WORLD An 'unacceptably violent weekend' in Chicago


An 'unacceptably violent weekend' in Chicago

By Zhang Mengxu | People's Daily app

14:31, August 08, 2018

Washington (People’s Daily)- Over the past weekend, residents of Chicago experienced an "unacceptably violent weekend". 

Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said at a press conference on Monday that from Friday at 6 p.m. through Sunday at midnight, more than 30 shootings happened in Chicago, 66 people were shot, 12 of whom died. Johnson said that the Chicago Police Department is working closely with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the US Drug Enforcement Administration to tackle the gun violence. "We can always do better." However, as of now, the Chicago police have not arrested anyone involved in the shootings, but only sent police patrols in various communities where the shootings occurred.

According to US media reports, the shootings reached their peak in the early hours of Sunday. From midnight to 3:00 am, 30 people were shot in as little as three hours, and on average, one person was shot every six minutes. The oldest victim was 62 years old and the youngest only 11. According to the police, the shootings occurred mainly in four areas where crime rates and gang activities in Chicago were severe, and in mainly African-American and Hispanic communities. The reasons for these shootings are complex: Some are violent clashes between gangs, and some seem to be only gangs who aimlessly shoot in order to show off to their competitors. Many passers-by suffered from stray bullets. Among them was a 17-year-old girl who was shot in the head on the way to a friend’s gathering. The surge in shootings has left the emergency room nearby without an extra bed for other patients.

Chicago is the city with the most serious gun violence in the United States. According to US media statistics, more than 300 people have died in shootings in Chicago this year, ranking first in the United States, more than the combined number of the two largest cities in the United States, New York and Los Angeles. In 2016 and 2017, 771 people and 650 people died in gun violence throughout Chicago, respectively. However, according to statistics from the University of Chicago Crime Lab, Chicago’s gun crimes in the last two years have been steadily declining. "So far, this year, the crime rate in the city has decreased by 25%, and the incidence of shootings has dropped by more than 30%. This is not a victory, but the direction of our efforts is correct,” Chicago Police Chief of Patrol Fred Waller said at a press conference. For the recent surge in Police believe the recent surge in gun violence is related to the hot summer weather.

Controlling the use of guns is a dead knot in American society. According to statistics from the US Guns Violence Archives, as of August 6 this year, there were 34,762 shootings in the United States, leading to 8,708 deaths and 16,942 injuries. The New York Times said the lack of trust among police and civilians was a key factor leading to serious gun violence. The article said that the US police have long treated the African-American and Hispanic residents rudely, resulting in residents considering the local police more as an "occupation army" rather than maintaining the power of law and order. There is very little interaction between the police and civilians. The immediate consequence of this is that the police have a lot of difficulties in conducting community work and have done little to prevent crime, community policing and crime investigations. A professor of law at Northwestern University, said, "The Chicago police only arrest. They are not trying to stop any violence. It is only a reactionary force."

Gun violence takes away many lives every year. But gun control has been stagnant for many years. In 2017, about 40% of Americans say they have guns in their homes. Earlier this year, the surviving students of the Parkland campus shootings launched the "march for our lives" gun-control” parade, which quickly evolved into a national gun control campaign. In the face of tremendous pressure, the US Congress has only included provisions on campus security and the establishment of a background check database for gun purchasers in the annual budget, and does not address the fundamentals of the gun control issue. Recently, survivors of the US campus shootings once again gathered outside the headquarters of the National Rifle Association (NRA) to protest. The US media analysis pointed out that the United States currently lacks the basic political atmosphere to solve the problem of gun violence, and no one know how long it will take and how far it will go.

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