I grew up in Chicago and lived there for most of my life until a little over two years ago. As I have written before, I was a Juvenile Case Manager that worked for seven years with clients living in many of the neighborhoods you hear about on the news or read about in the newspapers, including Englewood, Lawndale, Back of the Yards, Gresham, Fuller Park, Washington park, Kenwood, Little Village, Humboldt Park and Chicago Lawn, to name a few. My hometown reports shootings EVERYDAY!!! In fact, it reports multiple shootings almost EVERYDAY!!! I still check the news regularly because I have family and friends there, living and working in some of those neighborhoods disrupted by crime and violence on a daily basis.
With a simple search of “Chicago shootings this weekend”, I found these three links that show the amount of violence in the past few months:
October 4, 2015
September 21, 2015
July 7, 2015
Going back a year and a half, there’s this report from April 21, 2014, Report: 9 dead, 36 injured in Chicago weekend shootings
The list of stories of loss of life resulting from gun violence goes on, and on, and on, and on. I have two friends that were affected by gun violence in Chicago in the past year, losing relatives. I can assure you that most of the violence affecting my friends and the families you hear about on the news was not carried out by law-abiding, legal owners, it was carried out by criminals and street terrorists. I could tell you more stories of past clients who lost family members, friends, and neighbors to gun violence. Often, the violence is gang-related and drug-trade related. We keep hearing about the need to strengthen gun control, but the problem is most often not caused by law-abiding legal gun owners. Criminals obtain guns through “straw purchases”, underground sales on the street, or by stealing guns from law-abiding legal gun owners, all of which are illegal on top of the crime for which the gun is used. Many times “straw purchasers” are not prosecuted. I have to say, though, that I disagree with someone not being able to pass a background check to purchase a gun for recreation or self-defense due to a minor charge many years again, which happens frequently. I’m talking about people who are seemingly upstanding people who may have made a mistake, though some people are denied gun ownership, and not told why.
So much is said and written about the Mass Shootings but Chicago’s violence problem has killed and touch more people, in my opinion which I believe is true, than all of the recent Mass shootings, not to say that they are not all tragedy. They are for sure, but I really bothers me that so many people are hurt and killed in one of America’s biggest cities every day and no one REALLY talks about the problem or the issues attached to the violence, including illegal immigration, Mexican drug cartels doing business in Chicago, and poor economic conditions that prevent business growth and promote high unemployment. Chicago has very high unemployment, especially in the Black community and also has a high rate of Black on Black crime/violence. These issues are talked about individually but not together in an open and honest manner. A lot of the violence in Chicago is tied to gangs and drugs, which are connected to many things, including the Cartels, which are known to be active in Chicago.
With regard to the Mass Shootings, I believe that law-abiding citizens intervening in potentially violent situations would save lives. I believe that Gun-free zones prevent people from defending themselves and others if needed, and that Gun-free zones provide opportunities to criminals. I fully support law abiding citizens being armed and able to protect themselves, their loved ones and their neighborhoods. I wish the best for my hometown and for my country, and I hope people eventually see the true causes of violence in this country, a lot of which comes from pain (loss, violence, broken families, drug abuse, etc.) and desperation due to poor economic conditions, which leads to youth joining gangs, violence over drug sales and turf, and people resorting to criminal activity to survive. I know this from my work with youth and families who faced these circumstances. These youth and families were mostly good people who made bad choices but were looking better options, and attempted to utilize the opportunities available to them. It’s a big world, and helping the youth I worked with to see past their neighborhood hopefully allowed them to better themselves and their neighborhoods by helping them look to the future. Helping people to see that they are not their mistakes and that they can repair the damage helped them and their families heal.
All I ask is that we as Americans consider what is really going on before we take all the propaganda in the news on both sides as gospel and the answer to violence. People who want to commit crimes will, and laws don’t prevent people with bad intentions from following through with their actions. We need laws so society has order but more laws are not the answer.
© 2015 blogdaysofchrell