Have You Read Chicago's Gun Trace Report?

Have You Read Chicago's Gun Trace Report?
Photo courtesy of B.H.

I suppose an easier question is did you know that Chicago released a gun trace report?  If you have yet to see it, click on the picture below to read it…I’ll wait.

gun-trace-report-cover

 

Now, I’ve been meaning to post on this topic since the report was released last week.  However today, I heard two things that made me be sure to sit down and take the time to offer my thoughts.

A training partner of mine posted on Facebook earlier today that while driving he happened upon a shooting.  Apparently, some guys in an alley began shooting at each other.  He said he then ran through several red lights to get his wife, child, and himself to safety. In a brief line of comments, he also mentioned that there were 10 or so kids playing basketball in the park right next to the alley.

It feels appropriate at this point to either remind, or inform, that events like this are daily life for some youth who live in this city.  Take a moment to digest that.

About an hour later, a friend sent me the picture at the top of this posting. Her car was shot twice.  She didn’t seem to have many details beyond there was a shooting on her corner, and her car was hit.  Two of the shots went through the electrical panel of her car, and the car is pretty inoperable at this point.

These stories aren’t exceptionally unique in our city.  I have friends who’ve witnessed murders, attempted murders, etc.  And while the city tells us that the gun violence is actually decreasing (According to HeyJackAss.com, shootings are down 14.3% from last year), it feels like the gun violence is actually growing more intense.

Courtesy of Twitter

Courtesy of Twitter

Shootings may be down 14%, but 59 people were shot last week in Chicago, 10 of them fatally.

And it is in this climate that the 2017 Chicago Gun Trace Report comes to us; a partnership between the City of Chicago, the Chicago Police Department, and the University of Chicago Crime Lab.

Now you have two eyes, so you don’t need to me to tell you everything that you can, and hopefully just did, read.  However, a couple of things jumped out to me as I read the report:

  1. Since 2013, the Chicago Police Department has recovered nearly 7,000 “crime guns” each year. 
    Now, I’ll be the first to point out that the Chicago Police Department has issues.  Even the Department of Justice has told us this.  However, I know quite a few CPD officers.  Of course I’m not there with them day in and day out to see what they do, and how they conduct themselves.  However, I do call them friends, they all strike me as hardworking, well-intentioned  individuals.  This figure is a sobering reminder that despite all the problems, the men and women of the CPD are working hard day in and day out to keep our city safe.
  2. The availability of illegally circulated firearms in Chicago is directly connectd to its deadly street violence; “Each conflict becomes potentially more lethal due to easy access to a gun.”
    So far in Chicago this year, there have been 599 homicides. 555 of those homicides were committed with a gun, that’s roughly 92.7%.  Now, the NRA will tell you that if guns weren’t easily accessibly, people will suddenly resort to running around shanking each other.  I doubt it.  However, I’m more than willing to gamble to find out.
  3. The United States’ gun homicide rate is nearly 20 times higher than any other industrialized nation.  It’s rate of gun ownership per capita far exceeds that of these nations as well. Nearly half of all guns in circulation worldwide are in the United States, althought it makes up just over four percent of the global population.
    Now, doesn’t this alone kind of debunk the NRA myth that more guns equal more safety?  No? Well recently, there was a mass shooting at a Walmart in Thornton Colorado.  Several patrons pulled out their guns in response. The result?

    Shoppers pulled guns in response to Thornton Walmart shooting, but police say that slowed investigation

    The “good guys with guns” actually forced the police to use surveillance video to eliminate suspects in the shooting…and none of the aformentioned armed patrons stopped the shooting or eliminated the threat.  We have yet to find empirical data that proves more guns equal more safety(less crime)..and quite the contrary, the current state of our country screams quite the opposite.

  4. It is long past time for urgent action on firearm policies that will have a meaningful impact on the illegal gun market. 
    Does any more need be said?  Unfortunately, we can’t control what other states do (looking at you Indiana), but we can do something here, and potentially eliminate 40% of the guns floating around on the streets.  The report makes mention of the Gun Dealer Licensing Bill, which I’ve written about previously, and is currently working its way through the Illinois State Legislature. The current bill is SB1657, and has been written about quite a bit in a multitude of periodicals…Google it!  I will say that you should support this bill, which could be called to a vote on the House floor as early as this week.  You should call your representative and ask them to support the bill…point blank! (Pun intended).

Beyond that, I loved all of the proposed policy solutions at the conclusion of the report, and I encourage you to read them…get acquainted, talk to your elected officials and tell them how these things might make our city a safer place.

We can’t wait for our elected officials to do what’s best for our communities.  We have to tell them what’s best for our communities.  They represent us, not dictate down to us.

And most importantly, don’t take my word for it.  Do your own research.  Read, a lot, from a multitude of sources to draw your own conclusions.

Now, I know that my thoughts are totally going to get lodged in the craw of my ISRA compatriots.  Last time I spoke about guns, every gun hugging (potentially licking) troglodyte within 100 miles came crawling into the sun to tell me how I hate America and freedom…yes, the US Army vet with actual war experience and real firearm experience (small arms repair certified bitches!) hates America and freedom.  Well, I welcome you all.  You work wonders for my modest readership numbers.

Let me just extend the right hand of friendship and say that we can disagree without disagreeable.  We can stand around in a tight circle and compare M9’s.  That’d be fun right???

Right???

All jokes aside, we can’t continue to sit around doing the same old shit thinking that suddenly we’ll suddenly get a yahtzee.  That’s not how it works.  We need to be smarter, shrewder, and more proactive for our own self-preservation.  We have to do better.  We can do better. #Enough #OurOneJob #ChicagoStandUp

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