90bce7b9-2225-4d6f-af9c-3529307c0264_a

Words like “carnage,” “urban war zone,” and the “most violent U.S. city” are, unfortunately, common place alluding to Chicago these days. The Windy City, like virtually all big cities in the U.S., has a raw underbelly of crime-ridden areas. These areas are laden with joblessness and lawlessness, which creates a breeding ground for “alternative sources of income” and crime.

Gangs and the criminal element flourish in communities where unemployment or underemployment continues to prevail. Kids, teens, and adults make poor decisions which lead to fatal consequences; intended or not.

During a meeting on Wednesday to kick-off African-American History Month, President Trump once again made reference about the continuing violence in Chicago. The President, acknowledging that although Chicago seems to be doing the right thing to fight crime, said they still don’t have a solution to gain a grasp on the situation. He reiterated that the possibility for the Federal Government to step in still exists. Referring to solving the issue with federal assistance, President Trump said, “We’re going to have to do something…What’s happening in Chicago should not be happening in this country.”

Darrell Scott – a Pastor from Cleveland, Ohio, and a Trump supporter – attended today’s meeting. Scott mentioned he was talking with Chicago gang members and was trying to negotiate a meeting with them to curb the violence by providing them with social programs. The President supported Scott’s efforts saying, “It’s a great idea.

There seems to be a true desire within the administration to eliminate violent crime from rising in Chicago; and by all appearances, a “whatever it takes” attitude seems to be the consensus within all levels of government.

And if the violent crime statistics for January are any indication of what is in store for 2017, violence will be on the uptick for Chicago during this coming year.

chicago police

The Chicago districts of Englewood, Harrison, and Austin account for approximately half of all murders. These communities need more attention, and action is required immediately. Chicago Police Departments’s Superintendent, Eddie Johnson, announced the launching of intelligence centers in both Harrison and Englewood. They will beta-test new technologies that will hopefully increase officer response time to calls regarding “shots fired.” Utilizing smartphone technology, each officer will be equipped to receive data that will allow them to improve how quickly they can identify and arrive at crime scene locations.

Hopefully, these new technological advancements will assist in decreasing violent crimes. If nothing else, it begins the process of trying to identify more robust solutions that will hopefully remedy this problem facing one of the most vivacious and exuberant cities in America. I am cautiously optimistic.

Yes, in a perfect world crimes wouldn’t occur, but this is the real world. And in the real world people make their own choices, and are responsible for those choices; and some people make the choice of a lifestyle of crime. I say this because this gets to the root of the issue Chicago and other cities currently face. Targeting solutions that can inspire change in criminal behavior is tantamount to effective change. The technology of reducing officer response time seems to be one solution that is headed in the right direction.

It should go without saying that those who do commit violent crimes against humanity need to accept the repercussions of their actions through consequences.

However, it seems, Congressman Luis Gutierrez has implied that the cause of this violence stems from the NRA. He has remarked that the NRA, who has done nothing more than ensure the Second Amendment is upheld, has caused all the “carnage” by fighting against gun control. This is the same gun control that is constitutionally in violation of the rights of every law-abiding citizen.

Unfortunately, rhetoric such as this implies that criminals abide by the laws of the land; and by definition, they don’t. The law-abiding deserve to protect themselves against this criminal element.

As a firearms instructor, all the training I received has taught me never to use the word weapon when referring to a firearm. To me a firearm is a gun, a revolver, a pistol, a rifle, or shotgun. A weapon is used during an act of violence to intentionally – with malice, forethought, or sometimes negligence –  inflict great bodily harm or death. A knife, a rope, hands, broken glass, a brick, or a vehicle can be used as a weapon, not just guns.

Words such as those used by Congressman Gutierrez mislead people, even when the facts are blatantly obvious. A gun does not point itself or pull its own trigger. What Chicago is facing is deplorable; and I, like all Americans, hope resolution comes quick. But gun control is not the answer. Identifying the human dilemmas that cause violent behavior and creating solutions to address these problems is where the solution exists.

Criminal behavior is the problem – not the tools they use in which to carry out their unlawful acts.