So Shoot Us
by Peter Zelchenko October 2, 2009

Great. We were going to write about one of our favorite topics, something so relevant to the very heart of Chicago on this day, when suddenly all GB staffers were slapped with an order, from -- guess who? You got it. Management up on the 56th Floor. We can't write about it. It seems the city powers know how critical most of us GB staffers are about -- today's, um, topic -- and the scuttlebutt is that management has been offered some patronage contracts or jobs or other gravy if they keep us from~~@

{{Please stand by. --GB Management}}

{{We now return your Gapers Block janitors to their keyboard. --GB Management}}

Well, then! We were offered a lobotomy, but we opted for the alternative, a few further draconian restrictions on our contract. Today, and for the next six weeks, we're going to be talking with you, gentle readers, about the happy, happy world of Venetian blinds.

Yes, Venetian blinds. Those things on our windows.

Venetian blinds.

Venetian. Blinds.

(Are they...gone yet?)

Okay. They're gone. We're not going to talk about Venetian blinds. Or that other thing. But we refuse to be upbeat. We will channel our annoyance toward the next closest irritant.

Forget gun control. That's not it. Gun control is so last week. Frankly, we're already tired of it. Chicago has spilled more than enough ink on the topic over the years. John Kass used to publicly tease top Daley knucklehead Ron Calicchio, who had such gun-envy that he wore an empty holster on his belt. But, other than law enforcement, the mayor only lets aldermen carry guns. Now, Eric Zorn is predicting that the Supreme Court is getting ready to overturn Chicago's controversial gun law.

These guys didn't need a gun to beat that horse to death. (Although we suppose they could have done it legally in the Tribune's suburban edition.)

The fact is, guns don't kill people.

Nope. Neither do knives, bombs, poison, all that stuff.

It's cars. Cars kill people.

That's right, cars. Cars are so bad that most car deaths are accidental! Only rarely do guns go off and kill or maim, even in places where it's legal to carry them. But people point cars at people millions of times a day in Chicago. You probably did it yourself within the last couple of days.

Did you know that you can car-whip someone absolutely legally? If a pedestrian gives you the finger, you can swerve in their direction, scare the crap out of them, and then just drive off. It's not a crime! If someone complains to the police, they will always say, "No, ma'am/sir, we don't want their license number. If they didn't touch you, there's nothing we can do. Were you hit? Grazed? No? Then just be glad you're alive." Seriously, we've tried a few times.

Cars are also much less environmentally friendly than guns. The nearest gun range to Chicago, Midwest Guns in Lyons, until recently only allowed lead-free ammo. Yesterday, they informed us that they just got a special license that lets shooters use leaded ammo, as long as they recycle the lead and ventilate the range properly. How nice.

If you kill someone, even with a large slug like a .45 caliber, you're creating infinitesimal environmental runoff. Just a couple of grams of lead, and it's usually extracted from the corpse by a coroner, used as evidence. It doesn't go into the ground or anything. So, it might be zero environmental cost. Guns are one of the most environmentally sounds means of killing someone. The mayor's Green Team should be made aware of that.

But consider this: U.S. vehicles used 378 million gallons of gas a day in 2008. That's 137.97 billion gallons over the year.

Not only is that pretty astounding per-capita consumption (454 gallons per year for every man, woman, and child in the U.S.), it's a terribly energy-inefficient tool, and not just for driving.

Since gas has been costing so much lately, total highway deaths last year on the road dropped to their lowest levels since 1961, and the government was so proud of itself that the data point became one of the top news items of the year.

Nevertheless, we still had 37,621 highway deaths in 2008. Maybe that's something for sick government statisticians to cheer about, but think about it: 137.97 billion gallons used.

That means it took almost 3.7 million gallons of gas to kill each highway victim last year.

Yes, people, this is the hidden shame of America. It's also its dirtiest secret. We bring it to you exclusively from the Gapers Block boiler room.

With hard data like this, we defy you, gentle reader, to claim cars are safer than handguns.

Enormous bullets, disguised as the epitome of modern conveniences, sitting, waiting, quietly, inocuously, in front of every home in Chicago, your home even -- prepared to run you and your family down.

Millions of these murderous weapons, subsidized until just last week by the Cash for Clunkers program. The mayor wants you, your children, your grandparents, to have this weapon. No need to conceal these guys. No need for a silencer.

Know what they call a hit-and-run? Usually involuntary manslaughter. Vehicular assault. "An accident."

Remember: Guns don't kill people, cars kill people.

There now. We feel so much better, and we didn't even need to mention the Oly@~~

Archive Index | Subscribe to The Party Line | Pete Home | Gapers Block Home

(c) 2003-2009, Peter Zelchenko and Gapers Block