A tragic series of attacks has left seven dead and 36 injured.
According to NBC Chicago, all attacks were committed over the Thanksgiving Day weekend. All of them were shootings that occurred in Chicago, as part of a long-held trend of violence in the Windy City.
At least seven of the shootings happened on Thanksgiving Day alone. Four of the seven fatalities occurred the day after, on Friday. The first shooting took place on Thursday at 1:30 AM. A 38-year-old man with a woman in the passenger seat was driving through an alley when approached by three men.
The driver and the men exchanged words when suddenly one of the three men pulled a gun out and shot the driver in the head. The woman was able to get out of the car and flee the area without injury. She has refused to cooperate with officers regarding the shooting.
The last shooting to occur over the Thanksgiving weekend was 11 PM on Sunday. A 17-year-old boy was walking on the sidewalk when a man walked up and shot him. The teen sustained injuries to his right hand and right foot, but is otherwise in good condition.
According to The Washington Post, Chicago has taken several measures over the years in an effort to curb the wave of violent shootings. It was among one of the city’s toughest on gun control, formerly having a strict handgun ban and strong gun registry policies that did little to stop the chaos. If anything, these gun control measures may have fueled the violence as unsuspecting citizens were improperly armed to defend themselves against violent thugs during those years.
One of the problems is that Chicago’s gun control efforts have had zero effect because of the accessibility of guns in other states. Criminals wanting arms to commit their atrocities simply drive over state lines, obtain the guns in illegal or semi-legal fashion and bring them back to Chicago.
Democrats have pointed to this problem as a need for enacting broader gun control measures across the nation. Their logic posits that if neighboring states don’t have readily available guns, the criminals will be unable to arm themselves.
Republicans have pointed out that criminals are resourceful and will use whatever means necessary to arm themselves — be it obtaining weapons from other countries, resorting to alternative weapons, or even finding a way to craft the firearms themselves.
One bit of evidence pointing to Chicago being a unique case for gun violence is that states with fewer gun control policies don’t suffer the same level of violence. If criminals are able to access guns more easily in other states, then why is the violence more pronounced in Chicago and not places like Indiana with looser gun policies?
Chicago has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country and one of the highest gun crime rates. Do gun control laws have a direct correlation to a decrease in gun crime?
Likely there are some cultural or sociological roots tied to the violence in Chicago. Whatever is causing the more criminal elements of society in Chicago to resort to violence needs to be resolved before the gun violence will ever start to abate.
Whether it’s poor education resulting in fewer job opportunities, rampant poverty, poor law enforcement presence or ineptitude, or some other reason, Chicago city officials need to spend less time on politically charged issues like gun control and find the true catalyst sparking the violence.