When people talk about their 2020 Bingo cards, the idea of “violence in Chicago” doesn’t really make the card most of the time. While we’re talking about rampaging mutant squirrels or other bizarre occurrences–are murder hornets still a thing?–the idea of violence in Chicago is kind of like that free square in the middle of the card. We all know that’s going to happen.
However, it appears that Chi-Town is bracing for an even more violent summer than what we’re used to.
A spate of shootings over the past several days has law enforcement on edge, with some warning that a turbulent brew of a pandemic, protests against racism, historic surges in gun sales and a rancorous election year could make it an especially deadly summer.
Although mass shootings — often defined as four or more killed, excluding the shooter — are down sharply this year, other non-suicidal gun deaths are on pace to exceed last year, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
That increase came before the start of summer, when there is traditionally a spike during as people venture outside more, and before Independence Day, which historically has been one of the deadliest days each year.
The spike may have many causes, gun experts say, including an American public increasingly stressed by the coronavirus pandemic, which has roiled the economy and kept them at home, deep divisions over racial justice and policing, and the political divides of a presidential election year.
“There’s something going on at the moment, these underlying tensions,” said James Densley, professor of law enforcement and criminal justice at Metropolitan State University. “Everyone’s been cooped up for so long with the pandemic, and then we had this sort of explosion of anger and grief after George Floyd’s killing.”
And, well, let’s be honest. The thugs on the ground in Chicago don’t need these over-arching socio-economic reasons to kill one another. They shoot each other over turf and beef. A lot of that doesn’t have anything to do with COVID-19 or police brutality, except for maybe taking advantage of those to get away with killing people.
However, Summer does tend to represent a time when violence spikes, especially in a place like Chicago. For some reason, the heat makes people more violent and I guess the Windy City doesn’t have enough air conditioning as it is. It’s going to get much, much worse there.
Of course, that uptick in violence will be used by some to justify more gun control. Nevermind that Illinois is one of the most gun controlled states in the nation. They have every law talked about on the national stage and guess what? None of that does a damn thing. Criminals keep on getting guns in spite of it.
You’d think at some point, someone would look at all of these laws in places like Illinois and recognize that maybe, just maybe, those laws aren’t doing anything and so they should consider another approach. They won’t, though, because on some level, it’s not about making people safer. It’s about making people compliant.