A slow-motion genocide in Chicago

On March 14, 2021, 27 people were shot, four killed in a major American city.  There was little local news coverage of the event; there was no national news coverage. 

On March 21, 2021, just a week later, a gunman walked into a Colorado supermarket and opened fire, killing ten people before he was stopped.  The event created massive national coverage.  The victims were white.  The shooter was reported as being white — perhaps even a Trump-supporter.

The first event happened in Chicago.  It was not unusual.  In the first three months of this year, 762 people were shot in Chicago.  There were 144 homicides.  Eighty-three percent of the victims, or 120 people, were black.  Since 2009, there have been 6,732 murders in Chicago.  Day after day, month after month, good year after bad year, 1.6 people per day on average are murdered in Chicago.  The majority are young black men.

Society knows how to stop the killing.  New York became one of the safest cities in the world by getting serious about gun crime.  Using COMSTAT, a crime tracking system, New York deployed more officers to high-crime areas.  Officers were free to use "stop and frisk" tactics, whereby police would stop and frisk individuals engaged in suspicious behavior.  If an illegal weapon was found, an arrest would be made.  Individuals stopped carrying guns; shootings and gun homicides declined.  In 1990, there were 2,605 homicides.  A low of 550 homicides was reached in 2017.

There was an add-on effect to enforcing gun laws.  Individuals mostly likely to carry guns were drug-dealers and enforcers, illegal gun–dealers, and stick-up artists.  With those people off the streets, the aggressive gun effort helped drive down the overall crime rate. 

One would think Chicago would copy what worked in New York City.  It hasn't happened.

Chicago has an ordinance requiring 

anyone convicted of gun-related violence or illegal gun possession to go to police headquarters yearly and register their home addresses.

But it's rare that anyone is punished for failing to comply with the law, modeled on similar measures that were credited with helping reduce crime elsewhere.

... [A] Chicago Sun-Times analysis ... found most of those cases get dismissed in court — and that's typically done at the request of lawyers representing City Hall.

The high Chicago murder rate is more than just not enforcing the gun laws.  Officers' hands are tightly bound when it comes to stop-and-frisk stops as a result of a settlement with the ACLU to "reform" the procedure.  In addition, there is little leadership or publicity about the bloodbath.  BLM is not leading protests against the murders.  Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Senators Durbin and Duckworth, and the 18 United States representatives all seem to be missing in action.  There are no headlines from the Chicago Tribune or USA Today.  Let's face facts: it seems that young black men from the ghetto have no political value.  They don't vote, and they don't make political contributions.

Lax enforcement of gun laws, little stop-and-frisk, and no leadership.  A person is murdered every 14 hours and 42 minutes, and the beat goes on, day after day, month after month, year after year. 

Who cares?

Oh, there are people who care — the brothers and sisters, the parents and grandparents — but the people who are in a position to stop the killing are willfully blind to the ongoing bloodbath around them. 

By any other name, this is slow-motion genocide.

Image: blazejosh via Pixabay, Pixabay License.

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