To their credit, state Reps. LaShawn Ford and John Fritchey brought Chicago's simmering gang violence to the forefront this week by calling for the National Guard to help get a handle on the violence. Unfortunately, the media has largely framed the issue as a political debate between officials arguing about who might take the lead --in the improbable chance-- of actually calling the guard in.
CeaseFire's Tio Hardiman added some context to the escalating
homicide numbers, telling the Chicago Sun-Times, "Every year we
struggle with March and April. There's a spike when the first hot days
come. Any slight infraction will lead to people getting killed."
Data from the last three years support Hardiman's point.
2007 through 2009, the city averaged 72 murders in March and April, a
figure that was 44 percent higher than the 50 murders averaged in
January and February of the same years, according to a Chicago Reporter
analysis of police data.
But the Sun-Times editorial board hit
the nail on the head this morning, writing that the "Crime fight is up
to us, not the National Guard." To root out violence, the board
asserted, officials first need to acknowledge that, in the 9 percent of
the city where police Superintendent Jody Weis says violent crime is
highest, "the problems are deep, and the solutions must run deeper."
Here's an excerpt:
have been calling for years for public policies that go to the root of
the problem of wasted lives, poverty and violence... We have called for
fundamental shifts in emphasis in education, to include what is called
"social and emotional learning."
We have called for
programs to treat young nonviolent offenders in their communities,
rather than dispatch them off to prison, where they become hardened.
have called for reforms in our drug laws, especially the harsh
penalties for marijuana that fuel violence by creating a black market
The solution is not in our tin stars, but in ourselves.
Go read the whole thing here.