A new study reveals that most of the guns confiscated after Chicago crimes were bought here, not in the South as many believed.
Apparently, thugs can buy handguns in Chicago as easily as a hotdog with all the trimmings.
This comes to light after a year of more intense gun violence than the city has seen recently. Since last Friday, nine Chicagoans have died and 28 more were wounded. This has sent city leaders into full-scale public relations offensive. It was a calm July followed by a bloody August. It was a bloody 2012 and will be even bloodier in 2013.
But one thing about the surge in gun violence and its devastating effects is clear: a large portion of Chicago citizens don’t care that much. That’s because of who the victims are.
That’s a shocking observation made more shocking by its accuracy.
Chicago remains among the most racially segregated cities in the country and segregation produces more profound boundaries than merely housing choices. You care about people you know; people who look like you; people who live next door.
Not all of Chicago is awash in violence, and the dividing lines are obvious. We suspect that if the street shootings were being imposed on white, middle class neighborhoods, the city would rise up in anger to stop it. The shootings only seem random at first glance but they are interlaced with predictable circumstances of time, place and life conditions.
Depending on which instrument you use to dissect demographics, 90 percent of the city homicide victims are black or Hispanic and 90 percent of the killers are black or Hispanic. It’s no coincidence that similar rates of rising poverty and lousy public education are tilted to those same neighborhoods.
The white 50 percent of the city is relatively unscathed.
Getting more guns off the streets would help. The city must do more to interdict “straw buyers” who offer cover for the real purchaser. It’s the easiest tactical solution but hardly the most effective one in the long term.
Poverty and ineffective education are far more powerful barriers to peace on our streets. They require fundamental strategies so far unrealized.
All the easy answers have been tried.