Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Mixed message on urban violence

Call it the advantage of multiple news organizations reporting happenings – we get a more-thorough picture of reality.

Or perhaps it is the concept of dueling news organizations – with the various sides unable to agree on what they want the message to be. Which still results in a greater picture of what is occurring within our society.

THOUGHTS THAT RUN through my mind as I peruse reports by the Chicago Sun-Times and WBBM-TV – both of which purport to be about the levels of violent crime and murder that are occurring in Chicago.

With some individuals of a certain ideological leaning eager to want to believe that the city of Chicago is amongst the grubbiest, grossest, most violent places that exist within the United States – if not anywhere on Planet Earth.

Which is a gross exaggeration, although there are certain neighborhoods where the levels of violence seem so intense that we have to wonder how we as a people could ever have let conditions get so out of hand in those places. Although many of us choose to cope with such conditions by ignoring such places altogether.

The Sun-Times took the angle in a story published Monday that this very weekend that marks the half-way point through 2019 is yet another of a bloody morass that is modern-day Chicago.

THE HEADLINE ALONE says it all – 56 shot – 4 fatally – in Chicago over weekend.

With a subhead pointing out one incident alone on Saturday where five people were shot on the Near West Side, although in that incident, it should be noted that all five individuals were able to get themselves to area hospitals where they were ‘treated and released’ for their wounds.

Bloodshed galore. It’s a wonder we don’t have Donald Trump engaging in yet another Twitter-motivated rant about how gory Chicago has become.

But then, there was the CBS-operated station in Chicago, which came out with a story the same morning indicating the number of shootings in Chicago are down for 2019 – compared to the past.

ALTHOUGH WBBM-TV INDICATED that this was a particularly harsh weekend of violence in Chicago, overall, it seems there are signs of improvement.

Some 1,229 shootings in Chicago through Sunday – about 100 less than the first half of 2018 and lower than any year since 2015.

Also, we have 236 murders in Chicago thus far this year – which the TV reports indicate is 21 less than the fist half of last year.

And certainly might put Chicago at about 260 or so slayings for this year – if things continue at this rate. Far less than the recent years when the homicide totals reached 700 or more (or the late 1980s when Chicago would easily come close to 1,000 murders annually.

SO WAS THIS Chicago Police Department spin control in trying to give us a bigger picture about the amount of violence and crime occurring in Chicago? Or is it ideological prattle to come up with tales of how bloody and out-of-control the city was on this past weekend?

Or is it really evidence that “facts” can be found to justify any point of view one wants to take on just about any issue.

Personally, I’m inclined to think that some people use the story of urban violence in such ways as to confirm whatever ideological hang-ups they have about life and our society – wanting to further lambast whomever or whatever they have contempt for.

Then again, to those four people who were killed this weekend prior to Independence Day in Chicago this year, it WAS a most-tragic period of time – a moment that their families will forevermore mourn for its great loss!


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