Chicago police say a concealed carry holder fended off a pair of robbers over the weekend, but even though he was acting in self-defense he’s likely going to be out of work as a result of his life-saving actions.
According to authorities, the rideshare driver was targeted early Saturday morning as he dropped off a fare.
The 26-year-old driver had dropped off a passenger about 1 a.m. in the 1500 block of South Millard Avenue when two people – a man, 20, and an 18-year-old woman – walked up to him and announced a robbery, according to Chicago police.
The male suspect took the victim’s cell phone, then fired shots as the two robbers tried to flee the scene, police said.
The driver, who has a valid concealed carry license, returned fire, striking the man in the leg and grazing the woman in the arm, police said. The driver was not injured.
Both suspects were taken into custody, while the rideshare driver has not been arrested or charged with a crime. Because both Uber and Lyft have driver disarmament policies requiring contracted drivers to go unarmed while on the job, however, it’s almost certain that the driver is or will soon be out of a job.
These policies mandating that drivers do a dangerous job without being able to protect themselves are an affront to common sense and public safety, and appear to be ignored by at least some drivers like this one. I can’t say that I blame them. In fact, I’d do the same if I were behind the wheel for one of these companies. Not that I have a lot of opportunities or need for a rideshare company in rural Virginia, but I try very hard not to ever be in a position to use Uber or Lyft, and will continue my unofficial boycott until the companies recognize that their policies are putting drivers at risk.
The idea that people are going to be better off if they’re unable to defend themselves is downright dangerous. Meanwhile, one anti-violence group in Chicago is floating an idea to reduce crime that’s just plan silly; asking violent criminals to wait until the sun sets before they open fire.
The proposal from Rogers Park-based Native Sons, known as “The People’s Ordinance,” was recently promoted in an email newsletter by Ald. Maria Hadden (49th).
Shootings are up significantly this year in Rogers Park. Chicago police believe a reignited gang war between local Gangster Disciples and Black P Stones in Uptown is to blame.
“We have to start somewhere,” Tatiana Atkins, co-founder of Native Sons, said. “Our goal is to approach our city’s gun violence problem strategically and not all at once. Things didn’t become this way overnight, and change won’t happen overnight.
… While Native Sons calls the movement an “ordinance,” no legislation has been drafted to formalize enhanced penalties for people who choose to shoot guns between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.
“We are not waiting for a bill or law to enforce what we feel needs to be done – this is a movement being carried along by social media and the media,” Atkins explained.
She said Ald. Hadden is supporting the group’s efforts. Hadden’s office did not respond to an email from CWBChicago about the alder’s commitment.
Ideally, people would never shoot guns in Chicago, but that’s not a realistic possibility, Atkins acknowledged.
“Not everyone is willing to drop their beef,” she said. “If you aren’t mentally and emotionally equipped to solve disputes in a healthy manner, if you can’t help but harm each other – do so in a capacity in which children, elderly and those not involved in high-risk activities are less likely to be affected.”
Here’s a thought: if police believe these shootings are the result of a gang war, maybe investigators should be working to take the ringleaders and trigger pullers off the streets no matter what time of day they’re committing their crimes. Appealing to the conscience of gang members and asking them to keep their shootings to the nighttime hours, as the group Native Sons is doing, is ridiculous, no matter how well-intentioned it might be. And as the case of the armed rideshare driver should remind them, there are still plenty of innocent victims on the streets of Chicago after 9 pm who will be in harm’s way because of the inability or unwillingness of Chicago authorities to crack down on gang activity.
My advice to those folks is to get their own concealed carry license and to take steps to protect themselves at all times. The gun control regime in Chicago and Illinois is doing absolutely nothing to prevent armed robberies, carjackings, and home invasions from taking place night and day, and depending on the kindness of violent criminals is a truly terrible way to stay safe.