* The setup…
Two state representatives called on Gov. Pat Quinn Sunday to deploy the Illinois National Guard to safeguard Chicago’s streets.
Chicago Democrats John Fritchey and LaShawn Ford said they want Quinn, Mayor Richard Daley and Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis to allow guardsmen to patrol streets and help quell violence. Weis said he did not support the idea because the military and police operate under different rules.
“Is this a drastic call to action? Of course it is,” Fritchey said. “Is it warranted when we are losing residents to gun violence at such an alarming rate? Without question. We are not talking about rolling tanks down the street or having armed guards on each corner.”
What he envisions, Fritchey said, is a “heightened presence on the streets,” particularly on the roughly 9 percent of city blocks where most of the city’s violent crimes occur.
If this sounds familiar, it is. Rod Blagojevich had the very same idea a couple of years back.
Referring to the Kent State shootings in 1970, when National Guardsmen fatally shot four student protesters at a campus demonstration, [Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis] said that “when you mix military functions with law enforcement functions, there is sometimes a disconnect.”
Noting that the military does not operate under the same constitutional constraints as the police, he questioned how Chicago residents would react to soldiers raiding homes without warrants, and said that in his 25 years of law enforcement experience, he had never seen an example of military personnel working under local civilian command.
“The National Guard is very useful if we had a big earthquake or huge flood or a catastrophe like that, where we simply had to control folks,” he said, “But the problems we’re facing are illegal weapons, narcotics and gangs. And while I will always look out for as much help as we can, I don’t think the National Guard is the solution.”
* The Question: Putting aside the fact that Blagojevich came up with idea first, what do you think of it?