This past Easter weekend 45 people were shot in the City of Chicago, with nine of those being killed. Six children were among those that were wounded. Some of these children were playing in a playground when they were gunned down. The violence in Chicago has been in the headlines for the last few years, but this recent rash of violence should make people start to see how devastating this is for the City of Chicago and the nation as a whole. This kind of violence should not be happening in an American City. Some have begun calling Chicago “Chiraq” because of the sheer number of killings in that city on a daily basis.
The Chicago Police Superintendent, Garry McCarthy, has stated that he feels the main problem causing this violence is that there are not stiffer gun laws. McCarthy has explained that although the police arrest people and confiscate guns, those same people are shortly back on the street. To add to this dilemma, the Illinois legislature passed a law last year that allows people to carry concealed weapons. Some may say that with all of the violence, residents should be able to carry a weapon for their own protection, and that is definitely a valid argument. It is easy for people to say this law is just compounding the problem, but people are afraid and the natural reaction is to want to protect themselves and their families. This recent incident of violence has gotten a lot of officials talking about what is causing this violence and what can be done about it.
Some people attribute the violence to gangs. According to the Chicago Crime Commission, there are over 600 gangs in Chicago with approximately 70,000 people affiliated with these gangs. With so many gangs in Chicago, this could very well be the reason for so much violence. The question is how do you deal with the gang situation? One way is by parents being more aware of what their children are doing and who their children are associating with. The Chicago Police department advises that parents should try to get their children involved in more constructive activities. Chicago also has a curfew for children under age 17, which means they must be home by 10:30 pm on weekdays and 11:30 pm on Friday and Saturday nights.
There is more to this problem than just gangs though. We have to find out why our children feel the need to join these gangs. I can think of a couple of reasons, such as lack of community based programs to give these gang members a better way to spend their time. If these programs were offered, they could give these youth job training, tutoring, and mentors to help them realize that there is a more productive way for them to live their lives. The other problem here is the education system needs more funding and much more parental involvement so these kids can get an education that will transfer into meaningful employment.
There is no quick fix for the violence in Chicago, but as a society we should all be concerned about this problem because it is very sad to see all of these young people being murdered, and watching all of these parents burying their children. This is not just Chicago’s problem, this is the nation’s problem, because one day we could be talking about your city.