“The city is prepared…. Remember, we started changing what we were doing after the Boston marathon [bombing] and we upped our game dramatically.”
The city is “prepared” to host Sunday’s Chicago Marathon and the return of play-off baseball to Wrigley Field after six test-runs over the last year for “active shooter incidents,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Monday.
Emanuel spoke in somber and, he hoped, reassuring tones hours after a lone gunman opened fire from a Las Vegas hotel room onto concertgoers below, killing 58 and wounding more than 500.
“The city is prepared and doing its work. Remember, we started changing what we were doing after the Boston marathon [bombing] and we upped our game dramatically. The city had the World Series last year and so, we also had to change and up our game from a security standpoint,” the mayor said.
Emanuel said officials from the Police and Fire Departments will huddle with the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications to determine whether any changes need to be made to tighten things up in the wake of the mass shooting in Las Vegas that was the most deadly in American history.
“If anything has to be done, they’re gonna do it. [But] I’m not so sure, based on Boston and the World Series, that we haven’t already been doing and practicing—not just response, but preventive measures already in place, both technology and road closures and all the other aspects,” the mayor said.
“… We increased our security preparations post-Boston [Marathon] shooting and we’ve been running exercises anyway pre-Vegas from the Boston experience and that will only be enhanced. There has been preparation and work for a situation pre-Vegas—not with Vegas particularly in mind… We increased it up to six….scenario-based situations with an active shooter for the type of situations that happened there.”
Emanuel said the test-runs used to be confined to the Police and Fire Departments. But the six rehearsals over the last year have included dispatchers from the Office of Emergency Management and Communications as well as 33 Chicago area hospitals and four trauma units.
Cubs spokesman Julian Green said the defending World Series champs are already having discussions with the city on post-season preparations and he’s certain the mass shooting in Las Vegas “will figure into our efforts to make sure we provide an enjoyable and safe environment.”
Alicia Tate-Nadeau, executive director of the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications, added, “We’ve been looking at events happening both internationally and nationally and, as they occur, we modify the plan.”
“This year, we’ll have additional equipment and personnel out on the marathon and we’ve increased different types of technology, too,” she said.
As a brash young staffer for then-President Bill Clinton, Emanuel helped to pass the Brady Bill and the ban on assault weapons.
Under questioning Monday about the mass shooting in Vegas, the mayor put in yet another plug for, what Democrats like to call “sensible gun control.”
Emanuel said it’s time to remove, what he called the “political clamp-down to repeal the progress that was made under President Clinton on gun-control.”
“Gang members, mental health issues, those who have criminal backgrounds–you have to interject and stop them from having access [to guns]. It is a public safety tool. It’s not everything. But it is an important tool,” the mayor said.
“It would have been helpful—not just for this situation. For day-in, day-out situations.”
The mayor noted that the U. S. House last week welcomed back one of their own who was a victim of a random shooting at a baseball practice: House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.
“At some point, rather than ideology, we’ll realize that this is a situation that, with proper, responsible gun control laws, can actually prevent a horrific, worst-ever in American history situation,” the mayor said.
“I believe you can persuade people–not to change their views but to realize that what we’re doing today is not working. The Brady Bill, the five-day waiting period and the assault weapons ban did work. This should be a wake-up call to all of us… That is my hope and I believe it’s possible. Am I aware of political realities? Yes. But I still hold out hope that we can change people.”