Monday, January 2, 2017

A grim death total in Chicago. More then 700 killed in the city in 2016.

The funeral for Rey Dorantes, a 14 year old killed in Chicago. Scott Olsen/Getty.

Chicago had 762 murders, more than both New York and LA combined. CBS News. The city saw 1100 more shootings then it did last year. The increase of violence is massive as 485 homicides occurred in 2015. Chicago isn't the only major city to have an increase in violence. San Jose, San Antonio and Dallas also saw a spike in homicides. Local officials blame guns for the murders in Chicago, but 80% of the deaths are related to gang violence. The vast majority of deaths have occurred in the poor, lower class, predominately black areas of Chicago, the South and West sides. The Chicago police department has come under withering criticism for their handling of the violence and for several incidents of alleged police brutality. 

My Comment:
2016 was a very bad year for Chicago. And the story didn't get much coverage in the national media. There were a few outlets that covered the story, including this blog, but since it was an election year, and the story hurt Democrats, it was largely ignored. 762 deaths is hard to ignore but the mainstream media has done their best to do so. 

I think the city of Chicago's explanation for why this carnage is happening is a complete joke. Instead of blaming poor leadership and bad law enforcement techniques, they blame Illinois already draconian and unconstitutional gun laws. If anything, Chicago is living proof that gun laws don't work. The laws in Chicago are even more strict than the state of Illinois, but they have done nothing to slow down the murder rate. 

Indeed, if anything the carnage might have been less if the people of Chicago were allowed to properly defend themselves. Though 80% of the murders in Chicago were gang related, the 20% that weren't could have been less if people were able to use guns to defend themselves. As is it is now, the people of Chicago are helpless against the gangs. 

Another factor is the "Ferguson Effect". Given the huge spotlight that Chicago's police are under, due to allegations of brutality, is it any wonder that they aren't making as many arrests? Not only have they had to deal with local incidents, they also have had to deal with the fallout of other highly publicized and highly dubious cases of "police brutality", such as the Michael Brown shooting and the death of Freddie Gray. Those cases have turned large elements of the public, especially the African American community, against the police. 

That isn't to say that Chicago doesn't have problems. Chicago has long been known for corruption and dirty machine party politics. The state has also had problems with corruption as well, with 4 of the last 7 governors going to prison. I have no doubt that the rot in Chicago extends to the police department as well. 

Still, you have to admit that for a rookie cop working the West or South sides it would be a bad situation. Not only would you have to deal with some of the worst crime in the United States, you also have to worry about the public's reaction if you are forced to defend yourself. A Chicago cop is in a situation where even if they do everything right, in horrible life or death situation, they can still get crucified by the media and activist groups like Black Lives Matter. Is it any wonder why they are reluctant to enforce the laws? 

So if gun laws and criticism of police won't stop the violence, what will? Obviously I think getting rid of the corruption in Chicago could go a long way to solving the problem. If the city choose it's leaders based on competence instead of what political party they belonged to and how loyal they are to the local machine, this problem probably would have never gotten that far. Of course, asking for good governance in Chicago is like asking for a good season for the Cleveland Browns. It's probably possible but if you hold your breath waiting for it, you won't survive. 

More aggressive policing could probably help things. New York had some success with stop and frisk laws, as controversial as they are. Stopping random people who look suspicious would probably help get many of these gang members off the street as they would inevitably get caught with guns and drugs. Unfortunately, since young African Americans would suffer from a disparate impact, stop and frisk is considered super racist even if it would help things. In America these days avoiding even the appearance of racism is more important then saving lives.

Another option would be to somehow solve the war on drugs. Right now that seems about as feasible as curing cancer in a year, but you can't deny that the drug trade is the engine that is fueling Chicago's violence. Donald Trump has suggested that his border wall might help with cutting off the supply, but that solution is years away at best and probably wouldn't even be 100% effective. Legalizing the less dangerous drugs like pot probably wouldn't help much either since their will always be money to be made in the drugs that can't be legalized like cocaine and heroin. 

Sadly, the most successful solution for Chicago's gang war is to just let one of the gangs take over completely. Though that would inevitably lead to more corruption, with only one game in town, the war over turf and costumers would probably end. Such a solution, though effective, is probably politically impossible and is certainly unethical as well. And you couldn't argue that it would be giving up. 

Unfortunately, I don't see much changing in Chicago anytime soon. Perhaps the political climate will change and we can at least slow or reduce the amount of violence there.  I really don't see that happening there and I am guessing that 2017 won't be much better then 2016. Since 2017 started with 3 deaths and 16 wounded on New Years Day, I am not holding my breath... 

1 comment:

  1. I think that as long as its blacks killing blacks our society, our elected officials, and the police will do little to correct the situation. I can't blame them when black people themselves are doing little to help. They would rather blame white people than work on their own problems.