For those of you celebrating the Fourth of July in Chicago this year, those weren’t fireworks you heard – they were gunshots.
The Fourth of July weekend was a bloody one in Chicago, or Chiraq as it is *affectionately* referred to. In total, at least 82 people were shot, 14 of them fatally, during the holiday weekend. So much for those strict gun controls…
The Fourth of July fireworks/gunshots kicked off on Thursday afternoon when two women were shot as they sat outside a two-flat within a block of Garfield Park. By Saturday morning the number had shot up to 36 people, including five who were shot by the police. But the most violent stretch of gun violence happened between 2:30 p.m. Sunday and 3:30 a.m. Monday when four people were killed and at least another 26 wounded.
Most victims were in their late teens and 20s, although a 66-year-old woman was grazed in the head as she walked up the steps of her porch on the Far South Side. Many of the long weekend’s shootings occurred on the South Side, clustered in the notoriously gang-ridden neighborhoods of Englewood, Roseland, Gresham and West Pullman. So don’t worry – Reagan and the cats were safe. Although the cats may be suffering from some PTSD from the fireworks…
Ever since Chiraq was named the Murder Capital of America, the Chicago Police Department has been pursuing a wide range of strategies to stem the violence, much of which is gang-related. So far, nothing seems to be working
“Going into a holiday weekend like this, we obviously had a plan— [the] plan included putting hundreds of more officers on the streets at the times that we needed them and in the places we needed them,” said Chicago Police superintendent Garry McCarthy. “What were the results? The results were a lot of shootings and a lot of murders unfortunately.”
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who has made reducing violence a top priority for his administration, was likely equally disappointed in the holiday violence. For now, Emanuel has declined to comment on the weekend shootings – at least until he can find something to blame it on. Illegal gun proliferation? Gang culture? Insufficient police presence? Meh, just blame it on the NRA and move on.