"It's not coming from the city or the state or the federal government, because if there was the will to make things better, here and in cities across the country where gun violence has a foothold, it would have happened by now." (Rex Huppke/Chicago Tribune)
Chicago Tribune columnist, Rex Huppke, wrote a poignant column, The Killing of a cop's son," a piece on the murder of Arshell Dennis III. He included the murder of Army Veteran, Abner Garcia. These young men were full of promise. They could and should have had bright and shining futures. Their deaths were incomprehensible.
The murders and wounding of infants, toddlers, aspiring teenagers, and other innocents creates a sense of hopelessness for those who have to pick up the pieces or report on the carnage daily. The police, fire and EMS personnel, reporters on crime scenes, emergency room staff, even clergy.
There is apathy in the rest of the city. People feel there is nothing they can do so they go on with their lives. The murders become statistics. Instead of saying enough is enough people move on.
Mr. Huppke expresses the frustration of waiting for years for what he calls a pivot point, some event to make all of us scream, "Enough".
For years I said and wrote the same thing over and over again. The violence in Chicago is the end result, a culmination of over fifty years of failed public policy. We are paying for the continual sins of omission committed by elected officials and government bureaucrats.
It is not a conservative or liberal problem. It is not about political parties. It is not racial. It is not a gun problem. It is not a violence problem.
This is an economic policy problem. Bad public and economic policies in disadvantaged areas of Chicago brought us to this point. So-called Urban Renewal, poverty programs designed to keep people in poverty, the destruction of the black middle class, failing schools, failing families, and now, disaffected youth who see no way out and no hope.
The social order in some of Chicago's neighborhoods is on the verge of collapse. A disaster in the making.
The newest generation of young people have no moral compass to guide them. There is no value or sanctity of life.
We are witnessing the end result of keeping large numbers of people in multi-generational poverty.
The only people left to clean up the mess are police officers. They are society's janitors.
For decades impoverished areas waited patiently for economic development or redevelopment. They waited for the promise of a brighter future. They waited in vain.
For decades, politicians seeking votes, activists seeking attention, and clergymen seeking fame and fortune, pointed the finger of blame. They claim oppression and bigotry are the causes of poverty.
People are told it is not their fault they are poor. It is not their fault they are jobless. It is not their fault they live in squalor. It is someone else's fault. The lies are repeated every election cycle. Anger at the mystical system of oppression is fueled.
That anger is finally spilling over into uncontrollable murder and mayhem.
For five decades economic development funds and grants have been available. Politicians representing people in disadvantaged areas ignored them.
Let us name names. Put faces to the cause of this societal conflagration. Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk, and their predecessors, did nothing to bring economic development to disadvantaged communities.
Danny Davis, through his long career as an elected official, did little to bring economic development to the disadvantaged areas he represented and represents today.
Add Bobby Rush to the list. Former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. His successor, Robin Kelly is doing nothing.
Let us add the aldermen who represent these wards, many who made careers in the City Council. The state legislators too. Even the Cook County Commissioners and the President of the Cook County Board, Toni Preckwinkle.
Elected officials, past and present, did little or nothing to bring economic development to impoverished areas.
Politicians will tout some retailer who pays above minimum wage for part time jobs as economic development. They refuse to bring in businesses that provide trade, semi-trade, or semi-professional employment. Companies that provide wages families can live on and move up the economic ladder.
Politicians are in fear of people making too much money. Money gives people mobility. They can move out and up. They can move to the suburbs. The voting bloc gets diluted. Maybe gentrification starts. Politicians face unemployment.
To politicians, job security is job one.
The grandchildren and great grandchildren of, the dream, the Civil Rights era, never realized the dream. They are the disaffected youth roaming our streets committing violence. They see no other way to get what they want. In their minds, crime is their only economic opportunity.
With crime comes murder and mayhem. There is no sanctity of life. If innocents suffer, it is just another day at the office.
All of us in Chicago must get involved. Columnists like Rex Huppke, John Kass, and others can write millions of words. They mean nothing if we, as citizens, are not moved to demand better.
It is time for us, all of us, to say enough is enough. We should be pointing the fingers of blame and anger at the politicians who failed in their duty to serve constituents. We, all of us, should be asking them hard questions.
Every politician keeps talking about change. They get elected promising change. "Change you can believe in."
If actions speak louder than words politicians are mute.