Gage Park funeral home, Chicago (courtesy dnainfo.com)

I’ve got a switch across my *ss, as my father used to say. It’s gangs. It strikes me as ridiculous that gun control advocates are focusing on gun control when gang control is what this country needs, and not just because of firearms-related violence. Gangs are a cancer on society, preying on our most vulnerable (i.e. economically deprived) members.

Check this out [via dnainfo.com]:

Police received calls of shots fired and a person shot inside Midwest Memorial Chapel, 5040 S. Western Ave., [Chicago] around 11 a.m. Thursday. But an employee of the funeral home said no shots were fired, but guns were brandished and a large fight broke out.

Just before the funeral was to leave for the cemetery, at least two people at the memorial began fighting, the employee said. The employee asked not to be named because they did not have authority to talk about the incident.

The employee saw guns on the people who were fighting but could not say if the guns were pointed.

“I cant for sure who it was. It happened so fast,” the employee said.

Sure. I believe that. No one has ever been intimidated into silence by the threat of gang retribution. [/sarc]

Anyway, the chances of disarming gangs wreaking havoc on our streets is somewhere between slim and none and Slim just left town (as former TTAGer Brad Kozak might say). The answer to America’s gang problem lies within law enforcement, education, economic development, a cultural shift within urban communities and maybe drug legalization. Gun control? Not at all.

40 Responses to Gunfight (Or Not) At Chicago Gang Banger’s Memorial Service

      • Every time I see that stat is linked to a CDC study that, as far as I can tell, make no such claim.

        I was actually hoping RF or the other generous folks at TTAG had done the research because I’ve spent a few hours Google-Fuing it and have come up empty.

        • So, there’s a bunch of different things I’ve heard and have found by researching the 80% figure. Most of the (near) 80% numbers that are verifiable with hard data are studies on individual cities like Baltimore, Milwaukee, Chicago, etc. Some of the data discusses how many homicide victims have criminal records as there aren’t always arrests made in homicide cases.

          There was a report in several news outlets around 2009 that discussed how 80% of crime was committed by gangs that can be found in USA Today and ABC news. Google “FBI: Burgeoning gangs behind up to 80% of U.S. crime”. (I would link all this stuff, but then my comment would be moderated for spam). Another article in USA Today from 2007 titles “Criminals target each other, trend shows” suggests this is a trend in several cities over the past decade and implies that the victims are gang members or involved in criminal activities.

          The FBI’s “Gang Threat Assessment” pins gangs with around 50% of all violent crimes
          “in most jurisdictions and up to 90% in others”, but doesn’t seem to confirm if the numbers are evenly distributed among homicides and other violent crime.

          There was a story in the Baltimore Sun in January of this year that was titled “Statistical snapshots from Baltimore’s deadliest year: suspects, victims, and cops” that breaks down the numbers pretty well for crime victims (90% with prior criminal records) and perpetrators (at least the ones that were arrested and charged). There was another article that I believe was out of Baltimore that concluded a small number (around 20 individuals if memory serves) were responsible for over 50% of the city’s murder rate, but I can’t seem to find the link that I thought I saved.

          Of course the biggest problem with measuring gang related homicide is the “snitches get stitches” mentality that permeates the 3rd world microcosms inside the progressive utopias of Baltimore, Chiraq, Oakland, New Orleans, Detroit, etc. Most homicides in a place like Chicago never even get an arrest. The guys over at HeyJackAss.com go over this data with passion and accuracy rarely found in reporting today. Simply put, if you don’t have an arrest to charge a known gang member (forget about actual conviction rates), then how can you put forth data that a particular murder was “gang-related” if the victim wasn’t in the commission of a crime at the time of his/her death? Most official sources put gang related homicide (by firearm) around 20 – 30% or 2000 people a year, but that is going to be a low ball. To make the numbers even harder to decipher in Chicago, the CPD has apparent marching orders from the city to downplay homicides and deflate crime statistics. This has been covered by Chicago Magazine over the past 3 years starting with the article titled, “The Truth About Chicago’s Crime Rates”. The NYPD have been caught playing similar games with their crime stats going back to at least 2010.

          There is a number out there that exists in regards to gang related homicides. That number is neither politically popular or easily researched. When you realize all the different gang activities (drug dealing, prostitution, gambling, carjacking, robbery, protection rackets, human smuggling, etc) and the deaths that are related to those illegal activities, the number is going to be quite a bit north of the currently accepted number of 2000.

        • NYC:

          Thanks for your effort, unfortunately I already knew most of your sources there, and I agree with your assertions. When we have a situation where 45% of murders are committed by unknown people for an unknown reason, as per the FBI’s data, a good chunk of them are going to be gang related where they just can’t draw the line from A to B.

          It’s curious to me that even RF has quoted a CDC study as saying that 80% of homicides are gang related yet, as far as I can tell, that study says no such thing. RF can be forgiven for quoting it though because so many other people made the same claim.

          I was just curious if anyone had reasonably solid numbers saying something like between X% and Y% of homicides are gang related.

        • Mr. Farago,

          I’ve seen this study posted all over the place and people making the same claim. The problem is that I don’t find any reference in the document to “gangs” or “organized crime” or even “crime”. All I get out of it are the following.

          Could you direct me to the page number and section which mentions gangs? As far as I can tell the document doesn’t even contain the world “gang” or “gangs”. I can find the number 11,101 but that’s about it.

        • I have also previously requested that someone with better knowledge than I point to the portion of the CDC study that lays out the support for the statement that ~8900 of the ~11,000 murders are gang-related. I can’t find that number in the study. I would like to be able to cite the figure with confidence when debating with gun control advocates.

        • Aside from an occasional innocent bystander the vast majority of gang-related homicides and/or woundings seem to be inter-gang rivalries, retaliations, or turf wars.

          Bystanders, who would be foolish in the extreme to get mixed up in these altercations, should learn to duck or take cover when shots ring out. otherwise, let the gangsters shoot each other. IMO.

  1. It’s certainly true that gangs are a major part of the violence in urban cities. That said, the scary thing is that even if you make gang affiliations disappear, the violence won’t in places like Chicago and Baltimore. It’s not just gangs, it’s a sociological disease that takes hold; one where violence is acceptable and “what’s yours is mine.”

    • You’re right. We keep focusing our attention on Chicago because of the extraordinary level of violence in that city. But, even there not all murders are gang related and most other violent crimes such as armed robbery, assault and rape have no connection with gang activity. Should we be concerned about gang violence? Yes, because it’s a growing problem in almost every urban center where you find large numbers of young blacks and/or Hispanics. Is there an easy solution? No. Law enforcement can only do so much and more education only works if the young people want to be educated. As for economic development in these blighted areas, that’s been tried before and failed miserably. Drug legalization? It would put a dent in the gangs’ revenues, but at what cost to society as a whole?

  2. The “easy work” is gun control, the “hard work” is gang control (investigation, arrests, prosecution and then real imprisonment). Which “control” do you think politicians will embrace?

    Chiraq’s crime problem is largely of a local nature that should be handled by the local and state police forces. The failure to address this issue is endemic of the party which has controlled that city and state’s government for over 50 years.

    • Almost every large city has a “Gang Task Force” and their investigators know with reasonable precision who is in a gang and which gang. Between gang tatts, gang signs and general attitude they are not hard to spot and/or categorize. This information is available to the street cops who can and do make arrests when possible.

      The real problem is in the justice system that then plea bargains the perps to get easy convictions or judges who give them a slap on the wrist and turn them loose or give pathetic prison or jail sentences. Then, once they are actually incarcerated they are housed with or align with other gang members and cement their relationships while learning how to be better gang members.

      Prison time should be a reasonable penalty for the crimes that got them arrested in the first place and should be onerous. Every attempt should be made to keep members of the same gangs separated during their time in prison to avoid further “bonding” and time off of their sentence should be granted only for proven advancement in general education and/or a usable vocational skill, not for “good behavior”.

      • I always figured gang members should face severe criminal penalties for being gang members. ID a person as a gang member and send them to a camp in the desert. There they stay until they swear off, in a video to be broadcast back home their gang membership.

        Id’s as a leader. Trap door time.

        • As satisfying a solution as that might be, I fear that defense lawyers might challenge it on 1st Amendment grounds: “…the right of the people to peaceably assemble…” I’m afraid that unless their entire gang is charged as a criminal enterprise simply being affiliated would not pass 1st Amend muster.

    • Y’know, I bet if we brutally and publically executed caught criminals by say hacking them up piece by piece and making their family join in before killing the family in the same way, crime would drop off pretty sharply. Especially if we killed people who do the “fuck the police” bullshit, too.

  3. Gangs funnel money within and out of the Urban Minority Communities. Within they harvest those Entitlement checks in exchange for drugs and “other” goods and services from the larger base of the population. Money going out goes to Drug Cartels, Corrupt Politicians, gun acquisition and to support the gang member’s taste for higher living standards than the people they sell drugs and prostitutes to.
    So, the Gangs are a vital part of the “economy” for those communities and there’s no appetite among the Politicians to eradicate the gangs, create jobs, provide decent schools, or make any other improvements to those peoples’ lives. It would have a devastating effect on the local Politicians who have worked so hard to get those votes that keep them in Office. Much easier and safer to blame the presence of guns and keep passing gun control laws that do nothing but “look” like the Politicians “did something”. The whole system is probably one of the sleaziest scams ever perpetrated on people deliberately kept too uneducated and distracted to figure it out.

    • De-criminalize drugs and prostitution and mandate severe penalties for human trafficking (pimps) and you have removed most of the power the politicians gain from the current state of affairs.

      • I agree with you. I think the problem with doing those things is that it cuts the Politicians off from a “source of income” in many cases (might be out and out payola or “campaign donations”) and the Politicians are simply not willing to give-up that money, or risk it might result in loss of votes for the Democrats. This is about a power structure the DNC does not want to change, and the people who suffer under it only have value as votes keeping Democrats in Office to maintain that power structure. I might be cynical about all this, but I suspect I am not.

      • The biggest problem is those in charge lack sufficient motivation to resolve the issue. Requiring the politicians, judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys live inside of ground zero in the middle of where ever the crime is the worst in their city should motivate them to fix the actual problem instead of gassing about the things that they know won’t.

      • This would be my first step in answering the question of “how do we rid ourselves of this problem”. People beating hookers could be prosecuted since it’s no longer an illegal act they’re committing, and the drug problem once legal will work itself out. Plenty of European countries have at least decriminalized all drugs, and cutting their addict population by major percentages.

  4. Damn I wouldn’t hang out at 54th & Western without a gat. I think Syria may be safer. Cracking down on the people and the folks is the key. I was just on the tollway and I saw nary a single state cop in 60 miles(with EVERYONE speeding). They could pay for a Chiraq crackdown with the tickets they should be writing…

    • The real issue with gangs, the issue that gives them their real strength and protection, is that for an individual to confront a gang member is like swatting an Africanized bee (no racial intent implied). An attack, no matter how successful, on the one in front of you WILL result in the entire hive responding. This is the reason why witnesses to crimes by gangsters will seldom agree to testify.

      Individual gang members are no more or less dangerous than any other individual or criminal. Their power comes from the victim(s) knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that opposition will trigger a massive retaliation from the surviving gang members. People in the hood know this and are essentially helpless in this regard. Even a CCW in the hood is more likely to get you killed by surviving gangsters than to protect you from an individual assault or crime.

      • Absolutely. In my experience, if your city has a seemingly large number of randomly named gangs that are “affiliated,” your crime rate will be much lower. It is because the police harass them just enough to keep them somewhat isolated to their own neighborhoods, which frees up the community to resist effectively. A low number of specifically named gangs, and you are looking at some serious organization, the african bees you envision.
        The result is entire cities full of people who are pre-intimitated into lying for the criminals.

        Nothing Chuck Bronson didn’t warn us about, decades ago.

    • The only time they end up dead is when you have a couple of gangs congregating in the same location. Someone always gets a bit twitchy from the recreational chems and off they go. I’ve heard that described as misdemeanor murder since dead gang bangers aren’t exactly contributing members of society.

  5. Police know what gangs control what territories. Remove all services such as police, fire, from those communities and let those folks have at it. Then they have only themselves to blame. Innocent people will suffer in those conditions but maybe it will encourage those folks to get together and clean up their own turf in stead of blaming the cops, you, me, slavery, Jim Crow and sociological forces beyond their control for the mess they live in.

  6. Gang activity has been a thing for all.of human history. How it’s managed and the scope of the problem is the only variable.

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