President Obama just routed his re-election campaign through Aurora, Colorado. But when will he visit Chicago to be photographed consoling the even more numerous victims of violence there?
The demented action of James Holmes, who allegedly killed 12 people and wounded 59 wounded at a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises on July 19, has become the talk of the world, overshadowing all other news stories.
Specifically, it overshadowed the story of 3 people dying from gunshots and 21 being shot all across Chicago on July 21. Yet this is merely a continuation of the violence that has left America’s Second City in a state that one cop compared to “tribal warfare.”
Michael Skolnik, writing for the leftist Global Grind, satirized the situation with this headline: “53 WHITE People Shot! 10 Dead! One Weekend!” [May 30, 2012]:
Imagine you saw that headline. Imagine you woke up on Monday morning and those words were spread across the top of your local city paper. By the time you read it, the Governor would have already deployed the National Guard. The President would have already made a statement. A curfew would have been set for anyone under 18. Schools would have been closed. Check points would have been set up around the city. Every active police officer would be called into work. CNN, MSNBC and Fox News would all break into their regular scheduled programming for a special report. Just close your eyes for a moment and imagine that fifty-three WHITE people were shot in one weekend in one city by fifty-three different people. Just for a moment, imagine. You can open your eyes now...
But for the father of a beautiful seven year old girl who was shot while playing in front of her house on the South Side of Chicago, this dream quickly became a nightmare.
Skolnik’s point: no one cares that black people are killing one another in Chicago at a horrifying rate. (Or maybe they are too scared of the Political Correctness police to mention it).
But what Skolnik can’t come to terms with: it is the black people of Chicago who are responsible for pulling the triggers.
Nor, of course, can Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy—he has blamed the Pilgrims [Police chief blames 'Pilgrims', cops for Chicago violence, By Bill Kelly, Washington Times, June 27, 2003] and Sarah Palin [Top Cop: Gun Laws Akin to 'Racism', By BJ Lutz, NBCChicago, June 23, 201].
But a recent article in the Chicago Tribune paints a much more precise picture of the dysfunction and chaos:
Violent crime has long afflicted minorities in Chicago at a much higher rate than the rest of the population, and the spike in homicides in the first half of this year provides an especially stark measure: 201 of the 259 homicide victims were African-American.
While blacks make up about 33 percent of the city's population, they accounted for nearly 78 percent of the homicide victims through the first six months of 2012.
By comparison, just 11 homicide victims in the first six months of the year were white, and 44 were Hispanic, according to police data.
The pattern is a familiar one in Chicago, where most violent crime happens in impoverished, mostly black neighborhoods on the South and West sides. Annual Chicago police statistics show a majority of both homicide victims and offenders are young black men with criminal records. With one exception, African-Americans have made up more than 70 percent of homicide victims in Chicago every year for the last two decades.
The Tribune reported Monday that 143 of the homicide victims in the first half of the year were listed as being at least affiliated with a street gang. The data obtained by the paper represent the Police Department's preliminary assessment of crimes and are subject to revision as investigations progress.
A deeper review of the numbers shows males ages 15 to 35 made up nearly three-quarters of African-American homicide victims. Police data showed that 133 of those 145 victims had arrest histories.
Homicide numbers reveal stark contrast | African-Americans hardest hit by spike in violence, deaths in Chicago, By David Heinzmann, Chicago Tribune, July 12, 2012|
The actions of Holmes might cause short-term losses to the AMC Theater. But it won’t jeopardize the whole economy of Aurora, as the black violence threatens to do in the Windy City.
Fears of black crime painting the town red now threaten to put the city into the financial red, with diminishing revenue generated by tourism:
Chicago's extensive efforts to reinvigorate its convention and tourism industries could be damaged unless the city quickly defuses the violent crime wave that has exploded in its neighborhoods and nicked the downtown, the city's top convention and tourism official said Wednesday.
"We hope this sunsets quickly because all the good work we're doing regionally, nationally and internationally, if this is not contained in a reasonable period of time, it will have an impact," Don Welsh, president and chief executive of Choose Chicago, said in a morning meeting with the Chicago Tribune's editorial board.
Tourism official: City must curtail crime wave, By Kathy Bergen, Chicago Tribune, July 11, 2012
But apparently none of this is newsworthy outside of Chicago. To discuss honestly the killings in Chicago, and the reality of gun violence across America, we’d have to acknowledge who is responsible—and why.
For most Americans, the violence in the black community in Chicago justifies gun ownership and being fearful of minority areas.
But for America’s political class, the massacre that Holmes perpetrated in Aurora is an opportunity to push gun control on the American people, and possibly smear a few political opponents.
Skolnik is right: no-one wants to talk about blacks being killed Chicago. But what does that say about the agenda—and the sincerity—of our political class?
Paul Kersey[Email him] is the author of the blog SBPDL, and has published the books SBPDL Year One, Hollywood in Blackface andCaptain America and Whiteness: The Dilemma of the Superhero.