Chicago is not the “most violent city in America” according to most measurements. But perception is nine-tenths of reality, and the perception is that violence in Chicago is out of control and the police, the politicians, and the activists are incapable of doing anything to stop it.
The city can’t even agree on what’s causing the massive increase in shootings over the last two years. It’s the gangs, it’s too many guns, it’s lax policing, it’s too much policing, it’s racism, it’s inequality — the list is endless.
And so is the list of civilians killed — innocent victims of the madness and mayhem that has become as much a part of Chicago’s cityscape as the city’s beautiful lakefront.
In truth, the gangs bear a great deal of responsibility for the violence. But the justice system in Chicago cares more about turning criminals loose who have been “victims” of racist policies in the past. And if the violent criminal released from jail happens to shoot someone else, that’s just bad luck.
Police Superintendent David Brown told reporters Wednesday that a 28-year-old admitted gang member is behind much of the recent gang violence in the South Side, where homicides are up 100% from a year ago and shootings are up 48%.
“He’s driving the retaliatory violence,” Brown said.
The man was released recently after serving eight years on gun charges and assaulting police.He was soon arrested again, in March, after police saw him backing up “at a high rate of speed” in the 4800 block of South Loomis, near his home, and found a 9mm Glock in the car.
The man told arresting officers “he bought the firearm to protect his family because people were trying to shoot him.” He was released from Cook County Jail the next day on $10,000 bail after a cousin put up 10%.
As he has often done in the past, Brown called onjudges to be tougher on gun cases that involve people with a record of violent crime. “There needs to be a better risk assessment by judges,” he said. “The police did their job. That felon got a cash bond.”
And Mayor Lori Lightfoot is demanding “tougher gun laws”? A convicted felon is found with a handgun in his car — a clear violation of current gun laws — and the judge just let him walk after putting up $1,000? Why ask for more restrictions on law-abiding gun owners when the justice system won’t enforce the laws already on the books?
In all, 21 people were shot in Chicago Tuesday, two of them fatally, a toll generally seen on a violent weekend in the city. At least 14 people were shot, two of them fatally, on Monday, and 24 people were shot — 6 of them fatally — over the past weekend.
The innocents in Chicago don’t have to look far to blame someone. The culture of violence on the streets is matched by the culture of permissiveness that enables the violence from city hall to Back of the Yards.