Friday, February 15, 2013

Public attention for Pendleton

Hadiya Pendleton, the Chicago teenager who was killed when she got caught in the crossfire of a gang-related shooting, is about to gain more of a national name for herself in death than she ever did in life.
PENDLETON: She deserved better

Which is pathetic! Nobody deserves to have that fate be their life’s product.

BUT IT IS the case for the 15-year-old who was shot to death Jan. 29 at a park located less than a mile from the local residence of Barack Obama.

Much has been made of the Obama connection – the idea that she died in an area we’d prefer to think of as safe and pristine and that she partook in the Inauguration festivities for Obama that occurred just a week prior to her death.

As I have written before, I think it sad that her life has been boiled down to these two factual tidbits – as though she and her death wouldn’t have mattered in the least if they hadn’t occurred.

But now, she’s going to continue to gain national attention because of the fact that Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., says he wants to sponsor one of the gun control measures likely to be considered by Congress this year. And he wants to put Pendleton’s name on the bill.

“HADIYA’S LAW” WILL be a measure meant to make it harder for people with criminal backgrounds or other circumstances that are supposed to make it difficult for them to obtain firearms to actually get them.

Which also means that the National Rifle Association-types who like to demonize any form of restriction on firearms ownership will wind up having to face the possibility of voting against the image of that sweet-smiled teenager with the nose so cute even though it’s a little big!
KIRK: Plunging back into work

I don’t doubt they’ll vote against it anyway. But I’d like to think it will make the members of Congress who want to think the NRA is almighty twinge just a bit before they flick the switch that casts their “no” vote.

As for the proposal itself, it is all too similar to measures that have been considered, and enacted, at the local level.

IT WAS JUST a couple of weeks ago that the Cook County Board approved an ordinance calling for significant fines against people who don’t report their firearms stolen.

Law enforcement types, including Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, have said that many people who purchase firearms with the intent of reselling them to people who shouldn’t have them make the claim that the weapons were stolen – when they wind up being used in criminal activity.

Under Kirk’s proposal, which he’s co-sponsoring with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., it would become a federal offense for someone to let their legally-purchased weapon lapse into the hands of someone else who should not have it.

Which means we’re talking about prison time, in a federal correctional center. And most likely at the 85 percent standard of time that must be served before one can qualify for early release.

I DON’T DOUBT that the truly criminal of minds will figure out a way to continue to get firearms. But I don’t buy the line of logic that says such a reality makes any sort of firearms restrictions a pointless measure.

So it will be intriguing to see how Kirk, who only recently returned to his duties following a year away from Capitol Hill due to a stroke, manages to succeed in what will be his first significant governmental effort.

Although much of the effort ultimately ought to go to Hadiya Pendleton, whose image will provide the impetus to shame many of our members of Congress into doing the right thing!

Even though she probably deserves much better than to have her name become publicly known as nothing more than the identity of a gun control law.


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