Chicago politicians like to blame guns for their city’s horrendous violent crime problem. But Texas has a whole lot more guns and far less murder and mayhem. Elected officials in America’s former Second City also like to blame something called “gun violence”, but that’s just political-speak for gangs shooting it out over territory.
Criminals there aren’t deterred by the threat of arrest or jail time because frankly, cops seldom solve cases – even homicides. Chicago’s finest have identified suspects in a scant 6% (now 7.5%) of criminal homicides in Chicago this year.
Even when police do solve a violent crime and make an arrest – and prosecutors manage to get a conviction – prison sentences mean little. Gentle readers should think of Prairie State prison sentences as working like dog-years, but in reverse.
Meet Keith Perkins. This out-of-control monster was arrested in September 2015 after a particularly heinous evening. On his way to a nicer neighborhood, he robbed a pair of riders on a Blue Line train.
They say a gun is like a magic wand in that it makes people do what you command of them. Mr. Perkins indicated he had a gun and his victims surrendered their stuff. Funny how that works. Later that night, during another hold-up, he busted a man’s eardrum. Then he robbed another and fractured that man’s kneecap.
Police actually arrested him and prosecutors convicted him a couple of weeks ago. The judge sentenced Mr. Perkins to 16.5 years for his little spree, and the bailiff hauled him off. But under so-called “truth in sentencing” system, using my public school math skills, that means Mr. Perkins shouldn’t breathe free air again until (2017 + 16.5 =) 2033 or so.
But wait. Perkins was sentenced in Illinois. His cheduled parole release date: June 15, 2018.
NBC’s new drama “Chicago Justice” purports to show tough prosecutors “fearlessly” pursuing justice, acting as advocates for the victims of crime. Given the real-world dysfunctional criminal justice system that operates in Chicago, the fictional series couldn’t be further from reality.
Even adding in any time served while in county jail – assuming he wasn’t released on electronic home monitoring – Mr. Perkins still will serve far less than one fifth of that 16.5 year sentence. That’s pretty close to dog-years in reverse.
While Chicagoland politicians cannot seem to fathom why violence and mayhem rules the streets of Chicago, those of us with IQs over room temperature can see at least one big reason the threat of prison time isn’t a deterrent in Illinois.
Speaking of magic wands…if strict gun control and low levels of lawful gun ownership reduced violent crime, Chicago would be one of the safest cities in America. Instead, as of March 22, police report 656 people shot and 127 homicides this year.