Violent crime in Chicago is on the wane. Hard to believe, but it's true. At least it's true if you believe statistics coming out of the Chicago Police Department, and I'm inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt. Click here for details
Some critics of the CPD have dismissed the report, and the rest of the nation may be equally incredulous. After all, we spent most of the summer watching TV reports and reading headlines about gun violence in Chicago and several high-profile shootings. As editors of The National Enquirer know, it's all about the headlines.
Chicago's history is rich with guns, violence and bloodshed. From post-Civil War cowboys bringing their cattle to our stockyards to the Haymarket Riot of 1886 to gangland shootouts of the Prohibition Era, business disputes in Chicago seem to have always gotten settled with the six-gun, the Tommy Gun and now the Glock.
In a 1920 article in the Toronto Star Weekly, Ernest Hemmingway opined that "the Wild West hasn’t disappeared. It has only moved. Just at present it is located at the southwestern end of Lake Michigan, and the range that the bad men ride is that enormous smoky jungle of buildings they call Chicago."
That was 9 years before the St. Valentines Day Massacre.
My friend, Rae doesn't think Mayor Emanuel is doing enough to stop the violence. A 16 or 17% drop in the murder rate may not seem like much, but it's statistically significant, especially if you're one of the folks who didn't get murdered last year.
Some of the tactics initiated by CPD Superintendent Garry McCarthy include community outreach programs and pro action to stave off retaliatory shootings. One of the things Mayor Emanuel did was to approve $100 Million in overtime to maintain high levels of police presence.
Let's face it, murder's been with us since Cain killed his brother and it's not going away in the foreseeable future. Big cities are crucibles filled with all the ingredients to brew crime of every stripe. With territorial disputes over drug distribution and readily available firepower, the not-so-occasional shootout is inevitable, innocent bystanders the all-too-often victims. This is business as usual in every major city in the world.
The plague is upon us, the question is what we're willing to do to stop it. In the end, it comes down to personal resolve and political will. Gangs don't fight over street corners because of the view. Like your real estate agent keeps telling you, it's location, location, location. Every drug dealer is like a mom and pop store trying to situate in the best possible location. Unfortunately, this mom's got a Glock and pop's got a Mac 10.
Opponents come up with a lot of reasons not to legalize drugs, most of them don't stand up to scrutiny. At some point, we've got to quell those fears and look at the bigger picture. If they don't have illegal drugs to sell on street corners, a lot fewer innocent people are going to wind up as collateral damage in turf wars.
If that doesn't convince you, think of all the money that could be raised by taxing the sale of legal marijuana. Maybe even enough to tackle another problem about which my friend, Rae says that our mayor isn't doing enough; Education.
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