A Wedding of Form & Function – Chicagoans Try to Bribe Politicians to Reduce Gun Violence

CHICAGO — In an inspired burst of synergistic cannibalism, the residents of the Windy City are launching a multi-front effort to feed one of their most pervasive social problems to another one. Civic groups and grassroots organizations are rolling up their sleeves, girding their loins and preparing to dig deep to bribe Chicago’s infamously bent and pocket-lining leaders into tackling the city’s plague of gun violence.

“I don’t know why we didn’t think of this before,” said Melanie Simmons as she manned a baking stand under a sign that read “BUY A BROWNIE, BUY AN ALDERMAN.” “My Shawn was gunned down four years ago and I wrote my representatives, I signed the petitions, I even organized a march or two – but I didn’t put two and two together. It’s simple: what do my elected officials respond to? Money.”

In February, the University of Illinois’ Institute of Government and Public Affairs conducted a study that called Chicago the most corrupt city in America, with more than 1,500 convictions of public officials between 1976 and 2010. Chicago also “boasted” more than 500 homicides last year, most of them from handguns, which a Bloomberg analysis estimates cost the city $2.5 billion dollars, or about $2,500 per household. Illinois criminology professor Ted Mosley applauds what he called “the blight death match” between the two felonious ills.

“When life hands you lemons, make lemonade,” Mosley said. “When life hands you crooked politicians and more illegal firearms than a cartel quinceañera, you can either turn the politicians on the guns, or you turn the guns on the politicians, which wouldn’t really work, because more dirty weeds would just spring up in their place. I mean, we’ve had two former governors convicted of corruption in just the last 10 years, after all. This is genius. They don’t respond to votes, only to moolah. I just hope they can raise enough money for the big guns, pun intended. Those guys don’t come cheap.”

A Kickstarter campaign called Backscratcher Gun-Buy-Backer has been launched, and various black-tie events with celebrity guests are planned, but it appears Mosley is correct: Chicago politicians can apparently be bought, but not easily.

One public figure who asked not to be named said he’s “got this fucking thing, this peace and security, and it’s fucking golden, and [he’s] not giving it up for fucking nothing.”