Numbers don’t lie. Chicago is in desperate need of a long overdue intervention. The only thing killing more of its residents this month than the epidemic violence virus is the pandemic virus. And August also has 31 days and will be almost as hot as July.
It is never ending. Fifteen people shot outside a funeral home. Nine victims in serious condition. Five hospitals treating the wounded. Four women among the injured. One person of interest in custody. Zero cell phone video evidence. If there can be any bright side to this, there were no children listed among the victims this time.
The well-attended funeral was for a victim of recent gun violence. There were 60 shell casings recovered from the funeral home shooting. There was a police presence at the funeral. Police report that some attendees returned gunfire. Yet, not one shooter captured on camera. It is not far-fetched to think that if one shot had been fired by law enforcement, it would have been captured by video.
A mass shooting, a sizable crowd and no one saw a thing. Yet, the mayor and police are supposed to stop the crime. The “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” accepted code of ignorance has to change. Something has to matter. It has to matter more to the residents of the communities where the violence is allowed to proliferate than to any other groups. As Mayor Lori Lightfoot said, “People know who are responsible.”
While the verbal grandstanding between Lightfoot and President Donald Trump appears about as interesting as two playground bullies daring each other to throw the first punch, bullets are speaking loudly, often and accurately. As of this writing, Chicago has recorded 415 homicides. Certainly, the death rate can be expected to be higher by the time you read this.
Chicago needs help. The city’s administration and police department are not on the best of terms. The silently complicit residents want the mayor to stop the violence. The mayor wants the police department to do something. The police department wants to the mayor to be more supportive.The president wants to do something. Oh, and protesters want to tear down statues.
The idea of sending 150 federal agents to Chicago may look good on the president’s political resume. But if 12,000 Chicago police officers can’t crack the code, a handful of unidentified storm troopers aren’t going to make a dent in the city’s crime rate. Instead of the president sending in federal agents with weapons and other means of force, maybe a few hundred troops equipped with cellphones to capture the violence would be more effective. And possibly better received by the mayor.
Chicago needs help. Instead of the mayor blaming the influx of illegal guns coming into the city, engaging in verbal warfare with the head of the city’s police union, the president of the United States and his press secretary, and anyone else who disagrees with her, she would better serve her constituency by admonishing them to speak up or continue to be shot down.
It took a fictional bear to teach us forest fire prevention. Something as simple as Chicago’s mayor putting on a little bear cub suit and reminding the most crime riddled neighborhoods that, “Only you can prevent gunfire,” might do more good than any unwanted outside influence.
We are past the halfway point of the year. Chicago has already tallied more than 400 fatal gun violence victims of mostly black lives that apparently did not matter. That could not be more apparent even it typed in big, bold, yellow font.