“Go for a vote this week asap before it fades. Tap peoples [sic] emotion. Make it simple assault weapons.”
By Amanda Prestigiacomo
According to emails obtained via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)request, first reported by The Baltimore Post, advisors to then-President Barack Obama immediately strategized how to exploit the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary school to push their gun control agenda. “Tap peoples [sic] emotions,” Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel advised then-Education Secretary Arne Duncan on December 16, 2012, just two days after the massacre that left 26 dead. The victims’ bodies were yet to be laid to rest.
The two discussed how they could exploit the tragedy to bring about their anti-gun agenda. “What are your thoughts?” Duncan asked Emanuel on an email with the subject line, “CT shooting.”
“Go for a vote this week asap before it fades,” replied Emanuel. “Tap peoples [sic] emotion. Make it simple assault weapons.”
“Yup- thanks,” replied the education secretary.
“When I did brady bill and assault weapons for Clinton we always made it simple. Criminals or war weapons,” wrote back Emanuel.
Duncan then inquired about the so-called “gun show loophole” and other talking points to push on the public.
“Gun show loophole? Database? Cop-killer bullets? Too complicated?” he wrote.
“Cop killer maybe,” answered Emanuel. “The other no.”
“Got it,” Duncan agreed.
Emanuel served as the Obama White House Chief of Staff from 2008 to January of 2009. Fittingly, the ruthless politico famously said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste, and what I mean by that is, it’s an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.” The murder of 20 children included, apparently.
Manhattan Institute senior fellow Max Eden called the immediate politicization of the tragedy “shameful.”
Duncan has been under fire following the Parkland, Florida school shooting that transpired earlier this year, as the shooter’s repeated bad behavior was reportedly swept under the rug due to a school program intended to close the gap in the racial disparity in public school disciplinary records, including criminal actions. Such a program was a model for the Obama Administration’s infamous “Dear Colleague” letter in 2014 directing schools to do the same. As reported by The Daily Wire in April, the seemingly well-intentioned program has resulted in alleged rape, violence, murder, extreme bullying, and cover-ups.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos heard from proponents and opponents of the directive in April and is currently considering whether to rescind the measure.
Founders of parent and student advocacy group Parent2Parent Network, Nicole and Josh Landers, told The Daily Wire in a statement that the “email exchange demonstrates a shocking political conspiracy to draw upon an agenda rather than focus on the murders of 20 school children and 6 educators from Sandy Hook.”
“Two days after this horrific shooting, the focus of their response was to manipulate people’s emotions rather than supporting the families of the victims,” the statement continued. “It is clear that Emanuel and Duncan do not care about students’ lives, they only care about their gun control agenda and their image.”
“It appears that former Secretary Duncan was and is using the gun control platform to deflect from his failed educational policies which have negatively impacted nearly 51 million students and over 3 million teachers nationwide,” they added.
Three people died, and at least eight others were wounded, Thursday in gun violence across Chicago.
About 9 p.m., a man was fatally shot in the Southwest Side Lawndale neighborhood. Tyree Davis, 25, was sitting in a vehicle when he was shot in the 1400 block of South Tripp, Chicago Police and the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office said. He was pronounced dead at Mount Sinai Hospital. He lived in the same neighborhood as the shooting.
Police investigate a shooting about 10:30 p.m. Thursday, May 17, 2018 in the 11500 block of Ashland Avenue in Chicago. | Justin Jackson/ Sun-Times
About 5:30 p.m., a man was shot to death in the Austin neighborhood. The man, 28-year-old Terrance Cox, was shot in the back and abdomen in the 1100 block of North Mason, officials said. He was pronounced dead at Stroger Hospital. He lived in the East Garfield Park neighborhood.
Early in the day, a man was found shot to death in Englewood on the South Side. Officers responded to a call of shots fired and found Donnell Horton, 43, laying on a sidewalk with multiple gunshot wounds to his back and legs at 12:54 a.m. in the 6900 block of South Sangamon Street, according to authorities.
He was pronounced dead on the scene at 1:13 a.m., officials said. Area South detectives were conducting a homicide investigation.
At least eight other people were wounded in shootings Thursday:
About 11:15 p.m., an 18-year-old man was shot in the Arcadia Terrace neighborhood on the Northwest Side;
One man was killed and nine other people were wounded in about 14 hours in Chicago on Wednesday and early Thursday, according to police.
A 43-year-old man, identified as Donnell Horton, of the 1300 block of West 81st Street, was found just before 1 a.m. Thursday lying dead on the sidewalk in the 6900 block of South Sangamon Street in the Englewood neighborhood on the South Side, Chicago policesaid. He had mulitple gunshot wounds in his back and legs.
He was pronounced dead at 1:13 a.m.
Over the course of several hours, officers searched the adjacent overgrown lawn and shone flashlights on the scene, street and nearby buildings.
No one covered the man’s body until the removal van pulled up on the one-way street lined mostly with mid-sized apartment buildings. The man had landed on the sidewalk on the east side of the street, in between a two-flat and a vacant lot with knee-high grass. As the sky lightened and 5 a.m. approached, two men covered him with a white cloth. A few minutes later, they loaded him into the rusty white van.
Also in Englewood, an 18-year-old man was shot in the arm and leg around 11 p.m. Wednesday. He was sitting in a vehicle in the 5700 block of South Peoria Street when the shooter came out of a gangway and fired at him, police said.
On the Far Northside, a 25-year-old man was shot in the lower back around 10:05 p.m. in the West Rogers Park neighborhood. He was a passenger in a vehicle in the 6300 block of North Mozart Street when someone fired at him from a passing red minivan, police said.
An acquaintence took him to Swedish Covenant Hospital, but he was transferred to Stroger Hospital where he is in good condition.
Earlier, a 19-year-old man was shot in the hand and bicep around 9:10 p.m. in the 10500 block of South Yates Avenue in the Trumbull Park neighborhood on the Far South Side, police said.
The man was taken to a local hospital where he was stabilized.
In a double shooting, two men were injured just before 8 p.m. in the 1400 block of North Spaulding Avenue in the Humboldt Park neighborhood on the West Side.
A 53-year-old man was shot in the shoulder and taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where his condition was unknown. A 46-year-old man was taken to Norwegian American Hospital with gunshot wounds to the back and arm. His condition was also unknown.
About 15 minutes earlier on the South Side, a 36-year-old woman was shot in the arm around 7:40 p.m. in the 1800 block of West 87th Street in the Gresham neighborhood, police said.
She was taken to a local hospital where she was stabilized.
Around 7:35 p.m., a 25-year-old man was shot in the knee after hearing gunshots in the 6700 block of South East End Avenue in the South Side’s South Shore neighborhood, police said.
He was taken to University of Chicago Medical Center where he was in good condition.
Most recently, a 16-year-old was grazed in the knee about 3:20 a.m. in the 3800 block of West Cermak Road. Police said two unknown males approached the teen while he was walking down the street, then one shot at him from a handgun. The teen was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in good condition.
In other shootings:
A 22-year-old man accidentially shot himself in the foot around 3 a.m. Thursday in the 8200 block of South Marquette Avenue in the South Chicago neighborhood on the South Side. He was stabilized at South Shore Hospital.
A 31-year-old man was shot twice in the upper thigh around 3:35 p.m. Wednesday in the 2500 block of South Troy Street in the Little Village neighborhood on the West Side. He was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in good condition.
Just before noon, a 21-year-old man shot in the Arcadia Terrace neighborhood on the Far North Side, police said. The man was on foot outside in the 5700 block of North Campbell Avenue when he was shot in the stomach by an unknown shooter. He was taken to Presence St. Francis Hospital in good condition.
A 16-year-old boy gunned down on a basketball court was the 100th homicide of 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. As the city struggles to maintain order, Mayor Catherine Pugh blames gun companies for the violence.
The teenager, who reportedly went by the name of Streetz or Jordan, was shot near a basketball court in the southwest of the city, according to WJZ Baltimore. Jordan had a pistol in his pocket and was apparently known to police.
Speaking to reporters after the murder, Mayor Pugh put the blame on guns and gun manufacturers.
“No child, no child, no death in this city is acceptable, and we’ve got to get guns out of the hands of our children and we’ve got to get guns out of the hands of those who are carrying illegal guns on our streets,” she said.
When questioned about how to get guns off the street, Pugh replied: “Stop making them.”
However, if Pugh got her way, and all firearms manufacturing instantly stopped, there is little to suggest that the problem would instantly go away. Baltimore has rigorous gun laws, yet thousands of illegal firearms find their way into the hands of criminals, often from out of state.
Baltimore’s murder rate is 10 times higher than the national average and is the second-highest in the country. Of the 343 people killed in the city last year, 295 were killed with handguns and six were killed with shotguns or rifles, the vast majority of which were illegally owned, according to a police spokesman.
Tackling gun crime requires an active and well-equipped police force, something that Baltimore lacks.
The basketball court Jordan was shot on is just blocks away from the crime-ridden Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood. Sandtown-Winchester was the home of Freddie Gray, who was arrested in 2015 and died after sustaining injuries in the back of a police van, prompting riots and protests across the city. The six officers involved in his arrest were charged with Gray’s homicide, but they were either found not guilty or had their charges dropped.
After Gray’s death, killings in Baltimore surged. Some blame the police for withdrawing from high-crime neighborhoods after the tragedy, as they were unwilling to aggressively enforce the law for fear of being labelled as racist.
David Simon, a former crime reporter for the Baltimore Sun and creator of HBO series The Wire, blamed the surge in murders on Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby’s charging of the six officers involved in Gray’s arrest. While Mosby was right to charge the officers with negligence, Simon argues that she was wrong to charge three of them for false arrest.
“What Mosby basically did was send a message to the Baltimore police department: ‘I’m going to put you in jail for making a bad arrest,” he told the Guardian. “So officers figured it out: ‘I can go to jail for making the wrong arrest, so I’m not getting out of my car to clear a corner,’ and that’s exactly what happened post-Freddie Gray.”
Pugh was one of the community leaders who sought to calm down the riots. She became mayor in 2016 after Stephanie Rawlings-Blake decided not to seek re-election. Pugh defeated 12 other Democrats in the race, including Mosby’s husband, Nick, and Black Lives Matter activist DeRay McKesson.
Arrest numbers declined after the high-profile trial, from 40,000 in 2014 to around 18,000 in the first 11 months of 2017. Simon also attributes the police’s failure to bring the murder rate under control to misguided “tough on crime” policies of the early 2000s that saw police occupy themselves locking up minor offenders while homicides continued to climb unchecked.
Mayor Pugh’s proposed 2019 budget would fund the hiring of an extra 100 police officers, and expand the anti-violence Safe Streets youth program, but with new homicides almost every day, it may not be enough to stem the tide of killing in Baltimore.
Desiree Jeter, center, wipes away tears as she talks about her 15-year-old daughter Jazmyne, at the family home in Chicago on May 9, 2018. Jazmyne was shot and killed while on a porch with a group of other teenagers in the Englewood neighborhood on the South Side Tuesday night. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)
Seventeen people were shot over nearly 17 hours in Chicago, including a 15-year-old girl killed while visiting friends on the South Side Tuesday night, according to police.
Police said Jazmyne Jeter was on a porch with a group of teens when someone fired from a passing car around 8:30 p.m. in the 6900 block of South Carpenter Street, in the Englewood neighborhood. She was hit in the chest and pronounced dead at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.
Jazmyne lived about 5 miles away, in the 8100 block of South Burnham Avenue in the South Chicago neighborhood, according to the Cook County medical examiner. No one was in custody in connection with her fatal shooting.
The girl was among four people killed and 13 people wounded in the city between late Tuesday morning and early Wednesday, according to data kept by the Tribune. Ten of those shot were attacked in just two neighborhoods: Englewood on the South Side and Lawndale on the West Side.
About 15 minutes after Jazmyne was shot, two people were hit by gunfire about a mile and a half away in Englewood. A 53-year-old man was arguing with a 20-year-old man at the back of a building in the 6100 block of South Racine Avenue when other people got involved and shots were fired, police said.
The older man was hit several times and was pronounced dead on the scene. The younger man was shot in the abdomen and was stabilized at the University of Chicago Medical Center.
The man killed was identified as Nevens Johnson, of the 6000 block of South Loomis Boulevard, a few blocks from the site of the shooting.
Another double shooting in Englewood earlier in the day left a 24-year-old man dead and a 27-year-old man wounded, police said Wednesday, correcting earlier information that the man killed was 27. The two were walking in the 6600 block of South Justine Street when someone from a car opened fire around 2 p.m., police said.
The younger man was hit in the head and pronounced dead at the U. of C. hospital, police said. The older man was shot in the leg and stabilized at Trinity Hospital.
The older man was identified as Denzel L. Peterson, who is listed in public records as living at the same address where the Cook County medical examiner’s office said he was shot.
At least five people were shot in two attacks in the Lawndale neighborhood on the West Side.
Around 7:30 p.m., three men were standing on the sidewalk in the 3000 block of West Roosevelt Road when someone got out of a dark sedan and started shooting, police said. The attacker got back in the car and it drove away.
A 33-year-old man was hit in the back and was in critical condition at a hospital. The two others, 28 and 43, were shot in the buttocks and were in good condition, police said.
At the scene, officers gathered outside Brother’s Five Liquor at 3034 W. Roosevelt Road, where seven evidence markers sat over shell casings in parking spaces on Whipple Avenue on the east side of the building. Some of the casings were less than a foot from a moped, the only vehicle parked there.
Dozens of people gathered near the storefront, which had its security shutter halfway down. A block east of the scene, children continued playing at Douglas Park.
Two hours later, an 18-year-old man and a 60-year-old man were shot around 9:35 p.m. as they walked in the 2200 block of South Kildare Avenue, police said. Someone in a gray Jaguar fired shots, hitting the teen several times in the head and body and wounding the older man in the back.
The teen, whose identity had not been released as of Wednesday morning, was pronounced dead on the scene. The 60-year-old was stabilized at Mount Sinai Hospital.
A 31-year-old woman was shot around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday in the 300 block of North Cicero Avenue in the South Austin neighborhood. The woman was in a car going north on Cicero when she was shot in the neck. She walked into Swedish Covenant Hospital, where her condition has been stabilized, police said.
About 12:40 a.m. Wednesday, a 29-year-old man was shot in the 11000 block of South Wentworth Avenue in Roseland. Police said the man was walking when someone in a passing white car fired, hitting him in the lower backside. He was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn where his condition was stabilized, police said.
About 10:50 p.m., a 28-year-old man was shot in the 1500 block of West 88th Street in Gresham. The man was dropped off at Little Company of Mary Hospital with several gunshot wounds. He was later transferred to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn in critical condition. Police said he was “extremely uncooperative.”
About 9:45 p.m., a 23-year-old woman was walking with her boyfriend in the 8400 block of South Kerfoot Avenue in Gresham when someone inside a white Ford sedan shot her in the back. She was taken to the University of Chicago, where she was stabilized.
About 6:30 p.m., a 16-year-old girl was shot in the thigh in the 2100 block of West Touhy Avenue in the West Rogers Park neighborhood. She was taken to St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, where she was listed in good condition. The girl told police she was sitting on the driver’s side of a parked car when she heard shots and felt pain.
Just before 5:30 p.m., a 24-year-old man was shot in the groin in the 100 block of West 112th Place in the Roseland neighborhood. He was taken to Christ Medical Center where his condition was stabilized, police said.
Around 11 a.m., a 38-year-old man was shot in the 3700 block of West Chicago Avenue in the Humboldt Park neighborhood. Officers went to the scene after ShotSpotter technology indicated gunshots in the area. The victim was found and taken to Mount Sinai Hospital where he was stabilized. The man told police a man got out of a black sedan and shot him.
The last seven days in Chicago have been the most violent week of the year, with just three police districts on the West Side bearing the brunt of the recent violence, according to data kept by the Tribune.
The city had been averaging about 42 shootings each week this year, according to Tribune data. With last week’s shootings, the average rises to almost 45 people a week. The least violent period was the week of Feb. 5, when 16 people were shot in Chicago.
Nearly half of those shot in the last week were hit by gunfire in three police districts that have long been troubled by violence: Harrison, Ogden and Austin.
At least 25 people were shot in the Harrison District, bounded roughly by Division Street, Roosevelt Road, Western Avenue and Cicero Avenue. One shooting last week wounded five people, including a young mother who was killed. There were two double-shootings within five hours on the same block of Madison Street over the weekend. A 12-year-old boy was seriously hurt.
Another nine people were shot in the Ogden District, which borders Harrison on the south. They included two women wounded Saturday evening outside Mount Sinai Hospital while waiting to hear about a relative who had been shot earlier in the day.
In the Grand Central District, which borders Harrison on the north and extends into the Northwest Side, at last six people were shot, according to Tribune data. They included a man and a woman who were hit while driving down Cicero Avenue Saturday morning.
The rest of the week’s shootings were scattered among 11 other police districts across the city, including five shot in the Englewood District on the South Side and five in the Calumet District on the Far South Side.
Police Department supervisors in the Harrison, Austin, Ogden and Grand Central districts have been analyzing shooting data in real time through a computer program called HunchLab to quickly determine where to best deploy patrol and tactical officers.
The deployments are integrated with ShotSpotter gunshot detection technology, which tells officers in the field where gunfire is coming from on their work-issued smart phones.
The technology is used at Strategic Decision Support Centers, where police district personnel analyze data projected on large TV screens displaying crime maps and surveillance video footage from police cameras in neighborhoods.
The recent burst of violence brings the number of people shot in the city this year to at least 804, according to data kept by the Tribune. That’s below the previous two years, when violence hit record levels. Last year at this time, 1,087 people had been shot. In 2016, the number was 1,199. But this year’s numbers are still substantially higher than other recent years.
Homicides have followed the same pattern, with at least 161 this year. That compares to 198 this time last year, and 205 in 2016, according to Tribune data.