Chicago is Hell on Earth
Chicago is famous for a number of things American. Deep dish pizza, eclectic night life, a downtown beach and cold winters. Jean Baptiste Point du Sable is purported to be the founder of Chicago. It is now known that he was of African descent. Also, the Harold Washington Library, named after the first African American mayor of Chicago, is the largest municipal library in the country. The one thing that scares me now is the amount f gun violence that Chicago is known for. Over the course of the long July 4th weekend, over 70 people were shot with 11 fatalities. While this is shocking to me, it barely registered a blip on the national news.
At one time, Chicago was a haven for African Americans fleeing the South. Martin Luther King set up shop in the city for a while in hopes of achieving racial equality. He didn't stay long. Also, Chicago became known for the squalor and misery associated with the Cabrini Green housing projects:
At its peak, Cabrini–Green was home to 15,000 people, living in mid- and high-rise apartment buildings totaling 3607 units. Over the years, gang violence and neglect created terrible living conditions for the residents, and the name "Cabrini–Green" became synonymous with the problems associated with public housing in the United States. The last of the buildings in Cabrini–Green was demolished in March 2011.
I watched a special on gang violence in Chicago and particularly in the Cabrini Green housing projects. The violence and bloodshed was devastating. One of the reasons for demolishing the projects was to break the grip of the gangs and make them easier to police. A couple of years later and it is evident that this strategy is not working. Women, men, children, teenagers and anyone sitting on a porch or at a barbecue are all fair game. It was recounted in the Chicago Tribune how at least 34 people were shot over Father's day weekend with 9 people dying as a result. Why don't we have a national referendum on gun violence as a result? President Obama and his family are residents of Chicago. Mayor Rahm Emmanuel worked in the Obama administration before heading back to Chicago. Can we save some of our fellow citizens from the carnage that is taking place?
Hadiya Pendleton, God rest her soul, became part of a national news story when she was gunned down in Chicago earlier this year. She and her drill team had just attended the Presidential inauguration and were in a schoolyard when some purported gang members shot in the direction of she and her friends. The gang members were captured and are currently awaiting trial. I can imagine the grief that her family felt. Sadly, the story of her death did nothing to cease the senseless gun violence that continues unabated in Chicago. We should look to our political leaders in this instance. Vice President Biden was an ardent supporter of increased background checks and a ban on assault weapons. Even in the wake of the tragedy in Newton, CT, our Republican leaders defeated an attempt at sanity and safety in this country.
There is some positive news coming out of two major cities on the east coast. Both Philadelphia and New York City are reporting major drops in gun violence. I want to credit effective policing strategies. It has been recounted in Philadelphia that a Gunstat program is targeting areas with high gun violence and focusing on repeat offenders. New York has very strict gun laws and this is a deterrent also, Ask Plaxico Burress what carrying an unlicensed gun did for him and his career. I only hope that someone can come up with an effective strategy to help save the present and future victims of gun violence in Chicago. It seems like the randomness of some of the violence are signs of gang initiation rites. Focus on gangs and try to eradicate the need for them. In the mean time, more effective gun control is definitely needed.