This was predicted back in July by, well… pretty much everyone, but it’s now come to pass. While many of you were out enjoying an extra bit of rest over a long Labor Day weekend, a different sort of historic moment was being marked in Chicago. The city recorded its 500th homicide for the year, setting a record which hasn’t been seen since the height of the crime epidemic back in the nineties. In only eight months the city has seen more murders than the already staggeringly high body count for all of 2015. CNN has the ugly details.
Chicago’s 500th homicide of the year happened over Labor Day weekend, according to the Chicago Tribune.
That number carries a lot of weight for the city — not just in quantity, but in meaning: 2016 is now the deadliest year in two decades.
When you compare Chicago’s homicide rate to that of other big cities in the country — New York and Los Angeles, for example — it tops the list.
But Chicago is not the homicide capital of the United States.
New Orleans, St. Louis, Detroit, Baltimore and Newark all have higher rates when you drill down the data per capita.
However, this doesn’t tell the entire story of Chicago’s bloodshed.
Everyone remembers the first person to walk on the moon. Nobody will recall the name of the 500th bullet riddled corpse in Chicago this year. More to the point, it may prove impossible to say exactly which victim put them over the top in the body count because the unidentified corpse was one of only thirteen people who were killed just this weekend, with nine of them coming on Monday alone. Given the difficulty cops sometimes encounter in establishing time of death in homicide cases, it could have been one of several people.
The reason for all of the killings is nothing new according to the Chicago PD. They attributed the jump in deaths to, “retaliatory acts, often involving gangs, after a weekend of parties and tense encounters.” It’s the gang wars, which everyone knows about but nobody – including Mayor Rahm Emanual – wants to talk about. It’s politically poisonous to mention gang violence when your next election depends on blaming the police for the relative handful of shootings they’re involved with each year.
CNN is correct, however, in pointing out that Chicago isn’t actually posting the highest per capita murder rate in the country. The others on the list are:
New Orleans – Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Democrat
St. Louis – Mayor Francis G. Slay, Democrat
Detroit – Mayor Mike Duggan, Democrat
Baltimore – Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Democrat (and DNC leader)
Newark – Mayor Ras J. Baraka, Democrat
Do you notice anything all of these cities have in common? As we reflect on some of the most horrifying math available in any of the nation’s classrooms, perhaps we should be asking ourselves why the beleaguered residents of these cities keep electing the same people over and over and over again. Wouldn’t you eventually conclude that what you’re doing simply isn’t working and give a Republican a try? To borrow a concept from someone currently running for office… what the hell do you have to lose?