Monday, April 26, 2010

Chicago Street Violence, the National Guard and Jody Weis

I am angry. Somehow no one is ever shocked when I say that. Sometimes I mislabel my disappointment as anger, but this time, really, I am angry. The reason is this: I live in the best city in the nation (save your breath, no one will convince me otherwise) and this beautiful city is going to the dogs (read: the dregs of society).

It is not even Memorial Day weekend; the weather has not even been consistently hot and already the number of shootings and fatalities is staggering. Staggering to me at least. Last week, a 20 month old baby girl was sitting in a car with her sisters and she was shot to death by a coward that supposedly had some beef with her father. Two weeks ago, a 14 year old was shot on his way to school- he will now be paralyzed for life. Three weeks ago almost 30 were shot in a 24 hour period, and 17 of those people lost their lives. If you watch the news, both morning AND evening, the first 15 minutes are filled with whole neighborhoods being stifled by the sounds of gunshots; the stench of death still heavy from the prior nights victims; family members screaming in the streets over the still warm bodies of their fallen loved ones. It is awful and I, for one, am sick of it.

The most upsetting part of this whole ridiculous cycle is: if anyone else is sick of it- I can't tell. Mayor Daley keeps defiantly standing by his ban on law abiding citizens owning handguns, all the while criminals have them, and quite obviously use them. That combined with what I saw on the news last night makes me think that those in charge are going to sit back and allow violence to engulf this fabulous city like the flames of the Great Fire.

If you have read any of my blog entries, you are aware that Chicago, in fact the whole state of Illinois, is damn near broke. Our financial legs have been shaky since I moved here 5 years ago and every year it gets worse. One way that the city is remedying this budget shortfall is to not hire anymore police officers (NOT smart). On top of that brilliant move- note the sarcasm- Chicago "top cop" who seems as bright as former President Bush, was on the news last night saying that he doesn't see bringing in the National Guard for more protection in the city of Chicago as a viable choice for us. Um, why not?

It can't be because he is doing such a bang up job (pun intended). It can't be because we don't need it- because surely the whole month of April has shown that we need more help in order to slow some of this violence. Could it be Weis does not want to bring in the National Guard because he doesn't want his job to be in jeopardy? He doesn't want to admit defeat? He doesn't care about the communities that are affected? I say yes on all accounts. If Weis has to utilize the National Guard to put the brakes on Chicago street violence then he has to look at the (non) job that he is doing and admit that he can't handle this city. If Weis lived in Englewood, Roseland, Rogers Park, Humboldt Park, Chatham or countless other neighborhoods where crime is high and violence is an every day occurrence would he be more likely to put the pedal to the metal on this National Guard initiative? I would venture to say yes. When you get to leave the ghetto and go back to a cushy neighborhood where your life, and the life of your children are not in danger, it really is easy to say we don't need the National Guards help.

Well, I live on the far south side of Chicago, close to some of the above named neighborhoods and guess what? The law abiding, unprotected citizens NEED help. We either need more good police (which isn't going to happen) or we need a presence that will win back our streets. With budget cut backs we are losing community resources and social programs. People are unemployed in record numbers (within the city of Chicago it is still above 11%) and with no education, that number might be high for a while. So no money, no job, nothing to do all day...what do we expect when thousands more people are on the street after school dismisses for the summer?? If there have been 113 murders since January 1, what will that number reflect by the middle of the summer? 113- and that is when most people are cooped up for the winter. See, the knowledge that violent crime goes up when it is warm, and the economy being what it is right now, and Jody being so set on not getting help, made me have a Kanye West moment last night, and I emphatically repeat my statement: "Jody Weis does not care about Black people, nor does he care about the city of Chicago." If he did, he would do all that he could to make sure that violent crime did not take over this fantastic city...even if that meant he had to call in the National Guard.

3 comments:

Kia said...

You're right, Chicago is the best city on earth. I moved away for a few years (to vegas) where there was hardly any murders, but I loved Chicago so much that I came back. It completely slipped my mind about how much crime our city really has, and it's very unfortunate.

Moximillion said...

Kia,
Thanks for your comment! It is unfortunate that Chicago is headed down a destructive path, but the citizens of this great city will figure out how to turn it around! :)

Anonymous said...

While I have to disagree that Chicago is the best city on earth, I do agree with your assesment of Jody Weis and the rampant, needless violence that occurs on a daily basis. Seems to me that the South Side is the red-headed step-child and is a mere headache that Daley tries emphatically to ignore! Segregation is not a thing of the past, it is alive and well in one of the biggest cities in the United States and it is a freakin joke!

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