In just three days, 12 people were killed and at least 43 – including a 4-year-old girl – were injured in shootings across Chicago, according to reports.
However, as it turns out, it wasn’t just the Windy City that saw an uptick in violence over this Memorial Day weekend.
Twenty-eight people were shot, nine fatally, in Baltimore while 23 people were killed or injured in 16 separate shooting incidents In New York City. All in all, at least 108 people were shot in the three cities across the United States.
It’s not as if it was the first time a holiday was plagued by gun violence in the country. This has been going on for years now – especially in Chicago. The question is: Why hasn't the government done something about it?
In 2013, three people were shot dead on Jan. 1 alone, and with 43 fatal shootings that month, it became the deadliest in decades. The year before, there were 506 gun murders – 16 percent more than in 2011.
Despite the shocking stats, Chicago has never been one of America’s top 10 “murder capitals.” However, it is the city’s ever-increasing homicide rate – at a time when gun killings are going down in other urban areas – that is becoming a point of concern.
Moreover, the fact that President Barack Obama has not been able to control gun violence in his hometown often comes under debate in the media.
As far as the security response is concerned, the methods used by the Chicago Police Department to tackle crime in the city resulted in more arrests and consequently more fear and distrust among citizens.
The problem, it is widely believed, is not one that affects the entire city but mostly low-income and minority neighborhoods. And while a definitive solution is impossible to reach in a short span of time, more law enforcement in Chicago, military occupation e.g. as the Daily Beast’s Roland Martin once suggested, would only add to the violence.
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Also, it’s not just Chicago. Gun violence plagues the entire nation. According to the Gun Violence Archive, 9,366 people have been injured by gun violence in the United States since 1 January 2015 – up from 7,145 last year. In just five months, a total of 4,868 people have been killed – again more than 4,123 from last year.
“That number,” the Guardian notes, “includes 1,155 children and teens injured or killed and 486 instances of defensive gun use. In total, there have been 18,935 incidents of gun violence reported in 2015; among them, according to the gun-violence site, 1,705 were officer-involved shootings.”
The West’s primary reason to invade and/or declare war in, for example, Middle Eastern countries has always been the unchecked massacre of innocent citizens.
Perhaps, it’s time the U.S. took immediate and effective steps to curb violence at home which is – as we can see in the case of “Chiraq” – spreading like an epidemic.