Over the Labor Day holiday Chicago had 13 murdered and over fifty persons shot. This meant that over 500 people had been murdered in Chicago in 2015, 400 of whom were African-Americans. I wrote before what Superintendent Eddie Johnson said about them: “It’s not a police issue, it’s a society issue. Impoverished neighborhoods, people without hope do these kinds of things. You show me a man that doesn’t have hope, I’ll show you one that’s willing to pick up a gun and do anything with it. Those are the issues that’s driving this violence. CPD is doing its job.”
Previously I wrote to say he was wrong when he says it is not a police issue. It clearly is. The next matter to consider the other part of the answer. Is this is a society issue?
I suggest that it is. It is a major issue in our society even though it is confined mostly to black areas in our cities. It is tempting to say it is not a society issue but a black issue. The problem with that type of response is you are isolating a racial group from the rest of society. Unless you want to think of American society as comprising two parts: blacks and others then you cannot escape with that thought.
Any problem in our society such as the enormous disparity in black murders and crimes compared to whites should concern us all. That we have some areas in American cities where it is not safe to live and other areas in the same cities where it is a society problem. Give thought to this by assuming that in Chicago it were not 400 blacks who had been murdered this year but 400 whites; or 400 Asians. Would you then think differently?
I think of John Donne’s poem “No Man Is An Island.” I recall his words: “Any man’s death diminishes me, Because I am involved in mankind, And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.”
The murder of any person in America should diminish all of us. We should not turn our back on areas where murders seem to be the norm and not consider whether there is something that can be done about them. As Americans we must look upon the murders in Chicago as something we cannot tolerate. It is totally unfair to our fellow Americans who happen to be African-American to have to live in areas where they fear leaving their houses or having their children go out because of the high levels of violence.
It is particularly strange that Chicago where our president worked and lived has been allowed to become such a hell-hole. Especially since his close friend Rahm Emmanuel is its mayor. Under Emmanuel the situation has worsened and Obama acts as if all is well preferring to play golf or whatever else he does. It is his people, the African-American, who supported him in overwhelming numbers that are suffering. As our leader, he should act to stop the slaughter of innocents.
Chicago is about four and a half times larger than Boston. Last year Boston had 39 homicides. This year as best I can tell it has had 24 homicides the great majority in Dorchester/Mattapan. To keep pace with Chicago it would have had to have 112. New York City to date has had 236 murders. If it had Chicago’s rate it would have had over 1500. This year New York has had one murder for every 35,500 person; Boston one for every 26,000; and Chicago one for every 5,600.
New York has 244 police officers for every person; Chicago 234; and Boston 310. It is not because of lack of police officers Chicago has such a problem. Is it the interference by the ACLU in the police work? In 2014 before the ACLU stuck its nose into police business Chicago had 400 murders which it has already passed by 100 this year.
Chief Johnson is right. We as a society have to figure out how to stop this ongoing high homicide in Chicago and our other cities.