From our love of guns, to movies and video games, our nation thrives on violence. In a country which claimed to be kinder and gentler, it has morphed into a nation which is angrier and self-destructive. With another weekend of violence, is Chicago the model city for America?
Three people are dead and 20 were wounded as gun violence erupted once again this first weekend in October. On the weekend of August 23rd, 11 were shot, including a three-year-old boy. The weekend of September 7th produced seven deaths and left 20 wounded. Chicago is ranked as one of the cities with the highest percentage of gun violence. The ‘windy city’ ranks second, only behind Los Angeles in deaths resulting from gunshot.
For all the great things about Chicago, the Chicago Bears, the Bulls, the Blackhawks, the Jackie Robinson West Little League team, and the warm smiles from passers-by, it has become known as a city where guns are all too often used to kill or maim another human being.
Sports figures, celebrities, former gang members, and community action groups are working furiously to change the violent mentality in the city. The rapper Common released an album ‘No Buddy’s Smiling,’ which he said was influenced by the tragic events in Chicago, his home town. He has a foundation called Common Ground which is involved in procuring employment and other issues in the poorest communities.
Joakim Noah, who plays for the Chicago Bulls has formed an organization called ‘Noah’s Arc Foundation. He has been urging the citizens of Chicago to ‘stand-up’ against violence in the city.
Derek Rose, who also plays for the Bulls has donated one-million dollars to ‘After School Matters,’ a safe and positive after-school program for Chicago’s inner city youth.
Multiple programs have arisen in the last couple of years focusing on reduction of violence. Mayor Rahm Emmanuel believes he knows the root of the problem. “Chicago’s violence problem is directly linked to the number of illegal guns available in the City.”
Police are using all methods available to them. Analyzing the residents of the most violent neighborhoods is one of them. They are attempting to isolate who in those areas might end up as a shooter or a victim. In 2013 a study by Yale University reported that six percent of those in violent areas were responsible for 70 percent of homicides in those communities.
The Census discovered that there were 11,078 murders by gunshot wound in 2010. There were 19,392 suicides committed by gun usage.
A study revealed that the United States leads the 27 other developed nations in both ownership of guns, and gun deaths. 88 guns exist per 100 people, and deaths related to guns totaled 10 in 100,000 people. They also discovered that the claim by the gun lobby, the NRA, that more guns make people safer is far from the truth.
Is Chicago the model city for America? Maybe in two scenarios. At present it remains a dangerous city with far too much gun violence. However, with multiple efforts in the community to change the environment, they could become the model for other large cities.