When U.S. President Barack Obama on January 10th gives his farewell speech from Chicago, which appears now to officially be America’s most violent city with nearly 770 homicides reported in 2016, what, if anything, should be said about the bloodshed?
Mr. Richard Taylor, a native of Chicago and celebrated self-published author who last week relocated to Seattle, Washington, for greater opportunities, told me “nothing new can be said” because so much talking, yet little meaningful and measurable action, regarding the issue has, for years, occurred.
The largely drug related gun violence in Chicago isn’t a new phenomenon. When Mr. Obama in 2007 was a presidential candidate, 443 people were killed in the City, a significant drop, said ABC7, from 2003, where 601 people were killed. The year 2008, when Mr. Obama won the election, 508 people had been murdered in Chicago.
A main cause of the violence is well-known. In May of 2007, the National Drug Intelligence Center reported that, in 2006, “nearly 50 percent of the homicides and a large percentage of other violent crimes and property crimes committed in Chicago were attributed to street gangs that are involved in drug trafficking.”
So, if half of the bloodshed in Chicago is caused by low-level drug dealers killing each other over territory, how do you mitigate it? The incoming U.S. President, Mr. Donald J. Trump, has advocated for widespread use of stop-and-frisk – “tough police tactics” is what Mr. Trump recommended during the 2015 campaign – and on Monday via Twitter urged the City’s mayor, Mr. Rahm Emanuel, to seek federal assistance, which Mr. Emanuel, according to various news reports, had already done.
Former Fox News host Ms. Greta Van Susteren on Monday also used the micro-blogging platform to lament about the circumstances in Chicago: “762 homicides in Chicago? It is time to call in the National Guard to protect the law abiding citizens? Any other idea?,” she wrote.
Utilizing the National Guard to quell the violence in Chicago isn’t a new idea. A 2016 Change.org petition requesting military forces received more than 10,000 names. And a 2015 opinion piece in the Chicago Tribune stated: “It’s time to admit that rhetoric and status quo law enforcement measures aren’t working… Call in the National Guard to patrol the South and West sides along with the Chicago Police Department, Cook Country Sheriff’s Police and Illinois State Police.”
But, of course, not everyone is in lockstep with that idea. Mr. Taylor –who when living in Chicago represented his city with pride and assured me his move to Seattle wasn’t him running away from the rampant crime – said today he’s never been a fan of the National Guard patrolling the Southside because it doesn’t deal with the core issues.
I, too, don’t favor a blanket occupation of challenged neighborhoods by the military, but the National Guard does have a role in reversing Chicago’s unfortunate narrative, and that’s securing the City’s entry points, ensuring that guns and drugs, which aren’t manufactured in any city neighborhood, never make it into communities. These guns and drugs come from somewhere, and the priority should be to identify and neutralize those sources.
Early in the 2016 calendar year, a Chicago ex-gang member said the government was supplying communities with guns and bullets so that they could return and lock up those who have illegal firearms on their person; it’s a business model, the man implied.
Mr. Taylor, a familiar face on college lecture circuits, said he agrees with my proposal on how to use the National Guard – in addition to the military forces, mental health resources must be provided and apparatuses to move people from the underground economy into legitimate employment must be erected – but believes Mayor Emanuel would never approve, as the violence in Chicago, and the arrest of low-level drug dealers with guns, is big business.
No hard evidence exist that the government is dropping off crates of guns and bullets, but there is surely no way these items magically appear on Chicago’s streets. Drugs and guns come from some place, and if the National Guard is to be deployed to the Windy City, their first job should be to find out where; any other use of that particular resource can be, and rightly so, perceived as malpractice.
Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™
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