My J-school prof told me never to put statistics in the opening paragraph. I agree. While the numbers in the chicagotribune.com story Chicago’s gun violence up from a year ago, topping 1,000 victims earlier are compelling, I’ll save them for after the jump. Meanwhile, note that the term “gun violence” is a done deal in the mainstream media. And check out this quote that the Trib dredged up in their search for “good news” about the Windy City’s dramatic increase in firearms-related deaths and injuries . . .
The numbers are startling. But not necessarily telling, said James Alan Fox, a criminologist from Northeastern University in Boston, who suggested that Chicago is in some ways the victim of its own success in reducing violence from its high-water mark a couple of decades ago.
“Maybe (Chicago) just started to hit a low point with gun violence and now you’ve got sort of a bounce back,” he said.
So the new numbers are “normal” – and that’s not that terrible. Gotcha. But I don’t think the Boston academician’s attempt at “context” will soften the blow delivered by the facts of the matter. Specifically . . .
The number of people shot this year in Chicago passed 1,000 late last week, a somber milestone reached days earlier than in past years.
Consider that through the end of May, fewer than 1,000 people had been shot in the larger cities of New York and Los Angeles combined. By early Monday, after another blur of weekend violence, about 1,050 people had been shot in Chicago since the year began, according to the Tribune’s data . . .
Shootings in Chicago exceed those in the nation’s two larger cities this year even though New York and Los Angeles are each seeing an uptick in violence over the last two years.
Through the end of May, 510 people had been shot in New York City — a city more than three times the size of Chicago — compared with 467 during the year-earlier period, a 9 percent increase, according to New York Police Department statistics.
In L.A., a city with over a million more people than Chicago, 438 people had been shot as of May 30, a 21 percent increase during the year-earlier period when there were 362, Los Angeles Police Department statistics show.
So Chicago has some “special” problems, then, even when compared to other Democratically-controlled cities where gun control means no guns for law-abiding residents.
And if we’re playing the “gun violence correlation game” please note that Chicago has 2.79m inhabitants. Houston is America’s next most populous conurbation with 2.3m residents. breitbart.com reports 53 people died from firearms-related fatalities in Houston in the first quarter of tho year. Chicago’s firearms-related death toll from January to May, 2015: 161.
Anyway, the Trib article offers two more explanations for the firearms-related deaths and injuries. Not enough investment in poorer neighborhoods and . . . wait for it . . . the supply of illegal guns.
Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy has said in the past that the constant flow of illegal firearms through dangerous neighborhoods is a bigger problem in Chicago than it is in New York or Los Angeles.
In other words, Chicago’s gang problems, deeply embedded in the city’s culture of official corruption, are not the root cause of the carnage. People are being shot in Chicago because guns. Not to coin a phrase, this is what happens to a disarmed populace, exploited by political leaders who accept poverty, crime, gangster culture and the collapse of the education system as the cost of doing business.