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Bobby Rush: Mark Kirk's Mass Gang Arrest Proposal An 'Elitist White Boy Solution'

By Chuck Sudo in News on May 30, 2013 7:40PM

2013_3_30_Rush.gif U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush responded to a proposal by Sen. Mark Kirk to crack down on the Gangster Disciples with mass arrests as an “upper middle class elitist white boy solution to a problem he knows nothing about.”

Kirk said during a Wednesday appearance at the Union League Club of Chicago with Sen. Dick Durbin he would ask the Senate Appropriations Committee to earmark $30 million to “go after” the Gangster Disciples and charge them with "’drug dealing’ and ‘murdering people, which is what they do.’ ”

Per DNAInfo Chicago:

"My top priority is to arrest the Gangster Disciple gang, which is 18,000 people. I would like...a mass pickup of them and put them all in the Thomson Correctional Facility," the Illinois Republican told Fox32's political editor Mike Flannery. "I will be proposing this to the assembled federal law enforcement: ATF, DEA and FBI," Kirk said. He said he has talked about the plan with federal prosecutors and the FBI. "They usually say, when you talk about 18,000 arrests, 'Oh! That's a lot!'" Kirk said. "You know, I've talked with federal judges about how we could handle hundreds of defendants."

Never mind that Illinois has a problem with overcrowded prisons and Kirk’s plan would only exacerbate that, mind you. Rush told the Sun-Times that $30 million would be better spent on “job creation and job training” rather than simply throwing 18,000 gang bangers into prison. Rush later sent an email softening his criticism of Kirk and that his plan “does not include the option to create jobs, provide affordable and safe housing, quality health care and improve schools in urban areas.”

“Why is incarceration the sole option instead of rehabilitation which is proven to work and not locking young men up?” Rush added.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel addressed the Rush-Kirk dustup during an appearance Thursday. Emanuel, who spearheaded Bill Clinton’s 1995 crime-fighting legislation, said there’s no single strategy that can eliminate crime and stressed law enforcement must be vigilant in getting criminals off the streets.

"The law enforcement community should be able at all levels to make sure that if you commit a crime you serve the time," he said. "The full force of the criminal justice system should come down on those who commit crime.”