Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Weekend shootings in the dozens; is this going to be a Chicago habit?

Initially, it sounded like one of those quirky stories that can enhance a news report – 36 people shot last weekend in a 36-hour time period.

EMANUEL: Looking to place blame?
Most of them survived – fortunately. But the 36 in 36 does have a nice ring to it – particularly since it happened only once. When would we get something comparable?

THE SCARY PART is that it only took one week. This past weekend, some 37 people were shot in Chicago, with nine winding up dying.

Is Chicago’s population now going to endure a three-dozen reduction each weekend? Somehow, I doubt the birth rate each weekend will balance things out.

Although I also find it saddening to realize that the last outburst of springtime violence came during the Easter weekend. The religious holiday devoted to the concept of rebirth wound up being more a tribute to the misery of Good Friday.

We’re also likely to get an outburst of the rancid rhetoric from political ideologues who are determined to want to believe Chicago is some sort of hellhole in which people are gunned down every day for no good reason.

THAT IS THE primary reason why I am disgusted by the violent outbursts – which don’t some quite so cute any longer.

Let’s only hope we don’t get 38 people shot this coming weekend. That would be just a little too cutesy to be taken seriously.

Less cutesy is the way political people are trying to spin the happenings.

KELLY: Jobs, not guns!
Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Monday he thinks it’s a matter of values – although is he trying to tell people to impose good values. Or is he trying to find people to blame for imposing crummy values?

I’M STILL TRYING to figure out the answer to those questions. Because it comes across like he’s more interested in placing blame, than finding a solution.

“Every child deserves a childhood, regardless of where they live,” Emanuel said during an unrelated press conference. “But to do that, our city and community, the neighborhoods that make up this city, cannot live by a ‘code of silence.’

“They have to live by a moral code,” he said, according to the Chicago Tribune. Does this mean Emanuel thinks some people bring violence on themselves? Just because they happen to get a lot in life that puts them in one of the city neighborhoods that officials have chosen to ignore whenever possible.”

McCARTHY: More cops, less violence?
Actually, I find myself more sympathetic to the thoughts of Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., who Monday night used a suburban East Hazel Crest appearance to say one of the reasons she wants to push for more programs focused on job creation is that she thinks providing more employment reduces the number of people who will feel compelled to use violence to try to get something out of life.

“NOTHING STOPS A bullet like a job,” she said, while adding she perceives the problem of violence as something that extends beyond Chicago or urban communities.

“It’s not an urban problem, it’s an American problem,” she said. “We want people to be responsible.”

Although there’s a practical notion to the way that police Superintendent Garry McCarthy wants to view the problem – he wants more police on the streets.

Which might not have the effect of reducing the social issues that create conditions spurring violence to higher levels. As McCarthy sees it, we might be focusing too much on the recent outbursts, which the Chicago Sun-Times reported he referred to as a “bad week” for Chicago.

A MORE LONG-RANGE approach probably needs to be taken. As McCarthy puts it, “our success doesn’t have to do with what happens today or tomorrow or what happened last week.

“It’s really going to be what happens in two years from now,” the superintendent said.


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