Mr. President, Chicago’s Gun Victims Need You Now

Posted by on Jan 18, 2013 at 1:23 pm

The sad reality is that while terrible mass shootings like the ones at Aurora and Newtown shock the nation’s conscience, pull at the public’s heartstrings, and garner wall-to-wall media coverage, they represent a tiny fraction of the number of gun homicides in the country every year.

Consider this, Mr. President: During the first 16 days of January, 26 people have been killed by guns in Chicago — the exact same number as at Sandy Hook Elementary School. By the time this year is out, the south and west sides of the city we both call home will have endured, in terms of sheer numbers of people killed, the equivalent of 20 Sandy Hook massacres. That’s on top of the equivalent of the 19 Sandy Hooks the city experienced in 2012.

Yet there has been little outcry by the national media, and not much public attention paid to Chicago’s crucible by either national political party. Just the sterile news stories in the local papers every morning recounting the details of yet another young person’s life cut short and another family ripped apart thanks to senseless violence.

The other sad reality, Mr. President, is that almost nothing proposed this week in Washington, D.C., by your administration will do anything to stem the tide of gun violence in our inner cities. Most of these crimes were not committed with semi-automatic assault weapons, they weren’t committed by the mentally ill, and they won’t be stopped by universal background checks.

If you are serious about doing everything in your power to curb gun violence and save lives, then you must harness your immense popularity in Chicago — and in other big cities — to address the elephant in the room: the failures of a society grown coarsened, desensitized to violence, and too tolerant of such carnage.

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One Response to “Mr. President, Chicago’s Gun Victims Need You Now”

  1. MT Geoff on 18/18/13 at 4:14 pm

    There’s a weak inverse relationship between prevalence of firearms in a community and firearms deaths in the community — that is, rural communities and “red” states tend to have far more gun ownership and far fewer gun deaths. This is shown empirically in the last twenty years or so — lots more guns available, overall gun deaths down.
    The exception, of course, is in inner-city areas under “blue” governments, the very places that pretend to restrict guns the most tightly.
    It’s not the prevalence of guns that drives vicious, irresponsible or despairing behavior. It’s the vicious, irresponsible or despairing character that drives the gun behavior.
    The mass shootings are a sentinel event, very rare and so far beyond any reasonable prediction. The vastly more common shootings are gang activity or vicious family relationships that end in deaths. Even the shooting during a robbery, while certainly very real, is also very rare.
    And nothing on the political horizon looks like changing the situation. Probably nothing political can change it. Although the “progressive” model that devastates families and denigrates religion can’t be helping.