that I was permitted to go by myself. I once ventured across North Avenue by myself and got lost. I clearly remember being returned home in the back of a police car. Thus I learned early in life that Lake Street was far away and definitely north of North Avenue. However, all our relatives lived in Cook County and to them North Avenue was north of Lake Street. To a young mind it was confusing, and it took me a few years to get it straight in my mind. I sometimes travelled by train by myself to Chicago’s Loop. there I found that the Loop was bordered on the north by Lake Street while North Avenue was too far away to walk to. I also got lost a time or too in the Loop until I learned to navigate by finding the Chicago River west of the Loop, except that it was  also north of the Loop.

North Avenue Sunrise

North Avenue Sunrise (Photo credit: Christopher.F Photography)

Alan Grayson

English: Official headshot of Rep. Alan Grayso...

English: Official headshot of Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Democrat from Florida Alan Grayson was a member of the House until he was defeated in 2010. Now he is back in the House beginning January, 2013. Welcome back, Congressman Grayson. Gone from the House will be Joe Walsh from Illinois and Allen West from Florida, both TEA Party favorites. You may recall Alan Grayson from the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) debate when he described with charts the GOP plan. “Don’t get sick. If you do, die quickly.”

Alan, it good to have you back in Washington. We need more legislators like you.

Orrin Hatch

, U.S. Senator from Utah.

Image via Wikipedia

Tomorrow night is caucus night in Utah, and I shall attend my first ever caucus. There were no caucuses in Illinois and California, my prior states of residence. I have received two robocalls from Mitt Romney in support of Orrin Hatch and one just minutes ago from Michelle Malkin opposed to Hatch. I agree with Malkin about almost nothing, but I do think that Hatch should retire. He’s been in the US Senate long enough, and it’s time for younger blood.


Please see Jon M. Huntsman, Jr.

The Monadnock Building

Photograph of the Monadnock Building in Chicag...

Image via Wikipedia

The Monadnock Building is located at 53 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois in the southern part of Chicago’s “Loop.” It is an historic structure, one of the very first skyscrapers of the modern era. My father was employed by an insurance company approximately one block west of the Monadnock Building and my mother worked in the same office before my parents were married. My mother stopped working after their marriage, because in those days it was possible to live on one salary. My parents lived in a small house in the western suburb of Elmhurst that my father was able to purchase with the proceeds of a once in a lifetime stock market gain in the mid 1930s. We were not middle class, but we managed to live on my father’s salary because we had no mortgage.

My first job as an adult was in an insurance office approximately two blocks from the Monadnock Building. I was employed there in the summer of 1959 between high school and starting college in the fall. I saw the building and walked past it hundreds of times in the mid and late 1950s. In those days, the exterior was black, I assumed because it had not been cleaned in years. Chicago was a sooty city then and I was advised by someone, I forget who, to wear only dark suits so that airborne grime would be less apparent on my clothing.

Overcome by curiosity one day, probably a Saturday, I decided to explore the interior of the building. As you can see in the pictures, the exterior is devoid of much trim. The lobby that day was empty of people so I was able to view it without people blocking my view. It was a sunny day and light flooded the interior through the skylights high above; the building is 17 stories high. Most details have faded now, but I recall the stairwells vividly. The opening from one floor to the one above it was a rounded rectangle. The railings and their supports were painted a gleaming black. What was most memorable was the fact that the railing supports were an intricate, abstract pattern of small openings repeated endlessly as the stairs wound round and round into the sky.

More details about the Monadnock Building can be found in this article on Wikipedia. I will be writing more about Chicago and certain historical facts in another post. My father lived close enough to the “Loop” to walk to work before he moved to the suburbs. From the suburbs, it was only a 25 minute train ride to the “Loop.” It was an even shorter walk from my father’s home to the site of the Haymarket Riot. After I dropped out of the University of Illinois, at Champaign-Urbana, I found full-time work at the home office of a hardware manufacturer on North Wacker Drive. I could look out from the 9th floor office window across the Chicago River to the site of the long-gone Wigwam hall where Lincoln was nominated for president in 1860. With so much history at my fingertips, is it any wonder I developed such an interest in history?

Please see Aversion therapy | Chicago is