Hadiya Pendleton dies as Chicago’s homicide toll rises to 42

a too often scene in ChicagoAbout three months ago, I wrote about a segment I had seen on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer.  Sawyer and Alex Perez, a Chicago native, highlighted the gang violence that has plagued the city.  The city of Chicago had over 500 homicides last year.  There were more homicides in Chicago than deaths in Afghanistan.  On Tuesday, a 15-year-old girl was shot to death, making it the most deadly month of January since 2002.

Gary McCarthy, Chicago’s Police Superintendent, defended his crime prevention strategies.  He found these homicides, “disappointing.”  In a press conference he said: “You don’t throw out everything you’re doing because you had a bad couple of days.  And unfortunately today’s (Tuesday) a bad day, too.” 

University of Chicago criminologist Jens Ludwig said a plausible explanation for the woeful January homicide numbers could be the budget problems confronting cities throughout the country.  Emanuel’s budget for 2013 calls for the hiring of an additional 500 police officers, but the police union has contended that numbers falls far short of the void created by cops retiring (Chicago Tribune).  Ludwig thinks big cities like Chicago should get help from the federal government.

At the press conference Tuesday, McCarthy continued to emphasize that Chicago police are removing more illegal guns from the streets than authorities in any other major city in the U.S.  During the first three weeks of January, he said, two of Chicago’s 22 police districts seized more illegal guns than were collected in all of New York City (Chicago Tribune).

McCarthy thinks that is because New York City is tougher on penalizing gun infractions.  He says: “When people get caught with (illegal) guns in New York, they go to jail…as a result they’re not carrying guns with impunity.”

Hadiya PendletonOne of the girls killed on Tuesday was Hadiya Pendleton.  Hadiya was a 15-year-old King College Prep high School student.  She had in fact just visited Washington D.C. where she performed with the school band for President Obama’s inauguration ceremony.  Hadiya decided to go to the park with some friends.  At 2:30 in the afternoon she was shot to death.

The Chicago Tribune reports that Pendleton was not part of a gang, but most of the teens that were fired upon appear to be gang members, according to authorities.  NONE of the teens near Hadiya stayed to help her or wait for help.

Shortly after last year’s town hall meeting (same link as one above) initiated by Father Flagger and Diane Sawyer the number of deaths subsided.  Unfortunately it was short-lived.  I find McCarthy’s comments incredulous.  No Mr. McCarthy, this isn’t a bad day.  It’s been a series of bad days.  A series of bad months.  Whatever you are doing isn’t working.

I also don’t understand why President Obama hasn’t been more vocal, at least in the media, on the surging death toll in his hometown.  I guess it may not be fair to expect him to do anything since this is Mayor Emanuel’s responsibility.  I just figured something more drastic would have been done.

Some people think the warm weather is the culprit.  Others think it’s the fact that Chicago has the strictest gun laws in the nation.  They think that if law-abiding citizens were able to carry a weapon, in a concealed fashion, it would dissuade the violence.  These deaths are gang related.  I doubt that would do anything.  Although I don’t really see the problem of citizens being able to legally carry a weapon.

It saddens me that my hometown is experiencing this absurdity.  I will never understand the selfishness of these gang members.  There are so many innocent children dying because they want to get revenge.  It’s a never-ending circle.  Chances are that by the end of today, someone else will have died in Chicago because of senseless gun violence. 

How do you think this issue should be addressed?

Why do you think there has been such a spike in violence these past 13 months?

Should big cities get help from the federal government?

Email: realtalkdebate2012@gmail.com

Twitter: @adrakontaidis & @talkrealdebate

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About adrakontaidis

A conservative who doesn't pander to the GOP.

13 responses to “Hadiya Pendleton dies as Chicago’s homicide toll rises to 42”

  1. reasoningpolitics says :

    They really need to re-think their strategy. Perhaps some of the “broken windows” strategy that Rudy Giuliani employed in NYC would help. More cops with more sophisticated techniques. I’t can’t hurt. The beat cops and detectives know who the gangs members are. Go after them.

  2. JF Owen says :

    You ask questions that can’t truly be answered in a few sentences; hundreds of books have been written on the history and solutions for violence and none of them have truly identified a solution. I’m not sure that there is one.

    The central reality to the problem is that man has evolved to be THE alpha predator, not only to other species, but also to himself. That’s a dubious distinction in the animal world, but one borne out by tabulating many millenniums of wars and genocides. Alpha predators don’t like competition.

    We like to think that we live in a more civilized society now than we did a thousand years ago, but the evidence suggests that we’re not more civilized, only more technologically advanced. Admittedly, along with that technology we’ve learned how to communicate more effectively and our educational systems are more developed. Those things and the ability to more easily support our families has allowed us to glue a veneer over our predatory nature. But it is truly only a veneer. If any one of us feels that others are impeding our ability to survive and prosper or putting our lives or the lives of our families at risk, we are a heartbeat away from becoming violent.

    That is, and always has been, the problem. It’s why one clan fought against another when men were first learning how to make tools from stone, it’s why one nation has fought against another throughout history and it’s why one gang fights against another on the streets of Chicago today. We may be able to temporarily contain the problem, but I don’t believe that we will ever eliminate it. It’s buried too deeply in our genetic code.

    Some countries experience more or less daily violence. The ones with less tend to be countries with a long history and a homogenous population that is highly educated. The most violent are the ones that have populations that are ethnically or religiously very diverse and poorly educated. We don’t like to admit it, but the United States fits that description, especially in urban areas, and it’s also one of the world’s most violent countries. How much difference is there between two clans fighting for control in the Scottish highlands eight hundred years ago and the Crips and the Bloods fighting for control of a section of East LA?

    We like to describe our nation as a melting pot of all the world’s people. In many ways it is, but uneven heat has made the wax in the pot lumpy. Our firewall against violence has always been upward mobility and a strong middle class. For the past forty years or so the difficulties attached to moving into or maintaining your place in the middle class have been steadily increasing. As a result, economically and intellectually we are becoming a polarized nation. That doesn’t bode well for a reduction of violence.

    The older I get the more pessimistic I become. That’s probably a common affliction with humans, but it doesn’t make coming up with a good solution to problems like this any easier. I guess that’s better left to the young and idealistic.

    • realtalkrealdebate says :

      I don’t think there is any one answer. I think the issue is a combination of many things.

      Do you think the federal government should intervene?

      • JF Owen says :

        You’re right, If there is a solution, even a partial one, it will be multi-facetted.

        As to federal involvement, I think that the federal government should continue with the efforts to control semi-automatic weapons.

        I think that the federal government should continue to provide the data retrieval and support services that they currently provide to state and local governments.

        I think that the federal government should act as a clearing house for sharing information about and training state and local governments on law enforcement “best practices”…i.e. what has worked in areas around the country to reduce violence.

        I think that the federal government should continue their efforts at supporting and improving education and educational opportunities for our youth and young adults. That would be key to alleviating some of the economic conditions that help violence breed.

        I don’t think that the federal government should get involved in local law enforcement, either directly by providing personnel or indirectly through providing a significant portion of the funding. That should be the right and responsibility of the state and local governments.

        Unfortunately, past experience has shown that the effectiveness of efforts to control and reduce violence is temporary and fleeting. Reducing violence is like squeezing a balloon half filled with air. If you push it in one place, sooner or later it oozes out somewhere else.

      • realtalkrealdebate says :

        Interesting, yet effective analogy. It’s sad that the analogy is true.

  3. Kamil Zawadzki says :

    As far as concealed-carry, considering that so many of these shootings occur as part of gang wars raging across the city (mainly on the West and South Sides), including crossfire and random drive-by’s, I just don’t see how listing Chicago’s tough gun laws would do much to shift the homicide rate either way.
    I had read that Hadiya was with friends in a park when some guy ran up, shot at her group including injuring another person in their group and killing her, before fleeing. This was completely random and it’s simply not something you see coming.

    Stories of kids just sitting on their porch minding their own business when they’re shot and killed are at this point a dime a dozen – their parents owning a gun would not have prevented such random killing. It would be nice to think that it would, but even if you’re a parent with a gun in your house, you hear a shot and see your kid on your steps bleeding out. You’re not going to try to find and shoot the assailant – you’re going to try and stop the bleeding, scream for help and/or with one hand dial 9-1-1.

    It’s nice to think that lifting current regulations would make gangbangers think twice before shooting. But that’s unlikely.

    And it doesn’t help that as part of budget cuts, many police districts in Chicago were consolidated and staff cut, so there’s even less resources to try and tackle the problem of the as many as 600 rival gangs roaming the streets (there used to be less, but they’ve splintered and fight).

  4. Kamil Zawadzki says :

    Put simply, for a ‘good guy with a gun’ to be able to use his piece to prevent a murder, he has to be able to see it coming. With gang violence like these random shootings, there is no such luxury – it’s not a clear-cut one-on-one standoff or a fair fight. So in rough areas of the West and South Sides, concealed-carry would still serve only as a fleeting sense of security.

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