Here’s a story out of Chicago that should be an unfunny joke…but is actually being presented as straight news.
From Aamer Madhani’s article at USA Today:
The grim tally of 49 shot over Memorial Day weekend, historically one of the most violent times of the year here, is oddly the latest sign the city may be turning a corner in the fight against gun violence.
Five people were killed and 44 wounded in shootings between Friday evening and Monday night, an improvement over last year’s total of 7 killed and 61 injured.
As of Tuesday morning, Chicago has recorded 235 murders so far this year, compared to 244 for the same time period in 2016. Shooting incidents have dropped more significantly to 1,047 compared to 1,222 last year, according to police department data.
The vast majority of the 762 murders and more than 4000 shooting incidents in Chicago last year occurred in a few predominantly black and Latino neighborhoods on the city’s West and South Sides, and were driven by gang-related feuds and drug wars.
What does it tell you about today’s Chicago, that 49 shootings over a holiday weekend, 5 of them fatal, is considered “turning a corner”?
The article suggests that – in relative terms, of course – most progress has been made in the gang-ridden minority areas of South and West Chicago where shootings are most prevalent.
How did this “progress” occur? By putting more police on the street (1,300 more this weekend) and by using technology: specifically, “ HunchLab —a web-based system that crunches information on arrests, calls for service, arrests, gang activity, weather and other data — to create prediction models of where the next violent incident might occur”.
Please note that none of the “progress” you read about involves passing new, stricter gun control laws.
I would like to think this is because the powers that be in Chicago have finally, at long last, figured out that severely restricting the ability to obtain and use legal guns has little meaning to gang-related shootings, in which no one has legal guns. That other means – in this case, more police and better use of predictive technology – are what is necessary.
If so, it’s about time.