Hutchinson said she changed her mind on the NRA in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., in mid-December.Just to make sure everyone understands her explanation, Hutchinson leads off the new "gun safety" section of her website with this: "The tragic events in Connecticut have caused many to reevaluate their positions on gun control..."
The question for IL-02 voters is this: how geniune is Hutchinson's convenient conversion? Did the tragic deaths of children resonate with Hutchinson so much that she suddenly decided she no longer believes that "law-abiding citizens don’t need any more infringements on their constitutional right to protect their families and their property"?
Certainly, since Hutchinson took office, Chicago and Illinois as a whole have seen their share of heart-wrenching shooting tragedies. Here's just a sample of horrific shootings that dominated news coverage in Illinois since Hutchinson took office:
- A few weeks after Hutchinson was inaugurated in January 2009, news broke that the bodies of Nova Henry, 24, and her 9-month-old daughter Ava were found shot to death in their Chicago home. The story dominated the news as Nova was the mother of ex-Bulls player Eddy Curry's young son.
- In 2010, James Larry shot and killed his pregnant wife, their baby son, his two-year-old neice and a 16-year-old niece who was pregnant. He also attempted to kill his mother and his nephew.
A map of Chicago area shootings in 2012.
- In the month of July 2010 alone, over 300 people were killed or injured as a result of gun violence in Chicago, the equivalent of a Sandy Hook massacre every three days.
- In fact, in 2010, more Illinois children died from gunshot wounds than from car crashes. Guns that year killed more Illinois children than sudden infant death syndrome, fire, drowning, and poisoning/overdose combined.
- In August of the following year, 18-year-old Timothy Jones listened as "17-year-old Charinez Jefferson begged the gunman not to shoot because she was pregnant." He shot her in the head, "then stood over her as she lay on the ground and fired several more times, striking her in the chest and back." Charinez was survived by the baby boy she was carrying, a boy doctors were able to deliver from his mother's bullet-ridden body.
- That same month, 6-year-old Arianna Gibson would be killed in her sleep as a gunman walked up to a window and started spraying bullets into her home.
- Later that year, a week before Christmas, 30-year-old Sara McMeen of Emington, Illinois would fire bullets into her boyfriend, 29-year-old Daniel Warren, and their three innocent children: 8-year-old Skyler Lemke, 7-year-old Ian Lemke and 10-month-old Maggie Warren. She then turned the gun on herself.
- In April of 2012, Tonishia Allen and her 1-year-old daughter Jaliyah were asleep when shots were fired into their home. Little Jaliyah was shot in the head. It was the second time gun violence touched that family. Five years earlier, Tonishia's sister was shot to death.
- In August of 2012, two men on bicycles rode by 8-year-old Tanaja Stokes and 7-year-old Ariana Jones as they jumped rope and shot both of them in the head. Tanaja died.
- Since Hutchinson was inaugurated, 1,836 people were murdered by guns in Chicago alone. In the 12 months prior to the Sandy Hook massacre, almost 500 people were murdered using guns in Chicago. Most shooting fatalities in Chicago are under the age of 25.
Not one of these slaughters of innocent children, not all of them in the aggregate nor all of those that aren't listed prompted Hutchinson to turn her back on the NRA or its positions.
Hutchinson also claims that she's distancing herself from the NRA because of the NRA's proposal to put guards in schools:
She contends NRA leadership under CEO Wayne LaPierre is out of touch with its own members in calling for armed security at the nation's schools.The NRA's long-standing position is to have guns everywhere and anywhere. The group made national headlines in 2005 when it called for armed teachers in schools (before Hutchinson accepted the NRA's endorsement) and Wayne LaPierre's CPAC speech in 2011 was a mirror image of his post-Sandy Hook comments (complete with calling for guns to protect schools and the whole "good guy with a gun vs. bad guy with a gun" shtick). Hutchinson accepted the NRA's support after both events. To feign ignorance of these proclaimed positions and to claim that she only just now realized that the NRA is crazy is an insult to voters in IL-02.
In her 2010 NRA questionnaire, Hutchinson echoed every single false-headed, Limbaugh/Pierre-esque dog whistle about the government being a "bad actor" when it comes to gun control.
Hutchinson now wants voters to believe that she "moderated" those right-wing, extreme positions that earned her an "A" NRA rating and that she's swung 180 degrees in the other direction, suddenly and genuinely becoming this absolute proponent of sound gun control measures on paper...all because of what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School (nevermind the steady stream of dead children in Chicagoland that did little to sway her opinion over the last three years). Such a transformation is possible, sure, but when a politician does it during election season in a hotly-contested race, it smacks of pure opportunism.
Daily Kos has endorsed Hutchinson's opponent, Robin Kelly in this race. Kelly is "proud" of her "F" rating from the NRA. In just a few days, this community has already raised over $50,000 to help send a true gun control advocate to Congress. Contribute $3 (or more!) right now and let's keep the momentum going!