Recently President Trump sent out a tweet about Chicago’s violence. In the tweet, he said, “If Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible ‘carnage’ going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016), I will send in the Feds!”
Of course, that tweet immediately got people to respond. Even though the majority of people don’t have a clue as to what Trump meant by “Feds,” social media erupted. There were outcries against martial law, memes and facts and figures that were posted as a response. One response, posted by Brad Heath, the investigative reporter at USA Today, showed that Chicago wasn’t in the top 10 cities in murder rate.
What initially galled me about that post is that if you gave the average person a blank map of the United States and told them to place a star where those cities are, the majority of people who were nodding their heads in agreement with Brad Heath, couldn’t properly find those locations on a map if their life depended on it. Like the one listed directly before Chicago: Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan. That particular city had 28 murders out of a total population of 240,178. Even I had to Google to learn the state that city was in as I didn’t have a clue. If we acknowledge that Chicago also had over 4,000 shootings that didn’t result in deaths, our murder rate would fluctuate even if the killings stop, simply because someone succumbed to their injuries from a gunshot wound in 2016.
But what I found most disturbing is that as the third largest city in the country, we should be ashamed and insulted that our murder rate is even at a discussion level. As I stared at the figures for Chicago (317 murders out of a population of 2,728,695), I wondered which of the mothers of those 317 dead persons would take comfort in knowing that there were 10 other cities where the murder rate was greater?
Now I understand that Trump saying he’d send in the “Feds” is a political move designed to go after the city that sent Barack Obama to the White House. At the same time, we must look into actions that are bigger than simply placing a poster in a window asking people to “Put down the guns.” I would love to have a weekend followed by a week followed by a month followed by a year of peace. But the reality is that we have young people playing violent video games at home, and then they go out and practice the same carnage those games encouraged.
We have a television media that sends out messages that things are OK because the police are “investigating” when they should be in hot pursuit of the suspects. We have elected officials saying little and doing even less. We have religious institutions that tiptoe around the issue instead of being fire and brimstone on it. And we have the enablers who shelter, feed and otherwise encourage the actions of their wayward family members because it has become politically unpopular to chastise the criminals about their criminal ways.
I want to cry out, “Lord help us!” but my God says only we can solve the problem.
The question is: When and how will we do it?