On Monday, September 7, after a Labor Day holiday weekend in which 46 people suffered gunshot wounds – eight of whom died – Chicago authorities placed the blame for the violence and the prevalence of guns in the city squarely on lax gun laws and a soft justice system. According to the Chicago Tribune, the majority of the shootings occurred on the South and West Sides of Chicago. Nine of the reported incidents involved multiple victims.
Referring to the outbreak of violence which occurred over Labor Day weekend in 2014, in which 42 were shot; five of whom died, Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy described the 2015 holiday weekend as, “It’s Groundhog Day in Chicago.” The Chicago Tribune reports that over the Labor Day weekend in 2013, nine out of a total of 40 people who were shot died.
The 4th of July weekend in 2015 was also deadly for Chicago residents. During the time period between Thursday, July 2, and Monday, July 6, 55 people were hurt and ten were killed. McCarthy made an impassioned plea after that deadly weekend as well, blaming “a broken system” and “criminals [who] don’t feel the repercussions of the justice system,” said CNN.
The superintendent’s statement, which detailed the spate of shootings, focused on the firearms used by the alleged shooters as well as their criminal histories. Referring to what he sees as a lack of “punishment going out” and “too many guns coming in,” McCarthy echoed the sentiment of other city authorities, boiling down the outbreak of violence over the deadly Labor Day holiday weekend to lax gun laws, saying, “It all comes down to guns.”
Eight of the incidents reported involved officers with the Chicago Police, who were targeted by threats or bullets and forced to return fire. Among the five people shot by police, two were killed. Per standard Chicago departmental procedure, all incidents involving the discharge of service weapons by police are being reviewed.
For his part, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel allowed as though questions regarding where the police were during the holiday weekend violence were valid, another fair question to be asked is, “Where are the parents?” One relative of a person shot by police told WLS-TV in Chicago that parents are doing what they can, but when their child leaves, there are “gang bangers standing around waiting to clip these kids up and do their dirty work.”
In asking where the parents of the alleged shooters were, Emanuel also lamented the lack of community support and, much like McCarthy, blamed a lack of laws regulating firearms. U.S. Senator Mark Kirk called for the federal government to step in to aid in the investigations into this weekend’s deadly violence. He plans an upcoming announcement regarding a new initiative to “track…federal ballistics on every gun crime” in the city.
In recognition of the fact that holiday weekends are becoming increasingly deadly in Chicago, McCarthy said that authorities are reviewing the way they approach these weekends. During the past weekend, many of the city’s most violent neighborhoods, mainly located in the south side of the city, were being patrolled by hundreds of additional officers. The superintendent said that efforts had been “moving in the right direction,” but that on Sunday, the violence ramped up and outpaced any additional efforts made by the police – violence he blames on lax gun laws and a soft justice system.
By Jennifer Pfalz
WLS-TV: 82 Shot – 15 Fatally – In Chicago Over Holiday Weekend
Chicago Tribune: Labor Day Weekend Toll in Chicago: 9 Slain, 46 Wounded
CNN: Chicago Convulsed by Another Violent Weekend; Top Cop Blames Justice System
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