Police, others ask families to have 'real conversations' about weapons

UPDATED 2:50 p.m. Thursday

CHAMPAIGN — Area police chiefs, pastors and community members Thursday morning urged parents and others to be vigilant in the wake of three gun-related deaths in recent days.

Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup said Christopher Baker, 22, died Wednesday at about 4:35 p.m. at Carle Foundation Hospital, as a result of a gunshot wound to the head that he suffered earlier in the day at his home in Champaign.

The shooting occurred around noon Wednesday at his home on Tudor Court in Champaign.

Champaign Police Chief Anthony Cobb said Thursday it appeared that Baker shot himself, and that the incident is being ruled an accident at this time. He said there were others in the house at the time of the shooting.

Northrup told WDWS on Thursday that he is not ruling out other causes. Authorities continue to investigate. An autopsy is scheduled for Friday.

The Wednesday death followed the May 16 shooting in Urbana of a 3-year-old by his 14-year-old uncle, who told police he was trying to teach a gun safety lesson with what he  thought was an unloaded gun, after he saw the youth with a handgun; and the May 20 fatal shooting of a 20-year-old man at the Country Brook apartment complex in west Champaign.

At a news conference Thursday at the Champaign City Building, Champaign Police Chief Anthony Cobb asked parents to have “real conversations” with their children about the danger of firearms.

He also asked gun owners to make sure their weapons are secure and, if any weapons are missing, to contact law enforcement or members of the clergy.

“Talk to your kids and grandkids and find out if they’re in possession of a firearm,” Urbana Police Chief Pat Connolly advised.

Here is audio from WDWS from the press conference.

Champaign County Sheriff Dan Walsh said parents should know what’s in their kids’ rooms and cars and whom their children are with.

“We don’t want another kid senselessly killed,” he said. “Treat all guns like they are real and loaded.”

Patricia Avery, president of the Champaign County NAACP, said she lost her mother to “senseless gun violence” when she was 9 years old.

People may be worried about turning in a gun, she said. But “trouble comes when you don’t turn in a weapon, because it destroys lives,” she added.

Reports of shots fired in the city of Champaign increased from 47 in the first five months of 2011 to 76 in the same months this year. Reports in Urbana jumped from 17 to 49.

The Champaign Community and Police Partnership has discussed gun safety training and an anti-gun violence campaign as possible ways to address the problem.

Community members who want to get involved in the effort can visit a website, www.champaigncommunitycoalition.org, to learn more about what can be done.

Several pastors have volunteered to be contacts for people who don’t want to contact law enforcement directly about guns.

They include: the Rev. Rickey Parks of Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church; the Rev. Charles Nash of New Hope Church of God in Christ; the Rev. Larry Lewis of Bethel A.M.E. Church; the Rev. Lekevie Johnson of Jericho Missionary Baptist Church; the Rev. Jerome Chambers of Liberty Temple Church of God; and the Rev. Jimmy Holmes of Morning Star Free Will Baptist Church.

“We don’t want to stand behind the pulpit and bury another young person,” Nash said.

Tracy Parsons, director of ACCESS Initiative, said society sometimes glorifies and glamorizes gun violence as a sign of “toughness” — but the community should recognize that youth may suffer depression and loss of hope as a result of it.

Tim Ditman and Michael Kiser of WDWS contributed to this report.


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GAL_9000 wrote on May 24, 2012 at 11:05 am
  1. Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction
  2. Always keep your finger off the trigger until on target and ready to fire
  3. Always keep firearm unloaded until ready to be used

 Extensions include:

  • Always be aware of your target and what is beyond
  • Always treat every firearm as if it were loaded, even if you just unloaded it yourself


Speakerman11 wrote on May 24, 2012 at 12:05 pm

One simple rule is often not abided by: the end of that weapon should never face something you dont intend to destroy. EVER.

rsp wrote on May 24, 2012 at 12:05 pm

When I was 7 years old I held a gun for the first tme. It was a starter pistol. It was laying on a table beside my uncle who had brought it to show his brother-in-law. To my eyes it looked like one of the toys we played with so I just picked it up really quick and pointed it at him and said 'bang'. Too fast for my brain to register that it was heavier than our toys, or that it wasn't made the same way. He very quietly explained to me that it wasn't a toy, that you didn't point it at anyone, and most importantly, there is no such thing as an unloaded gun.  I've never forgotten his lesson.

Sid Saltfork wrote on May 24, 2012 at 1:05 pm

My curiousity regarding the past three incidents is whether the owners of the guns were FOID card holders.  The 14 year old got his gun from someone else.  Was that someone a FOID card holder?  Were the other two FOID card holders? 

dd1961 wrote on May 24, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Why would you need an FOID card for a starter pistol?  I assume we are talking about a gun that starts a track race.

Sid Saltfork wrote on May 24, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Are you just joking, or being sarcastic?  If not, try to not get diverted in reading comments.  It has nothing to do with starter pistols.

dd1961 wrote on May 25, 2012 at 8:05 am

Wow, no.  The post that you commented on talked about a starter pistol.  You talked about having a FOID card.  I asked....why do you need a FOID card for a starter pistol.

rsp wrote on May 25, 2012 at 9:05 am

Sid wasn't commenting on anything in my comment. He was talking about only the three shooting incidents. Which is why your comment didn't make any sense.

dd1961 wrote on May 25, 2012 at 10:05 am

I understand that now, but his comment was put up as a reply to yours, which is how I read it.  This forum sometimes places things where you do not want it if you are not careful.

rsp wrote on May 24, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Only one has been identified so far. The one at Countrybrook they are still looking for as far as I know. That leaves the one involving the 3 year old. I'm guessing no but I haven't seen anything where it was talked about other than being from a drug dealer. So it wouldn't matter if they had a card or not. Possessing a gun and selling drugs together is an enhancement. But it was probably stolen from someone who refused to keep their weapons locked up. 

Sid Saltfork wrote on May 24, 2012 at 3:05 pm

That is my point.  Keep weapons locked up, and out of reach.  Throw the legal book at anyone with a gun that does not have a FOID card.  Sure, throw the book at someone dealing drugs; and throw it again for having a gun without a FOID card.  Just because criminals have guns is no reason to not require background checks on people buying guns.  They are responsible for the gun.  If it is stolen, it should be reported.  At least, use the existing laws to get rid of illegal gun owners.   

CJ Williams wrote on May 24, 2012 at 3:05 pm



Were there NOT three ADULTS just arrested for armed robbery?  Did they have FOID cards?  Listening to these "store front" revrunds discuss violence is laughable when they will then go out and bemoan the fact that the police are "harrasing" their youths.   Really.  Can not have it both ways there Revrund

Sid Saltfork wrote on May 24, 2012 at 3:05 pm

No one is "harrasing" my children.  I am not a "Revrund" whatever that is.  The fact that criminals have guns does not mean that everyone should have guns.  At least, try to control the sale of guns to responsible people.  What are "store front revrunds"?  Do you have experience as a criminal? 

CJ Williams wrote on May 24, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Whoa Sid there buddy-


Basically let me set this straight for you.    So where are these shootings taking place?  Turnberry?  Linconshire?  Trails of Brittney?  The NG does not have a map where all the reports of shots fired have been logged.  Where are these areas?  These are the same folks who last week were talking about how aggressive the police are when it comes to trying to keep crime in check and now this week they are all upset that people who have not business having guns are using them?  Really?   A 14 yoa who steals a gun from a drug dealer keeps it in the room and then trys to show "gun safety" to a 3 year old and does so by pulling the trigger aiming at the kids head?


I see the same type of protests in Chicago every week in which the folks in  Englewood decry violence while at the same time complaining about the Chicago Police.  While there are shootings daily in that area.

rsp wrote on May 24, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Listening to these "store front" revrunds discuss violence is laughable when they will then go out and bemoan the fact that the police are "harrasing" their youths.

What "store fronts" are you talking about? Maybe you should get out on the other side of town more and get to know your neighbors before you talk. These are pastors from established churches. Churches that are older than you are.

When your kids get asked why they are a block from their own house by a cop who doesn't look at the ID before asking and it happens over and over again with the same cops it's a pattern. And when you're told over and over you don't have a right to be here do you think you are going to turn to the person that made you feel that way for help? And when you see someone like you denigrating the pastors you do turn to it's just more encouragement to turn on society. Because you are part of society. And look at how much respect you have shown to people who are trying to save people's lives.

killerut wrote on May 24, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Get rid of FOID cards and pass conceal carry.  You'll see crime statistics drop like a falling rock.

Sid Saltfork wrote on May 24, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Sure..... no background checks; everybody that wants one gets a gun; they can hide it from sight; and crime is going to drop like a rock.  The logic is overwhelming............ 

CJ Williams wrote on May 24, 2012 at 8:05 pm

In Illinois the sheep  ( the non gun public) are nothing but a bunch of lambs for the gun carrying thugs.   It is time that the playing field was evened out.  Why does Illinois allow it to be ruled by one county on this issue?


You do not want to carry a gun?  Thats fine.  I do.  Let me have my Second amendment rights like the rest of the Country has.

rsp wrote on May 24, 2012 at 9:05 pm

Your gun makes you a target. One day you will figure that out, when somebody comes into your house to steal it or robs you for it. I free perfectly safe without one. I've walked the streets in the middle of the night without a problem on many occasions at all hours of the night. Never been bothered. 

gibbynite wrote on May 24, 2012 at 9:05 pm


Wow Sid from Salt Fork, you seem not aware of what a CCW law would require and enforce if enacted. It is amazing to me the most common response to those aginst CCW is "Everyone will carry a gun"....no. No more than those that do or dont already. IF you want to carry then you will take the class and pass the background checks. To get a CCW in the other 49 states that have it, your background is combed over thru the ACIC/NCIC records. Why would you make such a misleading statement? Are you against CCW? If you dont want to CCW, then dont. 


So "hiding it from sight" is bad? I guess you would approve of open carry as opposed to concealed? Either way, Illinois is the only state that does not have either, so, by your logic, you are already in the safest state in the union then correct? 

Your logic is overwhelming........

ohnooo wrote on May 24, 2012 at 11:05 pm

Armed public, setting examples, safe gun classes, education, ease of access, bill of rights, responsible child rearing adults,  ( yes many do grow up in a mirror image of what they see ) racial tension, neighbors, religious and non religious values and views, mentors, postive outlook, moral training, domestic volence, role models, people do change, legal systems, we are the people that backs justice for ALL, ( lets stop the deal making ), change elections, corruption and intimatation, bully's ( yes adults are too ).  I truely think the poplulation of this, our country, needs fine tuning,  but honestly the bashing and some of the comments I have read here seems like we are still so divided as a nation.  We all differ, but one thing for sure, some just cannot control others hatred and hostility. So how should the issue be approached, I applaud the Champaign PD for their recent greet and meet, hope they take that further somehow, even though the bugets are tight.  But the attempt is real, so what shall the rest of us do.  Any actions will help I am sure of that ! 

Local Yocal wrote on May 24, 2012 at 11:05 pm
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The police department and the community working on solving problems together is a good idea if for no other reason, it's living life, not just preventing death. If given a chance, a broader effort, we might see some eventual improvements. It can't hurt. It would be a worthwhile project. Few ever study why something happens, fewer still find formulas that reduce the aimless nonsense. Restorative Circles, VORP, AA, NA, SAFE House, small business loans, college scholarships, remedial education, anger counseling, Habitats for Humanity, food trucks, trade apprenticeships, church, and maybe midnight basketball even,....does any of that sound good at all? Would any of that prevent the bad stuff? I don't know, surely there is some locale who have studied the patterns that work most often.



rsp wrote on May 25, 2012 at 3:05 am

One of the things that has been studied is the disparity in sentencing for possession of crack and possession of powder cocaine. It's the same drug. Simple possession of about an ounce of crack vs. over a pound of cocaine will get a mandatory minimum five year sentence for a first offense. An ounce of cocaine you can get probation. Of course you would probably be white. Even if you were smoking it behind closed doors.

But if you had the crack, you were probably black. And poor. So you went to prison for five years at least. If you were white and had kids you were still around. In fact, the judge took that in mind for sentencing. If you were black, well your kids were probably better off without you since you were using all those dangerous drugs. Maybe some extra time would be good. Plus welfare rules that said you couldn't get help if the father was around.

Kids who grow up without their fathers don't do well. As a society we took the role models away. When you grow up without you eventually try to convince yourself that you didn't need it. We sent a bunch to Viet Nam, remember them? A lot didn't come back. We sent a lot to Iraq and Afghanistan too. Remember them? We go out of our way to split up our communities, our social fabric, and we wonder what went wrong. Our community leaders try to come together and find solutions and people who have nothing better to do make fun of them. 





    Local Yocal wrote on May 25, 2012 at 7:05 am
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    But isn't it okay to have inequality in the justice system? These people, who you refer to as black children without fathers or stable households, are actually, "thugs." They don't deserve protection against unwarranted search and seizures, a fair trial, adequate legal representation, a chance at rehabilitation, or employment ever again. These "thugs", like Altria, Anheuser-Busch, R.J. Reynolds, Orange and Blue, Hanburg Distributers, Phillip Morris, peddle dangerous recreational drugs to our children, particularly young college co-eds. And I didn't send my daughter to the university just so she could snort the white stuff and appear on a pornographic website. I'm not sure how these "thugs" acquire imported products from Afghanistan or the Andes Mountains of South America, but they do, and they sell them to willing customers. Thankfully, the security industry is a growing field. Those who graduate from Lincoln's Challenge onto one of our fine military academies, can hurry up and wait for the next road-side bomb during a foreign occupation, say in Columbia or Afghanistan. If they survive, they are eminently qualified to serve on our municipal police departments where their combat experience will be appreciated as a member of The Street Crimes Unit, or Narcotics S.W.A.T. Team. This is the land of the free, equal opportunity for all. We must protect it from the "thugs." Geez, all this talk of a fair criminal justice system would get the killers of Kiwane Carrington and Matt Wilhelm arrested and prosecuted. And we wouldn't want that, now would we?

    rsp wrote on May 25, 2012 at 9:05 am

    appear on a pornographic website

    So now you're going blame Facebook? <smh>

    sameeker wrote on May 25, 2012 at 7:05 am

    God made some people big and some people small. Coronal colt, he made 'em all equal.

    grounded wrote on May 25, 2012 at 9:05 am

    I never even thought of gun safety as a child; there was no need because I didn’t grow up in an environment where I would have been around guns and the only "place" I ever saw one was on television westerns.

    The only people I knew who would have used guns were family members who hunted and though it wasn’t a part of my upbringing, I had the common sense as a child (thanks to my parents) that real guns were dangerous and not toys.

    There was no need to ever greatly counsel my own children on gun safety either because it’s just not a part of our life. They were always aware of the dangers should they come across a gun, but again, this never happened and wouldn’t have happened because they didn't grow up in an environment where anyone would have had guns. Had they come across one, I know our children would have simply brought it to an adult and definitely, even as children, were brought up with the common sense to know how to react in different situations. They have made good decisions all of their life because of the common sense we instilled from the time they were born. 

    The bottom line is that a normal upbringing to us is where children, even teenagers, are regularly supervised and raised from infancy with careful instruction by responsible adults

    This is how everyone I know was raised as well, and none of us have ever had issues with anything out of the ordinary in life. If you're a parent, it's your personal responsibility to parent. Not the community's responsibility, not the church's responsibility - YOUR responsibility.

    Obviously, there are huge segments of society that have absolutely no idea or care how to raise children and these are the lives where we see these unfortunate incidents. 

    Unless someone can figure out a way to totally change the mentality of inadequate guardians then I don’t believe there’s ever going to be a solution to this issue.

    rsp wrote on May 25, 2012 at 10:05 am

    In our current presidential contest one of the issues has been birth control. We have in some cases been talking about parents raising kids before they had the skills. Yet there are people who still want to keep sex ed out and keep the birth control away. Those candidates aren't talking about some theory, they are talking about those kids out on the street. 

    Still say it's not the community's responsibility? Who do you think suffers? Kids who don't believe they don't have a future live that way. They raise their kids that way. How many of you who commented have ever mentored a child? Helped that child see a bigger world, a brighter future. Change happens one person at a time, even if that person is you.

    Local Yocal wrote on May 25, 2012 at 11:05 am
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    "Obviously, there are huge segments of society that have absolutely no idea or care how to raise children...Unless someone can figure out a way to totally change the mentality of inadequate guardians....there’s [n]ever going to be a solution to this issue."

    Doubtful the criminal justice system is the right hammer to knock down those nails. Hence the need for a community-wide approach.

    grounded wrote on May 25, 2012 at 11:05 am

    The community-wide approach wasn't needed for me or for generations of people. Parents being parents was all that it took then and now.

    Sid Saltfork wrote on May 25, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    I have to agree with both "local yokel", and "grounded".  I grew up like "grounded".  I got a single shot shotgun for Christmas when I was 8 years old.  I had a BB gun before that.  My Father was a WWII veteran.  He taught me that a gun was only a dangerous tool used for only one thing.  He made sure that I mastered gun safety before he let me have a gun.  I see "grounded's" point.   Back when I was young there were shotguns for hunting, and very few pistols.  People did not hunt much with a pistol.  They might have a .22 for target practice, or shooting vermin.  Now, pistols are everywhere.  I don't see that the community-wide approach would hurt anything.  In fact, it might help.  I don't thing that the lack of gun safety is restricted to one group, or neighborhood though.  Only this past spring, a young person was killed in a church down south due to one of the parishioners showing his gun to another in church while trying to sell it.  The church was not in a "neighborhood"; and the members were not of that "group" the comments in this article are attacking.  Gun safety is for all groups, and neighborhoods.  For those who howl anytime the subject of guns comes up; please remember that a gun is not a penis.  Being a man does not have anything to do with having a gun.   

    grounded wrote on May 25, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    I agree with you, Sid, and yes, I guess the community-wide attempt sure couldn't hurt.

    I'd still like to see parents getting back to being parents and remembering that the ultimate responsibility for deciding to become a parent is to be one. That's difficult to do if one didn't have that prior example, but it's not impossible and there's guidance and resources available if needed.

    Local Yocal wrote on May 25, 2012 at 3:05 pm
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    "... and there's guidance and resources available if needed."

    That may be what the community-wide approach attempts to create.

     Parenting, if that's the source of the problem, is becoming one of the lost arts and the one responsibility that does not require a FOID card, a license, not even a single class in the high schools. No one talks about babies, talks about children in the public discourse.

    What is not working to improve parenting is people getting arrested and put in a cage. The night of, your car is impounded for $500. Lawyers are $1,500 minimum. Can't make it to your job next day? You're fired. Can't pay your rent this month? You're evicted. After a while, when finally the public defender gets around to your case a deal is struck, you're released, owing at least $300 in court costs; and along with the fines and fees, anyone could easily leave jail owing over $2000. Sentenced to probation? That'll be an additional $30.00 a month. Sentenced to counseling? You pay at the door. DCFS has taken the kids in your absence, and so as part of any punishment, you are barred from seeing your kids BUT you are regulated to becoming an ATM machine for your kids: child support. Better get a job. Sorry. You have a felony conviction- no job for you. Felons are inelgible for public housing, financial aid toward school, and a host of other prohibitions. The homeless man asked me once, "How do you stay sane in an insane situation?" Naturally, smoking another spliff, having another beer becomes attractive. Whoops, you dropped dirty, now your probation is violated and up for revokation. Guess you won't be getting those kids back anytime soon, you lousy parent, you.

    Now the real experts will tell you that the above scenario is easily avoided, don't do the crime. For most of us, the concept of "crime" has an equivalency to the big four: Murder, rape, fistfighting and armed robbery. But the experts know that were we left prosecuting just those four, we would only have about 350 cases a year, were we to catch every person for every incident of those. Thank you Drug War. Attorney Michelle Alexander has written an excellent book on how that works.

    The hammer that is the criminal justice system doesn't solve problems. It's not designed to solve problems. It's paradigm is deterrence, punishment, and vengeance- for every little last violation of the criminal and traffic codes. Same paradigm for every "crime." In addition, it has now become a major employer for everything from architects and construction firms, to food service corporations, to telecommunication corporations, and the understood cops, guards, lawyers and judges. The hammer is big business. A reduction in crime would be bad for business.

    After spending $40 million on criminal justice in 2011, C-U had 64 shots fired. After spending another $40 million on criminal justice in 2012, 125 shots fired. It's not working. Probably never can. 150 cops total, 10-30 squad cars on patrol on any night to keep 200,000 people from what? Doing something against the law? Safe? Good luck with that. 

    It's time the community step up to solve the root problems. These roots, like bad parenting if that's a problem, won't be solved with more cages. It's time the people wake up from their favorite cop show. You can't dial 9-1-1 and expect staff to come sweeping whatever it is out of your way. It always goes somewhere. Like back in your neighborhood, a little more desperate and just as crazy.

    CJ Williams wrote on May 25, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    What is not working to improve parenting is people getting arrested and put in a cage. The night of, your car is impounded for $500. Lawyers are $1,500 minimum. Can't make it to your job next day? You're fired. Can't pay your rent this month? You're evicted. After a while, when finally the public defender gets around to your case a deal is struck, you're released, owing at least $300 in court costs; and along with the fines and fees, anyone could easily leave jail owing over $2000. Sentenced to probation? That'll be an additional $30.00 a month. Sentenced to counseling? You pay at the door. DCFS has taken the kids in your absence, and so as part of any punishment, you are barred from seeing your kids BUT you are regulated to becoming an ATM machine for your kids: child support. Better get a job. Sorry. You have a felony conviction- no job for you. Felons are inelgible for public housing, financial aid toward school, and a host of other prohibitions. The homeless man asked me once, "How do you stay sane in an insane situation?" Naturally, smoking another spliff, having another beer becomes attractive. Whoops, you dropped dirty, now your probation is violated and up for revokation. Guess you won't be getting those kids back anytime soon, you lousy parent, you.


    Why yes, it is my fault that you went out and did DUI.  It is my fault that you went out and drank too much or smoked some weed.  It is my fault that you did this.  NOT.   Why do you just admit that you are for the criminal and against law enforcement or those who uphold the law?

    spangwurfelt wrote on May 25, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    "Why do you just admit that you are for the criminal and against law enforcement or those who uphold the law?"

    He's trying to show you that there's much more to the story than that. Can you actually listen, or will you let your preconceived notions block any possibility of that.

    CJ Williams wrote on May 25, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    I am sick and tired of "blame society" for the thugs of today.   If that is a preconceived notion, that I am guilty.

    Local Yocal wrote on May 25, 2012 at 9:05 pm
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    @CJ Williams: however you define "thug", you do want less of "them", correct?

    Local Yocal wrote on May 26, 2012 at 5:05 am
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    "Why do you just admit that you are for the criminal and against law enforcement or those who uphold the law?"

    Due to the level of reading comprehesion expressed, a point of clarification: Why don't I? Because I don't want C.J. Williams to bully, rob, steal from, beat, shoot or kill me. I vote no to those things; and would respectfully ask you, or anyone else, to not do that to me or anyone else. Thanks.

    rsp wrote on May 26, 2012 at 8:05 am

    The community-wide approach wasn't needed for me or for generations of people. Parents being parents was all that it took then and now.

    We have always had churches for families to rely on. We have always had schools for help, too. There was a much more consistent message to children of what was expected as well as much less free time. If you acted up in public you had the knowledge that your parents would know before you got home. And the shame could affect the whole family. Neighbors thought nothing of correcting your behavior, or passing along something to your parents that they should know good or bad. Our grandparents and great-grandparents and other extended family also served to provide a safety net around us. 

    So I can see where you would miss that, when it was "just there" versus it being organized. Today I think the average family moves something like every three years. Which means no extended family to teach parenting skills, and strangers that you don't want talking to your kids. 

    I've been reading the census records and a lot of grandparents were raising grandkids. But a lot of people had their parents living with them. Three generations in a house. Nowadays it's all about independence, mom or dad won't come unless they need care and then it's before we shove them in the nursing home. Parenting skills come from a book, a one hour class or most likely the internet. We have always had some kind of community around raising our families. 


    CJ Williams wrote on May 26, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    I define a thug as a criminal who preys on other. Is there another definition that perhaps you would like to expound upon?   So yes, I would like less of them, while you apparently would like more.

    Local Yocal wrote on May 27, 2012 at 12:05 am
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    "I define a thug as a criminal who preys on other."

    It's not that simple Mr. C.J. Williams. You must define "a criminal" and the behavior that can be described as "preys on [an]other."

    Would "a criminal" be defined as someone who breaks any law?

    Would the act of "preying on another" be defined as "threatening to harm, actually harming, or stealing from someone?"

    "...I would like less of them, while you apparently would like more."  If it will help with the reading comprehension: I will again respectfully ask you, or anyone else, NOT to deliberately threaten, beat, steal, rape, rob, maim, or kill me or anyone else. Thanks.

    I have applauded the police department working with the community to solve problems, and hope that will continue. I have applauded the spectacular police work performed by the first-responding officer at the scene of the accidental shooting of the 3 year-old. I have also suggested that the criminal justice system is not designed to solve the root problems. The community stands a better chance of reducing the root problems. The criminal justice system can only react when the community doesn't solve its problems; or, the criminal justice system causes problems when it enforces hypocritcal laws, or reasonable laws, with disproportionate, unproductive, non-restorative, injust punishments and sanctions. Also, it has been observed that a few members of law enforcement also break the rules and perpetrate violence and cheating themselves on occasion. Maybe that last observation has caused the current distraction and misunderstanding and should have been left out of this particular discussion. However, it was you, Mr. C.J. Williams, who did not appreciate seeing in this article's photograph the truthful critics of past events and trends, who are now working with the police department to solve the proliferation of guns. (Why aren't you, Mr. C.J. Williams, in the photograph, since you care so much?) So,...a reminder that officers and lawyers are humans too and have acted badly too was needed to defend the past critics in the photograph, who had a legitimate case then; and are right to work with police now. What is unusual today, the police departments are accepting the help. 

    The concept of a "thug," was brought up by you, Mr. C.J. Williams, when you said earlier:

    "Regarding the 14 year old pointing the gun at the head of a three year old and pulling the trigger for the purpose of gun safety, I agree with you.  He should be provided every opportunity for rehab and counseling....However, it is a action of older thuggery that he was mimicing that resulted in the death of this child and that is unforgivable." And then later you said:

    "So let me get this straight...Thugs who steal homeowners guns-  just poor misunderstood folks who are harrassed by the evil police."

    Onto more important questions: Which is it for you,... is the 14 year-old a person who "should be provided every opportunity for rehab and counseling?" as you indicated earlier,


    is the 14 year-old an "unforgivable thug?"


    CJ Williams wrote on May 27, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    If it will help with the reading comprehension: I will again respectfully ask you, or anyone else, NOT to deliberately threaten, beat, steal, rape, rob, maim, or kill me or anyone else. Thanks.

    Unless you break into my home in the middle of the night to harm me or my family, I can assure you that I have no intention of harming you or others.  Unlike the thugs who run in this city, I respect the safety of others.  Sadly you do  not.

    rsp wrote on May 27, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    And hopefully you'll look before you shoot in case a family member startles you in the night. And none of the neighbors should be concerned about missed shots coming into their homes either. But you will feel safe.

    rsp wrote on May 27, 2012 at 12:05 am

    It is a question of do we want to work together and find solutions or do we want to clutch our guns "till they pry them from our cold dead fingers". If you plan on protecting your property with a gun, I have two questions for you. Have you documented what is in your house? And what is in there that is worth dying for? Is your tv worth more than your life? Cell phone? I could go on. How many people "burglar-proof" their homes? Make them less attractive to prowlers. Know their neighbors. Keep the bushes trimmed around their homes. Lock the windows and the doors. Why is the first thought to get a gun?

    Bob620 wrote on May 27, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    It is more like the intruder needs to ask himself if my belongings are worth dying for. Has everyone forgotten what happened in 2009 in Indianola? A town only a few miles away. As far as FOID cards go, anyone who has followed the law and filled out an application or renewal for a FOID card knows how much of a joke that is.  That is why there was proposed legislation right here in Illinois to do away with the FOID card program.

    Sid Saltfork wrote on May 27, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    I know of several people who have been denied a FOID card based on prior convictions.  Maybe, the program has it's flaws; but should it be thrown out?  It does screen legal offenders in Illinois, and from other states.  I am understanding that many of the gun nut commentors do not want any control of guns.  I have no problems with gun owners being checked out by law enforcement.  I have no problems with FOID card holders carrying their gun in plain sight in public.  I have no problems with legal gun owners having a gun in their home.  Why is there all of the opposition to legal gun ownership?  Why do gun nuts want to have no background checks; and hide their guns in public places like stores, schools, churches, and on the streets?  They say that it is protect them from the criminals.  How does the public know who are the criminals?  More guns without some control will bring more deaths wheather they are accidental, or intentional.  Those that disagree with me should meet at midnight on Monday in the Assembly Hall parking lot.  Drink a lot of beer before you go.   

    rsp wrote on May 27, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    That was three years ago. Involving a trained law enforcement officer. Does your training with a gun compare? Most cases involve people entering a house that is empty. That person you are so scared of? That "drug-crazed person" in your mind? They don't expect to live a long life. You probably will never meet them. 

    Local Yocal wrote on May 27, 2012 at 8:05 pm
    Profile Picture

    It's doubtful the 2nd Amendment proponents and police apologists could tolerate the criminal justice system solving the problem of stolen handguns.
    At this press conference, police departments encourage citizens who own weapons to "make sure their weapons are secure."
    One poster here defines the keeping of a weapon secure as "Keep weapons locked up, and out of reach."
    Those that wish for a Conceal and Carry law know that a locked gun, out of reach defeats the purpose of owning a gun.
    For a gun to be effective toward protection, the gun must be loaded, and be readily available. There isn't time to unlock a gun, were an intruder to come into the house. What would happen if the criminal justice system were to be used to solve this problem?

    Somebody, somewhere would grow a brain and might decide to exercise "leadership" by "doing something," in response to the recent tragedies and the prevalence of children getting access to guns.
    A law is crafted to make it a Class 4 felony to harbor a loaded firearm in an unlocked manner within 1000 ft. of minors defined as under 18 years old.
    One of the local legislators introduces the Bill into the House with the FOP's blessing.
    Through a series of glamorous press conferences and testimonies before committees in Springfield, local law enforcement officials solemnly recount the horrific tragedy of three year-old Mekhi Woods to justify this new law.
    Debate among legislators cast "The Gun Lock-Down Law" as one that will "save the children" and will "prevent handgun thefts," seen as the number one way "criminals" acquire handguns.
    Over the bitter objection from Tea Party-ists, Conservatives, and Guns Save Lives who denounce the law as more "nanny government legislation,"
    the bill becomes law: anyone discovered to be storing an unlocked handgun near children is subject to arrest and will be charged with a Class 4 felony.
    It is affectionately referred to, in loving memory of the innocent three-year old, as "Mekhi's Law."

    Similar to drinking and driving, smoking marijuana, teenagers experimenting with sex, underage college students binge drinking, shoppers discarding plastic bags everywhere, and drivers talking on their cellphones while driving; life goes on, the law is largely ignored by people who are going to do what they are going to do. Most rationalize their decision to
    keep their firearm unlocked as one of necessity, and mockery of another Unfunded State Mandate.

    Meanwhile, Johnny Normal goes to school and at the lunch table with his friends, brags proudly that his dad keeps a gun under his bed and will shoot anybody who tries to come into their house. The Cafeteria Monitor overhears the conversation and makes a note of which child said that. Under the new Mandated Reporter Program, the Cafeteria Monitor notifies the SRO, who then collects the child's information and parents' information from school records. The SRO compiles a report that a handgun may be unlocked at the following residence with children in the house, a violation of The Gun Lock-down Law. The SRO forwards the information to Post, and the report is given to the Street Crimes Unit for further action.

    Staff verifies that the residence is occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Normal, with two kids; and a check of the FOID database confirms that a handgun bought two years ago is indeed registered under the same Mr. Normal. Command staff, however, is not comfortable compromising their intelligence-gathering techniques at the school, so further evidence is going to be needed. The work hours of Mr. and Mrs. Normal are verified, and it is determined that the residence will most likely be unoccupied during a given set of hours while the kids are at school. The K-9 unit is sent to the residence during these hours, and the highly-trained dog is allowed to walk around the perimeter of the building. Sure enough, the dog "hits" on the scent of gun powder somewhere in the household. A report is written to the effect that police, acting on a tip from an "anonymous informant," have confirmed the presence of a handgun at Mr. and Mrs. Normal's residence and have reasonable suspicion and probable cause to believe the gun inside the household, where two minors also reside, may be unlocked. Judge A-hole signs off on a search warrant.

    Command staff then round up the Multi-jurisdictional SWAT Team for briefing of this week's upcoming details. Command staff decide it would be good to have the less-experienced members of the team heavily participate on this one for the training, since recovery of this handgun should be fairly easy at Mr. and Mrs. Normal's house. Command staff do not want the Team to develop any unsafe bad habits, however, so the information that Mr. and Mrs. Normal have no criminal record and only a few traffic tickets are withheld from the Team. Command Staff tells the Team to treat this search and seizure like any other. And remember, this suspect may be armed with a deadly weapon. Officer safety is top priority- you don't know what is on the other side of the door.

    It is decided that since the unlocked handgun is under the bed, it would be best to conduct the raid well before bed time, but still utilize the cover of nightfall to assume positions. At around 9:00 p.m. after dinner, 12 police officers arrive to Mr. and Mrs. Normal's house to seize the unlocked handgun. The lead officer knocks on the door, and when Mr. Normal swings the door open, boom! A gun is pointed in his face, and commands are shouted for him to get on the ground. Mr. Normal yells back, "What the f---! You guys have the wrong address!!" believing this to be some kind of drug raid. Two more officers swiftly enter and come to either side of Mr. Normal. While the officers grab his arms and body slam his face onto the floor, it is explained they are the police and have a search warrant. One officer puts his knee into the back of Mr. Normal's neck, while two other officers are securing his arms to his back so as to apply handcuffs. In answer to Mr. Normal's shouts of "What the hell is going on?" Officers are shouting back for him to quit resisting.
    Mrs. Normal runs to the commotion at the front door and is greeted by two more officers who point guns at her, yelling for her to get on the ground. As she is crying and screaming for officers to get off her husband, officers apply similar knee techniques to her as they apply the handcuffs. Mr. Normal becomes angry and through a string of expletives, swears he will sue all of them for false arrest. One officer tells him to "Shut the f--- up." and sprays him in the face with pepper spray while he is handcuffed. More officers come in and go to the children's bedrooms.
    The daughter panics and freaks out at the sight of men in black storming her bedroom. Two officers are required to subdue her and as the terrified child screams and is squirming in resistance to the officers, the adrenaline rushing moment causes one of the lessor experienced officers to crunch the handcuffs too hard on the child's wrists. She is hauled into the living room with her handcuffed parents, crying that the handcuffs are hurting her.
    Two more officers enter Johnny Normal's bedroom and shut the door. One officer calmly tells Johnny that everything is going to be okay, they just need to know where his dad keeps the handgun. In shock, Johnny mumbles, "Under his bed." Three other officers find the main bedroom and pull back the mattress. Bingo. There's the pistol. Just as a rookie is about to touch it to see if its loaded, a superior officer shouts "Stop!" and pulls out his digital camera and tells the rook to hold the mattress back while he photographs this still life. As the officer checks to make sure he got the picture on camera, he jokes, "Case closed." The gun is carefully placed in a baggy for evidence and will be sent to Springfield for fingerprints.
    A commanding officer tells the others to take everybody out to squad cars in the 37-degree weather, and to un-handcuff the little barefooted girl, and put the brother and sister in the same car. Nobody from the Normal household is wearing winter jackets, nor afforded an opportunity to do so.
    Mr. Normal is fuming mad as officers wipe down his face from the burning irritant. He is screaming that all will be sued and they are crazy thugs. He is told to calm down and "Mr. Uncooperative" as the pepper-spraying officer jokingly nicknames him, is placed in the back of the squad car still in handcuffs.
    Mrs. Normal is un-handcuffed and placed in front of a squad car so as to audio and video record the conversation. She is told to settle down and her children are fine. She is asked  whether she knew if her husband kept his gun locked up. Mrs. Normal attempts to talk her family out of custody, demanding her family be released, they've done nothing wrong and officers hurt their daughter for no reason. Mrs. Normal is asked again, did her husband keep his gun locked up. The second she says, "I don't know, I think he kept it under the bed somewhere," a senior officer smiles and says, "We got it," knowing the statement has been recorded to corroborate the photo. After getting the ages and names of the children, Mrs. Normal is placed back in the squad car and told she will be with her children shortly.
    Officers are reminded to check their digital audio recorders and make sure they captured Mr. Normal's cussing them out at the door so they can document his resisting arrest. Mr. Normal is read his rights and hauled off to jail. Mrs. Normal and the children are released and left alone at the house. From knock on the door, to driving away, the incident lasted no more than 20 minutes. The supervising officer compliments the Team on a job well done, but now it's time to really get to work, secure the evidence for court.

    Officers spend most of the evening and morning writing their reports and compiling, copying the digital evidence to be sent to the State's Attorney's office next morning. A press release is written and faxed to The News-Gazette.  We read next day: "Acting on a search warrant, the Multi-jurisdictional SWAT Team recovered yet another unlocked gun where two children, ages 11 and 13 were living. Urbana Police Chief Connolly said, 'Thanks to the legislature, we now have the tools to keep children safe.' Arrested subsequent to the search, was Mr. Normal, age 39, of Champaign-Urbana, who resides at the 000 block of Yourstreet. He will be arraigned on charges of Resisting Arrest, Unlawful Storage of a Firearm [Mekhi's Law], and Child Endangerment." 

    N-G bloggers hail law enforcement for finally cracking down on these idiot, irresponsible parents. 

    Bob620 wrote on May 27, 2012 at 10:05 pm

     The right of self defense was only one of about a half dozen or so reasons our founding fathers felt the second amendment was important. Remember many of them were smugglers who took up arms against the controlling goverment to spark a revolution.  For me personally the right to bear arms for self defense is the last reason I keep a gun as someone posted earlier I would have to find it then unlock it then find my ammo which is locked in another location. The young boy that was killed is a tragedy and shouldnt have happened, but many of the other shootings are indeed a moral issue which will only be solved when attitudes change and life is valued . Legislation and FOID cards are not stopping the crimes. Chicago has a handgun ban. How well is that working? You really dont believe that the police are going to protect you do you?

    rsp wrote on May 27, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    Now here I thought Mr. Normal was going to defend himself against the SWAT team. They don't knock by the way. They do have a nice battering ram. 

    wayward wrote on May 28, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    From what I understand, the situation with the 14-year-old accidentally shooting his nephew was kind of a perfect storm.  The 17-year-old's family had lost their housing and was moving to Rantoul, and the 14-year-old's mother agreed to let the 17-year-old stay with the family for 10 days so he could graduate from UHS.  The older boy had been exposed to some rougher elements, and it's possible that he may have brought the gun into the house.  The 14-year-old wasn't the first person in history who didn't understand than even if the magazine is removed from a semiautomatic, there could still be a bullet in the chamber.  From what I understand, that confusion has resulted in other accidental shootings.  Tragically, in this situation, a 3-year-old boy was killed.

    rsp wrote on May 29, 2012 at 4:05 am

    That's how most accidental shootings occur when someone is cleaning their own gun . My uncle drove it how with me that there is no such thing as an unloaded gun. Now my three year old grandson has seen the pictures of that sweet little boy on tv and started talking about guns being bad. And I found out my granddaughters thought if they found one they should pick it up and take it to an adult. NO! Get an adult. 

    Keith Hays wrote on May 30, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    Let us be clear about a couple of things.

    First, the 9MM semi automatic pistol functioned precisely as it was designed to do.  It fulfilled the purpose of its manufacture.  When the trigger was pulled it expelled a projectile designed specifically for the purpose of administering damage to whatever the projectile struck.  The handgun fulfilled its only purpose - its use killed a human being.  It did not protect a person or property.  It did not save a life or lives.  Whether it was openly displayed or carried about concealed from view is immaterial.  The weapon was used as it was designed to be used - to bring about the death of a human being.

    Second, some law abiding citizen exercising his or her right under the Second Amendment to the United States lawfully purchased the handgun at retail.  That purchase was made knowingly and understandingly with the knowledge that the designed purpose of the weapon was to administer death to a human being.  That subsequently the weapon was stolen or otherwise unlawfully acquired one or more times is also immaterial.  It was the lawful purchase of the 9MM semi-automatic pistol that set in motion the chain of events that ended when the trigger was pulled and a three year old boy died. It certainly did not protect the original purchaser or his or her property from criminal activity.

    No rhetorical appeals to the Constitutional Right to Bear Arms; no political pleading for a legislatively conferred right to conceal one's possesion of an instrument of deadly force can change those two immutable facts.  


    Sid Saltfork wrote on May 30, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Keith Hays;  That was a good, and logical comment.

    Local Yocal wrote on May 30, 2012 at 9:05 pm
    Profile Picture

    Setting aside the first domino to fall was the invention of guns and their mass production, Mr. Hays tells us that guns are deadly and guns are lawfully sold. In relation to the tragedy of the 3 year-old, the State's Attorney claims the first domino to fall was the 14 year-old's alleged theft of the gun in Rantoul. Others on this thread say the real first domino to fall was the failure of the users of the weapons to understand how guns are to be handled. And still others claim the first domino to fall was the failure of the police to randomly search citizens for carrying illegally obtained weapons. Since it's doubtful the selling of deadly guns is going to stop any time soon, perhaps Mr. Hays would elaborate what his point is.

    The police and the pastors seem to think the solution is for people to turn in their guns.