Addressing Chicago Violence
President Obama will give his farewell and good riddance speech on January 10 in Chicago, the town where the community organizer-in-chief began his political rise. He will attempt once again to cement his legacy by recreating history in his image. He will make his speech against the background of what is arguably the world’s most beautiful skyline and the world’s most hideous violence.
Chicago, one of the toughest gun control cities in the United States, ended 2016 with 762 homicides, the most in two decades and more than Los Angeles and New York City combined. While President Obama has addressed every mass shooting as another reason for stricter gun control, he has little to say about the carnage in his hometown, and it is not likely he will address it in his self-serving and narcissistic farewell speech. President-elect Donald Trump has, tweeting on Monday night. "Chicago murder rate is record setting -- 4,331 shooting victims with 762 murders in 2016,” Trump tweeted. “If Mayor can't do it he must ask for Federal help!”
Chicago does indeed need federal help, particularly in the area of federal prosecution of gun crimes. As Investor’s Business Daily has noted, a recent study showed that despite rising murders and gang violence, Chicago ranked dead last in federal gun crime prosecutions:
A murdered Chicago teen's mother attends the president's speech on gun control, not knowing federal gun-crime prosecutions have in fact dropped on his watch — with the Windy City bringing up the rear.
Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton, the mother of murdered 15-year-old Chicago teen Hadiya Pendleton, was one of 20 mothers who lost children to criminal violence who were at the White House last Thursday to hear President Obama speak once again on the need for gun control.
Obama met with her and some of the others in a small group before his formal remarks and told them "how serious this issue really is and something needs to be done about it," she said.
But President Obama did not tell this group that Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) shows that the Northern Illinois district ranked 90th out of 90 in prosecutions of federal weapons crimes per capita.
David Burnham, co-director of TRAC, states their analysis says that according to case-by-case U.S. Justice Department information obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, there were 52 federal gun prosecutions in Illinois North (Chicago) in 2012, or 5.52 per million in population.
By this measure, compared with the 90 federal judicial districts in the U.S., the prosecution rate in Chicago was the lowest in the country.
If President Obama had a son, he might have looked like Amari Brown, the little boy killed by a bullet intended for his gang-banger father on the streets of President Obama’s Chicago in yet another bloody Windy City weekend. As the Chicago Tribune reported, over the Fourth of July weekend in 2015, Amari Brown was one of the ten that were killed among 55 that were shot.:
Among those killed was 7-year-old Amari Brown, shot in the chest as he watched fireworks near his father's home in Humboldt Park late Saturday night. Police say they believe the attack was aimed at the father, whom they described as a ranking gang member.
Former Chicago Police Superintendant Garry McCarthy got it right when he observed that Amari Brown was another victim, not of police racism, but of gang violence and a revolving door justice system:
Antonio Brown, who police say is a ranking member of the Four Corner Hustlers street gang, has been arrested 45 times on charges ranging from gun possession to burglary, and is not cooperating with detectives in their investigation into the slaying of his son, Amari Brown, police said.
McCarthy said that the elder Brown's last arrest was in April for gun possession after leading police on a vehicle pursuit. Brown was later released on bail in that case, Cook County court records show.
"If Mr. Brown is in custody, his son is alive," McCarthy, flanked by several police officials and other officers, told a room full of reporters at the Harrison District police station on the West Side on Sunday afternoon. "That's not the case. Quite frankly, he shouldn't have been on the street."
A lot of criminals shouldn’t be out on the streets, particularly those convicted of gun crimes. Many gun and gang crimes in Chicago are drug related President Obama has commuted the sentences of many drug offenders, including those who possessed a gun during the commission of their crimes:
President Obama on Thursday commuted the sentences of nearly 100 federal inmates doing hard time, and almost one in five were in jail partially because of the illegal guns they carried…
Of those who had their terms commuted this week, 19 were behind bars on a combination of drug charges that also involved firearms possession -- often multiple counts -- usually by a prohibited possessor…
The President commuted 111 federal prisoners in late August, in which a number of those with firearms charges were featured. Earlier the same month he did likewise for 214 inmates including 56 with gun felonies.
Current Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson recently pleaded for stricter penalties for repeat gun offenders after a Chicago Police commander was gunned down:
Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson renewed his call on Friday for stricter penalties for gun offenders after a police commander was shot at while working on the South Side…
The violence hit close to home late Thursday when Noel Sanchez, commander of the South Chicago police district, was shot at while working the streets in the 8800 block of South Saginaw Avenue. The gunman fled to a nearby home, touching off an hourslong standoff with a SWAT team before five people were taken into custody early Friday. Multiple guns were also recovered.
Johnson cited the incident as an example of how gang members have become more emboldened, in part because of what the superintendent considers lenient penalties for gun offenses…
Johnson spoke once again in favor of proposed legislation in Springfield designed to make it harder for judges to impose light sentences for repeat gun offenders. The goal of the legislation is to ensure that they face several years in prison.
He singled out a 21-year-old man as an example of why the legislation is needed. The man was arrested in February on a felony weapons violation and sentenced to seven years in prison in April, police said. But he was assigned to boot camp and was already out on parole Aug. 22 when he was arrested again for gun possession in the West Side's Austin community.
Fear not, Superintendant Johnson. There’s a new sheriff in town and help is on the way. President Donald Trump’s Department of Justice will have your back and that of your officers. Gun offenders will be prosecuted vigorously and Attorney General Jeff Sessions will be looking to enforce the laws to put gun offenders in jail, not blaming police for their racial insensitivity.
Trump has also called for the deportation and incarceration of illegal alien criminals, including those belonging to gangs like MS-13, who come into the U.S. across an unsecured border, many becoming gang members in our urban areas. NBC5 Chicago reported Trump’s linkage of illegal aliens and gang crimes in Chicago:
Donald Trump said he thinks a lot of “gang members” in America, particularly in Chicago, Baltimore and Ferguson, are illegal immigrants and, if he becomes president, “they’re going to be gone.”
“A lot of the gangs that you see -- it doesn’t hopefully pertain to you guys so much -- but when you look at Baltimore, when you look at Chicago and Ferguson and a lot of areas, you know a lot of these gang members are illegal immigrants,” he said during an interview with Mobile, Alabama radio station FM Talk 1065. “They’re going to be gone. We are going to get them out so fast, out of this country so fast.”
Lock them up, Donald, lock them up. Obama and Rahm Emanuel haven’t
Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.