Violence in Chicago: Do #BlackLivesMatter? #AtoZChallenge

Visitors to Chicago may rightly ask: What’s the deal with all the gun violence?

When you’ve got Spike Lee making a movie about your city’s levels of shootings, and an international nickname like “Chi-raq,” I think it’s important to shine a light on this issue, and not just skim over it like it doesn’t exist.

They say Black Lives Matter. But in Chicago, it really doesn’t seem like anyone believes it.

Here’s a well-researched site for you to consult. It’s called HeyJackass, and its tag line is “illustrating Chicago values.”

If you look at the stats, you’ll see what’s going on, and where, and you can (in theory) make plans to avoid these areas and dangerous situations.

But what about the folks that LIVE in these neighborhoods? What about the people who CAN’T avoid it, because that’s the street they live on?

This week already (and it’s only Tuesday – Monday evening as I write this – mind you), you can see the updates for shootings at W. Granville, West Ridge; and two on S. Kimbark, Avalon Park. 6 killed, 41 wounded this weekend.

And if you really want to see something hopeless, read the comments.

As of this posting, a person is shot every 2 hours and 35 minutes in Chicago. A person is murdered every 15 hours and 10 minutes! Overwhelmingly, the victims are black (70.9%), with Hispanics running a distant second at 25.1%.

Here’s a damn map:

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 11.20.24 PM

If that doesn’t look like an epidemic to you, you might be blind. And if you think it’s just about the “South Side,” you may need to take another look.

So, should the National Guard be called in to police Chicago’s streets? Should we just roll over and accept this violence as a matter of course, a fact of life?

Maybe Spike was onto something with that “No peace, no piece” motto he copped from Lysistrata

Otherwise, it seems the alternative is… nothing.

As per the previously referenced New York Times piece:

‘Right now, there’s no strategy,’ said the Rev. Corey Brooks, a minister on the South Side. ‘Or if there is a strategy, whatever it is, it’s not working.’

In a city with an enormous problem involving gangs, guns and violent behavior, THAT is a problem.

Today’s reading list is long. I hope you take the time to give it some attention.

Additional Resources

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  • Debs

    Of course, us Brits look over at the US and shake our heads in wonder at the issue of gun law and killings. We can do this because it seems clear to us that the stats provide us with solid support on the benefits of European gun control laws. A quick look at those stats show that of 56m population in England & Wales, there were 38 deaths by shooting during the year 2011-12.

    The preponderence of US killings being black or hispanic takes us into darker waters. The Institute for Race Relations advises that in the last 20 years, there were 90 racially motivated deaths (there is no breakdown for shooting vs other methods). So, 4.5 a year against your 6 in one weekend in Chicago.

    To be honest, this is the biggest reason I have for not wanting to live in the US. I’m glad you wrote about it, it needs to be spoken of more and more.

    • Laura Roberts

      It’s a strange thing, the American fascination with guns and the refusal to acknowledge that they are weapons (the old “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” argument). Personally, I have never wanted to own a gun, and certainly do not thinking owning one would protect me from violence. So the fact that guns are STILL so freely and easily available, despite all the many mass shootings throughout the U.S., continues to confuse and frustrate me. I don’t view the U.S. as any more violent or dangerous a place, compared to England, but there’s something ingrained in our thinking about guns and gun violence that needs to be changed. It’s as if people have simply thrown up their hands and given up, when there certainly ARE solutions to the problem that could work. Look at Australia: they had gun buybacks, and melted them down. Why not do this in a place like Chicago?