Violence rips through the Windy City
Imagine being afraid to walk out your front door, never knowing if you’ll return home from a quick trip to the corner store. Imagine witnessing friends and family being gunned down in the street.
While this may seem like a picture from a war torn country far from the United States, this is life much closer to home. This is life in Chicago.
In early September, the FBI named Chicago “America’s murder capital.” In 2012, the city racked up a saddening 507 murders, surpassing both New York and Detroit for the title.
This year isn’t looking any better for Chicago’s reputation. Recently, 13 people were injured, including a 3-year-old boy, when gunfire broke out at south side community basketball game. On Friday, Sept. 28th, the overnight count of wounded equaled nine people across the city.
According to the Chicago Tribune, there have been over 300 murders in the Windy City since January of 2013. However, the Chicago police department insists that this year isn’t as deadly as last.
According to police statistics, murders are down 21 percent from this time last year. Even overall crime has dropped by 15 percent.
These statistics aren’t of any comfort when you’re afraid to leave your home or, as is the case for many UIS students, afraid to visit your hometown.
What has to be done to stop this senseless loss of life? Does the Chicago police force need help? That is a question weighing on Governor Pat Quinn’s mind.
Last week, Quinn was asked if he has considered sending the Illinois National Guard into Chicago to combat the violence. Instead of taking responsibility for the largest city in the state he governs, he passed the decision on to Chicago’s Mayor, Rahm Emanuel.
Quinn said that he is open to the idea of sending in troops if they are invited by Emanuel and with the complete cooperation of city police.
However, Chicago police superintendent Garry McCarthy is opposed to such measures. In an interview with ABC News, McCarthy explained that the best way to combat the city’s gun violence is by imposing minimum prison sentences for illegal gun possession.
Others have suggested community education on gangs and gun violence, increasing foot patrols in problem areas of town, and increasing job opportunities.
Whatever the solution is, something has to be done. Terrorism isn’t just an external threat to America. It is alive and well, domestically.