Friday, March 18, 2011


Today, I went downtown and took advantage of the early voting for the run-off for Alderman in the 43rd ward. I voted for my friend Michele Smith. When I was known as the Bleacher Preacher and roamed the Friendly Confines of Chicago's Wrigley Field, it was said I could smell the scent of a TV camera from 50 yards away... today it was over 100 yards. Probably because there were TV reporters and camera crews on hand at the Daley Center. A group made up of students from Howard University (Washington D.C.) were on their spring break, holding a rally against guns and teen violence. They were armed with handmade signs. The main speaker was the well-known Chicago Priest, Michael Pfleger. He's been an advocate for many years speaking out against the plague of senseless shootings that have taken too many young lives in Chicago, especially within the black communities.

I wished I had known about the rally, because I would of brought my anti-gun poster, which I had made back in 1999(see attachment). I have been an anti-gun advocate since the early 1960's. I recall too well the assassinations of J.F.K., Rev. Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy and my friends Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone back in the late 1960s. I remember the good Senator Joseph Tidings of Maryland, who took on the National Rifle Association after King and Bobby were gunned down in 1968. I found out then about the powerful influence the NRA had on elections. It collected money from all over the country to oust Tidings in 1971, and almost everyone else since, who has tried to talk common sense with the NRA. Before I arrived at today's event, rolled up diplomas had been passed out to the onlookers, and on a signal from one of the speaker, they were opened up. They contained the names of 68 school-aged Chicago shooting victims. It was a unique way to show that these kids will never get their high school diplomas.

The Governor of Illinois announced his plan that increase the tax by a dollar on a pack of cigarettes. I believe that cigarettes should be banned altogether. Cigarettes now kill thousands of smokers of all ages. However, our wise politicians prefer to collect taxes on them, because it pays for so many federal, and state-funded programs. I have a better tax idea based on the same principal for selling guns. We all know that guns kill, but the powerful gun lobby wants you to think it's not the guns that kill. With my idea, we can tax the gun buyers and gun sellers to death (pun intended) for a change. The tax can be based on how many bullets the guns or the clips hold. Also tax the bullets... like the old luxury tax. The only exemption would be for state and local law enforcement. I also had an idea... it's like the sick jokes of the 1950s, except it's not a joke. I believe that the NRA should give shooting lessons to street gang bangers on how to hit their targets. The saddest element of the news these days seem to be how many innocent youth get shot. Often these are the good kids, who get good grades and seldom are absent from school. Ironically, the NRA might be willing to do that, providing they get a tax incentive write-off for their effort. ALL PHOTOS (c) JERRY PRITIKIN

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