Why Are There So Many Murders in Chicago?

bigstock-Chicago-Skyline-At-Sunset-1550667.jpg

After over 500 murders in Chicago in 2012, the Windy City’s violence epidemic continues – 2013 saw the deadliest January in over a decade – and continues to make national news.  The New York Times, for example, ran a recent piece noting how Chicago’s strict gun laws can’t stem the tide of violence.

The NYT piece predictably spurred much debate over gun policy, but that distracts from the real question: why exactly does Chicago have so many murders?  Chicago had 512 murders in 2012. New York City – with three times Chicago’s population – had only 418 murders, the lowest since record keeping began in the 1960s.  Los Angeles, with over a million more people than Chicago, had only 298 murders.  These other cities can’t be accused of lax gun laws or somehow being immune to guns being brought in illegally from more lenient jurisdictions. So what’s different about Chicago?

It’s impossible to say for certain what is causing Chicago’s unique murder problem, but a few possibilities suggest themselves.

  1. The number of police officers.  Depending on the report, Chicago’s police department is about 1,000 officers short of authorized strength and is facing a large number of looming retirements while few new recruits are brought in due to budget constraints. This clearly has had an impact. However, NYPD has also seen a decline in the number of officers without this effect.
  1. Police tactics. New York has made headlines with controversial, but apparently effective, tactics like the so-called “stop and frisk” policy.  The city hasn’t hesitated to defend these, even in the face of enormous negative press and lawsuits. Los Angeles has made huge strides in moving past its Detective Mark Furhman era reputation to build bridges to minority communities while Chicago has spent years and millions of dollars ignoring and defending officers who used torture to extract confessions. New York and Los Angeles also have more experience with statistically driven policing than Chicago.
  1. Politically controlled policing.  Mayor Daley hired Jody Weis from the FBI as police superintendent, but neutered his ability to run the department by assigning a political operative as Weis’ chief of staff.  Similarly, Rahm Emanuel, a fan of centralized control, has been heavily involved in driving major decisions like disbanding the anti-gang strike forces. It’s not clear whether police decisions have been driven by purely professional crime fighting concerns or, as in likely given the city’s culture, political considerations.
  1. William Bratton. Both New York and Los Angeles saw the start of their major successes against crime under the leadership of William Bratton. Los Angeles in particular was extremely smart to go hire him after his success in New York. While other cities have experienced murder declines, often with similar strategies, they are not places of the same scale, demographic diversity and political complexity of New York and LA. Perhaps Chicago should have spent whatever it took to get Bratton as police superintendent, though whether Bratton would have been willing to come into a place with such a history of political meddling with the police is uncertain.
  1. Gang fragmentation. Local and federal officials had great success taking out the leadership of many of the city’s gangs. The result has been significant gang fragmentation and a lack of hierarchical control over the rank and file that some have blamed for contributing to the violence epidemic.
  1. Depopulation. Few analyses of Chicago’s murder problem focus on the city’s very poor demographic performance.  New York City and Los Angeles are at all time population highs. Other urban areas like Boston and Washington, DC have started rebounding from population losses. However, Chicago lost a stunning 200,000 people in the 2000s and now has a population rolled back to levels not seen since 1910.  Loss of population in many neighborhoods has had many pernicious effects, including a loss of social capital (notably middle class families), loss of businesses due to loss of customers, and a diminished tax base.  It’s hard to maintain social cohesion in the face of both extreme poverty and population decline.  Similarly, the Chicago region had the worst jobs performance of any large metro in the US during the 2000s, which couldn’t have helped.
  1. Public housing demolitions. Chicago’s high rise projects like Cabrini-Green and the Robert Taylor Homes were yesterday’s national shame as hotbeds of crime and the killing of youths. Chicago was one of the most aggressive demolishers of these, with all of the high rises effectively destroyed. While this perhaps reduced localized crime, it destroyed the only homes many people had ever known, and, like depopulation, destroyed significant social capital and possibly simply redistributed and dispersed crime, as some research in other cities has suggested.  New York’s public housing is hardly problem free, but NYC  took a very different approach, investing in the high-rises rather than destroying them.  It’s hard not to speculate on what this has meant to the trajectory of crime in those two cities.

Whatever the actual answer may be, Chicago’s murder epidemic continues to ravage families and neighborhoods. Given the results in January, it would appear the city is no nearer to getting a handle on it than it was a year ago. A reconsideration of the differences between Chicago and other large cities, and a resulting adjustment in strategy, would seem to be long overdue.

Aaron M. Renn is an independent writer on urban affairs and the founder of Telestrian, a data analysis and mapping tool. He writes at The Urbanophile.

Chicago photo by Bigstock.



















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Central Planning Doesnt Work.

The main reason for Chicago's nominally higher violent crime rate? Its really not much different from any other big city.
....
Central Planning 101. Its what killed the Soviet Union. And now its killing the USA. Beauraucratic Micro-management simply cannot solve problems. Beauraucracy is there only to serve itself....I dont care how much you scream and kick and call me names.....this is an observable condition everywhere you go.
Chicago needs to allow more local control of everything.
1. neighborhood Cops.
2. Neighborhood Schools.
3. Neighborhood involvement.
4. Strict but Fair enforcement of the rules.....
simple as that.

no one mentioned geography

no one mentioned geography here. Chicago lies at the heart of the nation's transportation system and is a major transhipment point for guns/drugs. It also, unlike either LA or NYC, has very large populations of BOTH Blacks and Mexicans, two communities that are widely known to have spawned competing gangs in the drugs business.

And then there is the simple demographics...whites and Asians make up 56% of NYC compared to 46% in Chicago (these two communities have the lowest rate of gun violence, or heck, just violence)

New York is 25% black compared to Chicago's 37%. And remember New York's black population is much more diverse, with larger African and Carribean immigrant populations that are not as affected by the pathologies of native black populations. In Chicago, these sorts of immigrants are nearly non-existent. It should be noted as well that New York's black population is much more dispersed throughout the boroughs compared to Chicago's two giant black ghettos which effectively isolates Chicago blacks in a uniform community/culture (and intertwined gang landscape) much more than blacks in New York.

And then there is the Latin populations, Chicago's coming in at 26% compared to New York's 27% BUT AGAIN, there are qualitative differences between these two populations, similar to the black communities. Chicago's Latin community is OVERWHELMINGLY Mexican and Central American, meaning it is much much more connected to the drug cartels than New York's much more diverse Latin population, which consists of Puerto Ricans, Dominicans as well as wealthier Latin/South Americans.

So my guess is Chicago's murder rate is higher among it's black and latino population, but probably is the same amongst the white and Asian population.

In fact, when you consider both the demographic and geographic challenges facing Chicago, it actually isn't doing so bad when compared to its peer cities. I think if the settlement patterns for blacks and Mexicans in Chicago had not been so monolthic and was more nuanced as is the case in New York, Chicago might not be witnessing the gang warfare we see today.

Houston Would Like To Have a Word With You

Houston's combined black and Latino population is around 55%. Whites and Asians make up another 35% yet how come we aren't the murder capital according to your logic? BTW Houston is RIGHT next to Mexico and we get a large number of Mexican of all social classes coming in and out of the city on a weekly to monthly basis. Houston has a Large Central American population of Salvadorans, Hondurans, and Panamanians.

Possibility 8 -- lead in our water supply

Aaron, I have not seen anyone write about this in the Chicago-crime context, so I wanted to see if you had or were planning to analyze the recent studies suggesting a correlation of eliminating lead in gasoline with falling crime rates nationwide and its implications for Chicago. See Kevin Drum, America's Real Criminal Element: Lead, Mother Jone's, http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/01/lead-crime-link-gasoline. The article is obviously leading to a lot of online political discussion (e.g., the left has always been wrong that it is about poverty and the right has always been wrong that pollution or driving is not a societal issue). What interests me is why Chicago has not seen a more noticeable decline like NYC and LA. Maybe it is one of those other 7 possibilities you mentioned (although NYC has also had politicized policing, that's why you get broken glass; similarly, other cities have seen declines with very different theories), but I have a different thought...

Assuming that lead in blood does increase violence, it would seem to me that it is very possible that Chicago's crime problem may be in part due to our water supply. The Tribune has done a series of articles over the last couple years of high lead counts in our city's tap water. See http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-01-31/health/ct-met-epa-lead-tes..., http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/ct-met-lead-in-water-20110805,0,282.... I have no idea the comparison with other American cities. Nor do I know how Chicago would stack up against other cities in terms of lead paint. I have looked online but not seen anything. But, again assuming the lead theory has some validity, I would not be surprised to find that our pipes in this city are older (especially on the South and West sides where we have both a crime problem and a people leaving problem) and cause more lead exposure and thus more crime.

Thoughts?

Lead

I've heard the urban lead hypothesis floated to explain any number of things, especially poor educational results. I don't know enough to say for sure how much of that is real. Nor do I know what might be different about lead exposure in Chicago versus other cities, but it's an angle to explore for sure.

The One Reason

The single, dominant reason for Chicago's high murder rate is the concentration of very low-class Negros who have undergone a multi-generational cultural decay in a city which since the '60s has been the hotbed of radical Leftism and tolerance of crime committed by minorities and particularly Negros due to the ideological perspective of the Left that any police action to restrain Negro property crimes and violence was per se racist. The Left is strongly racist and believes that Negros are incapable of making a decent living by their own work and in fact are in need of being coddled by the Left as a population of sheep to be shepherded by the enlightened white Leftists who have conveniently ensconced themselves in strictly separated communities from their sheep (e.g., Hyde Park versus the surrounding Negro areas). Under the "helping hands" of the Leftists, the Negros were indoctrinated to believe that they were entitled to goods, services, housing, and other privileges simply because of their raceand not based on work. Work became an abstract concept to them, replaced with a militant entitlement mentality. Coupled with lax police enforcement, black gangs arose and extended the entitlement mentality both within and outside their communities - where theft, extortion, strong arm robbery were viewed as not only acceptable, but in many cases admirable ways of getting what they felt they were owed. Gang-based property crimes, including illegal drug related crimes which occur between gangs and individuals, became the replacement for the traditional work ethic and achievement, which was derided as "acting white" after generations of single-mother welfare children had become indoctrinated by the Left that Negros were entitled by birthright to take whatever they could get by whatever means due to historical racism and the inculcation by the welfare state that Negros were incapable of competing and earning their own way in the world. Gang-based property crimes escalate to violent crimes and the laws of the jungle re-emerge as traditional morality and beliefs about social conformance to "white laws" are eroded. So we wind up with Mogadishu by the Lake.

What disaster the liberal "long marchers" have wrought

As Thomas Sowell points out, it is remarkable how impervious liberals are to actual statistical data, such as the rate of improvement in negro outcomes BEFORE Kennedy and Johnson, versus AFTER. Liberal "help" actually turned around a successful "self help" paradigm, and ushered in the new era of "the long slide backwards". Booker T. Washington would be turning in his grave. So would MLK, in fact.

There is a particular problem with urban ghettoes, in that "white flight" has been accompanied by "upwardly mobile negro flight" as well. The relative proportion of upwardly mobile to immobile people has therefore fallen, eventually anyone who might have been a good role model or source of legitimate inbound flow of money into the community has long since gone. Those who did not - or could not - get out, are trapped.

Actually, whites who lack upward social mobility remain trapped in ghettoes too. The problem is a "social mobility" one rather than a "race" one. But the "flight of the socially mobile" might not have happened if law and order were maintained, family structure kept intact, moral belief systems maintained, and schools standards maintained. What disaster the liberal "long marchers" have wrought!

Racaille needs to learn how to argue; should take some practice

..at a range before spouting off here. Very unhelpful and disrespecting comments.

His first spout ("lazy journalism"), claiming the author had pointed to Illinois gun laws, was the first clue. The author's only mention of gun laws in his piece was "These other cities can’t be accused of lax gun laws or somehow being immune to guns being brought in illegally from more lenient jurisdictions. So what’s different about Chicago?"

I don't see the word 'Illinois' in there. Does anyone else?

More Reasons for Chicago Murders

There is a lurking elephant in the room that people don't want to discuss. But, my intent is to be honest and truthful and not necessarily politically correct.

The problem of Chicago Murders is the destruction of the family and the expansion of the welfare state. One could add in a bad education system but I believe that is more the result of the other two items indicated. Let's face facts, in many cases, the people who commit these crimes are young people in gangs. Where are the fathers of these people?

The causes of this are 50+ years of Left Wing social engineering which has made fatherhood optional. No father; no big deal because a government program is there to pick up the slack. In fact, there are incentives to NOT having the father around. Because of the destruction of the family, roughly 70% (maybe even higher) of inner city children have dysfunctional families where the father is either dead or in jail or just plain missing from the child's life.

The cycle is now repeating itself over and over again. Oftentimes, young people in poor areas have no role model of successful male figures.

Personally, I believe a lot of these problems were started and caused by The Great Society programs of the 1960s. Whether they were well intentioned or not, the results have been very bad. There are some people who are 4th and 5th generation of welfare recipients who don't have any job skills.

Critics of my argument will say "Los Angeles and New York have the same problems but have less murders". Sure, that's true, but they sure have a lot more crime that they should have. And, quite frankly, the previous mayor and the current mayor have politicized the police department (as Aaron mentions in the article quite nicely) and have made it a difficult job at best.

How to fix these problems is another issue. But the first step is the diagnose the problem and accurately figure out why the problem exists. But until we address the issue of the destruction of the family, we are kidding ourselves at ever having a handle of the problem.

Exactly so

I was born in Chicago (Maywood to be exact) in 1960 and I can tell you from personal observation, that your thesis is exactly correct. The Negro family in the '60s was strong and children were 8taught pride and discipline - a different flavor than Poles, Germans, and Irish, but still a work ethic, a code of behavior enforced by elder males, and self-pride and a desire to compete - if principally as means of developing self-worth and racial pride. Once AFDC (now TANF) came along, the incentives were for families to be single-mother to maximize income and benefits so the father's income was not included in the base calculation of aid eligibility. I saw this in Maywood as Negro families moved in and soon had the fathers move out so social workers would score the household as fatherless and not count the paternal income into the base household income number. Once the father was gone, the family - over generations - descended into a pattern where work was only an abstract concept and dependency and entitlement/permanent victimhood mentality took over. Further, without a working,prideful father as a role model and teacher/enforcer of social codes, the stigma of jail, criminality, and violence was lost. This has culminated in the utter destruction of the Negro social fabric and the Left continues to deny this fact without any rational rebuttal. Instead they look for superficial things like "Seven Reasons". The Left is constitutionally incapable of an honest critical analysis of the results of their ideology, because they cannot abide that their ideology is wrong. The Left defended the USSR right up until the collapse. The Left is unwilling to apply rational and objective analysis to the effects of their ideology, and this is further manifest in the speech repression (and media repression in Leftist regimes) that denies access to those who would force a debate or critical review upon the recalcitrant Left.

Why are there so many violent crimes in America?

Please note that Chicago isn't even in the top 25.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/the-25-most-dangerous-cities-in-america.ht...

"The New York Times, for example, ran a recent piece noting how Chicago’s strict gun laws can’t stem the tide of violence."

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/01/29/us/where-50000-guns-in-chi...

When you have neighboring crazies like Indiana, Chicago cannot be an island.

Furthermore, the state of Illinois DOES NOT have strict gun laws. Do your research. This is nothing more than lazy journalism.

On a side note, every other post in Urbanphile is about Chicago. You might need to explore the rest of the US for a better understanding and the ability to compare and contrast without regurgitating decades old trope.

You sound like you are from

You sound like you are from Gerry McCarthy's press office.

We are talking murders here, not necessarily "violent crimes" generically. As research I cited a while back indicates, murders have a particularly negative effect and are heavily correlated with population loss. (Did population loss cause the murders or murders cause the population loss? The relationship deserves more study).

What's more, no one denies that there are other cities with worse crime rates. But do you really want to claim that Chicago's peer group is Flint, Detroit, and St. Louis? We're talking a place that constantly brags about being a "global city" and wants to be seen as a top 10 global metropolis. If that's the case, the right peer group is indeed places like LA and New York.

If you really think that Chicago should be judged versus other Midwest rust belt cities, however, just say so.

Also, Illinois is the only state in America that totally bans concealed carry, so it's tough to argue gun laws are lax. To even touch guns or ammo in a gun store, you need a state issues Firearms Owner ID Card. Chicago and its suburbs have basically America's strictest gun laws.

Blaming neighboring state guns laws is the refuge of the incompetent.

Your comment seems to display an inherent bias against Chicago

Mr. Renn, your comment seems to display an inherent bias against Chicago.

How else can one explain this statement: " We're talking a place that constantly brags about being a "global city" and wants to be seen as a top 10 global metropolis."

I haven't heard anyone officially connected to the City of Chicago "constantly bragging" about Chicago being a global city.

However, I must now tell you that over the last three years or so I have see about a half dozen surveys ranking the world's cities. Each survey has used somewhat different criteria and metrics and in just about all of them Chicago has been ranked somewhere among the top ten cities of the world.

Your comment gives the impression that you somehow resent the fact that these surveys have ranked Chicago among the top ten cities of the world.

"We're talking a place that

"We're talking a place that constantly brags about being a "global city" and wants to be seen as a top 10 global metropolis. If that's the case, the right peer group is indeed places like LA and New York."

That because it is, and just like NYC and Los Angeles, murder rates ebb and flow. Please review past murder rates in both cities.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2010/03/recent-killings-has-marred...

"Also, Illinois is the only state in America that totally bans concealed carry, so it's tough to argue gun laws are lax. To even touch guns or ammo in a gun store, you need a state issues Firearms Owner ID Card. Chicago and its suburbs have basically America's strictest gun laws."

90% of all guns associated with crime are illegal and originate from states with lax gun laws. Furthermore, if you want to see strict gun laws please review New York state as they seem to be working there.

"Blaming neighboring state guns laws is the refuge of the incompetent."

Only because it doesn't fit your narrative. You are sounding more like a Tea Party member by the day.

Liberal logic

".....90% of all guns associated with crime are illegal and originate from states with lax gun laws....."

AH, so you are claiming that if no States at all had "lax gun laws", there would be no gun crime, because somehow the USA's international borders could be trusted to be imporous to guns, even if they are notoriously porous to everything else right now, including the illegal immigrants who are a pet constituency of "liberals".

RIIIIGHT. Logic and credibility are not the liberals strong points.

Not to mention the large number of guns already in the USA.

That's right...

"The classic NRA response. We already have too many guns. There isn't any way to control it other than have MORE guns"

Oh and btw, let me throw in illegal immigration for good measure.

Absolutely creepy.

That was my whole point: New

That was my whole point: New York and Chicago have broadly comparable gun laws and flows of illegal weapons, hence gun laws can't be the answer in Chicago.

No they do not....

In New York if you are caught with an illegal firearm it's a 3 year mandatory sentence. In Chicago, it's 6 months, but more likely 2 months.

I do wish you were more through in your research.

You are beginning to sound like you are from the local chapter of the NRA.

Ah, so tougher sentences DO work?

Ah, so tougher sentences DO work?

Presumably tougher sentences for robbery, arson, vandalism, assault, rape, murder etc might work too?

Typical liberal; as Margaret Thatcher said, "the facts of life are conservative", but liberals like to pick and choose when they will acknowledge or apply any one particular reality.

When I point out that liberals like porous borders for illegal immigrants yet deny that the same porous borders might also be helpful for gun-runners, all you can do is call me "creepy".

Score 3 nil to Aaron Renn so far

Exactly, there are obvious differences in OTHER law and order policies between NY and Chicago that have to be the explanation.

It's a values issue

Politics vs Values
I agree. And perhaps, policy's role, or the route politicians prefer to take, may be less relevant then people think. People tend to think that politics and the political environment determine morality, but very often, politics is just the final expression of a communities morality, not the mere cause of it. And granted, even then, it is not fully a clear picture because if the bad can do more bad then the good can do good, then it matters not the numbers of decent people who live there, if the power of the bad to inject a climate of fear and violence is even greater. And if that understanding is given greater weight, then I think people will care less about numbers of cops on the streets, and care more what the police and the city are doing to tackle the culture that very often produces these things.

Hipsters Don't Kill
There is no rise in hipster driveby's, if they exist at all. And almost all poor hipsters - college students who are barely getting by, but love city life too much to go back home to their parents or move to somewhere more affordable - do not kill people. Their values are humanistic, they believe in the greater potentials of humanity, and thus, do not want to rob anyone else of living out a meaningful life, or reaching their greatest potential. As I've said before, you can dump all the firearms in the US in Scandinavia, and what you will have is them, taking something antithetical to their to their values, and repurposing it for something more moral, like melting them down to make Ikea furniture with, building sustainable housing out of, or making progressive art installations from. You won't see an immense rise in gun violence. And it isn't the state's policies against the sale and distribution of arms that bar scandinavians from being animals, and immorally taking the life of others. It's a values issue.

It is everyone's problem.
When I observe Gulliani and Bloomberg's approach, it seems it was far more interested in destroying the culture that breeds instability, and diminishes the vital social trust, not just in government, but in your neighbors and those in the greater city at large. For so long, many of the helpless residents felt, and rightly so, that these are "OUR" problems, because of city hall and the society at large's reaction to the problems of inner city poverty. But what Gulliani and Bloomberg did was give a gesture that it is everyone's problem if those within these areas do not have greater chances of upward mobility, increased health, more education, and without fear of being robbed, raped, or murdered. This is a lesson that California has yet to learn with regards to the large hispanic population it holds.

It takes a village, not just a government acting in the name of the collective, to address these issues. And that is very difficult to do without being branded as a racist, a xenophobe, a bigot, or some other epithet. But people affect each other more then institutions acting on behalf of a group or society ever could, and if people understood the social dynamics of a society, and gave greater weight to the importance of the web of relationships that constructs a society, you will see many of the reinforcing mechanisms that trap people in generations of poverty diminish. Gentrification helps, so does evangelizing humanistic values that don't offend religious ones, getting to the youth early on, questioning the iconography in vogue that reinforces many of the attitudes that creates many of these problems in the first place, and a whole host of other things. But the most important thing of all may be every citizen in a society, in some meaningful way, sharing publicly their disapproval. And not merely excusing it as a material or political failure, because for every example where one cites material inequality and the political climate as the source of these social ills, there are a great number of similar societies and cities that are the exception.

Daniel Greenfield: Gun Problem or Gang Problem?

"America Doesn’t Have a Gun Problem, It Has a Gang Problem"

By Daniel Greenfield

http://frontpagemag.com/2012/dgreenfield/america-doesnt-have-a-gun-probl...

"Chicago’s murder rate has hit that magic 500 number. Baltimore’s murder rate has passed 200. In Philly, it’s up to 324, the highest since 2007. In Detroit, it’s approaching 400, another record. In New Orleans, it’s almost at 200. New York City is down to 414 from 508. In Los Angeles, it’s over 500. In St. Louis it’s 113 and 130 in Oakland. It’s 121 in Memphis and 76 in Birmingham.

Washington, D.C., home of the boys and girls who can solve it all, is nearing its own big 100.

Those 12 cities alone account for nearly 3,200 dead and nearly a quarter of all murders in the United States. And we haven’t even visited sunny Atlanta or chilly Cleveland.

These cities are the heartland of America’s real gun culture. It isn’t the bitter gun-and-bible clingers in McCain and Romney territory who are racking up a more horrifying annual kill rate than Al Qaeda; it’s Obama’s own voting base......

".....Chicago’s murder rate of 15.65 per 100,000 people looks nothing like the American 4.2 rate, the Midwestern 4.5 or the Illinois’ 5.6 rates, but it does look like the murder rates in failed countries like Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe. To achieve Chicago’s murder rate, African countries usually have to experience a bloody genocidal civil war or decades of tyranny.

But Chicago isn’t even all that unique. Or the worst case scenario. That would be New Orleans which at an incredible 72.8 murder rate is ten times higher than the national average. If New Orleans were a country, it would have the 2nd highest murder rate in the world, beating out El Salvador.

Louisiana went red for Romney 58 to 40, but Orleans Parish went blue for Obama 80 to 17.

St. Louis has a murder rate just a little lower than Belize. Baltimore has a worse murder rate than South Africa and Detroit has a worse murder rate than Colombia. Obama won both St. Louis and Baltimore by comfortable margins. He won Detroit’s Wayne County 73 to 26.

Homicide rates like these show that something is broken, but it isn’t broken among the Romney voters rushing to stock up on assault rifles every time Obama begins threatening their right to buy them; it’s broken among Obama’s base.

Any serious conversation about gun violence and gun culture has to begin at home; in Chicago, in Baltimore, in New York City, in Los Angeles and in Washington, D.C.

Voting for Obama does not make people innately homicidal. Just look at Seattle which is agonizing over its 26 murders. That’s about the same number of murders as East St. Louis which has only 27,000 people to Seattle’s 620,000.

So what is happening in Chicago to drive it to the gates of hell ahead of Zimbabwe and Rwanda?

A breakdown of the Chicago killing fields shows that 83% of those murdered in Chicago last year had criminal records. In Philly, it’s 75%. In Milwaukee it’s 77% percent. In New Orleans, it’s 64%. In Baltimore, it’s 91%. Many were felons who had served time. And as many as 80% of the homicides were gang related.

Chicago’s problem isn’t guns; it’s gangs. Gun control efforts in Chicago or any other major city are doomed because gangs represent organized crime networks which stretch down to Mexico, and trying to cut off their gun supply will be as effective as trying to cut off their drug supply.

America’s murder rate isn’t the work of the suburban and rural homeowners who shop for guns at sporting goods stores and at gun shows, and whom news shows profile after every shooting, but by the gangs embedded in the urban areas controlled by the Democratic machine. The gangs who drive up America’s murder rate look nothing like the occasional mentally ill suburban white kid who goes off his medication and decides to shoot up a school. Lanza, like most serial killers, is a media aberration, not the norm.

National murder statistics show that blacks are far more likely to be killers than whites and they are also far more likely to be killed. The single largest cause of homicides is the argument. 4th on the list is juvenile gang activity with 676 murders, which combined with various flavors of gangland killings takes us nearly to the 1,000 mark. America has more gangland murders than Sierra Leone, Eritrea and Puerto Rico have murders.

Our national murder rate is not some incomprehensible mystery that can only be attributed to the inanimate tools, the steel, brass and wood that do the work. It is largely the work of adult males from age 18 to 39 with criminal records killing other males of that same age and criminal past.

If this were going on in Rwanda, El Salvador or Sierra Leone, we would have no trouble knowing what to make of it, and silly pearl-clutching nonsense about gun control would never even come up. But this is Chicago, it’s Baltimore, it’s Philly and NOLA; and so we refuse to see that our major cities are in the same boat as some of the worst trouble spots in the world.

Lanza and Newtown are comforting aberrations. They allow us to take refuge in the fantasy that homicides in America are the work of the occasional serial killer practicing his dark art in one of those perfect small towns that always show up in murder mysteries or Stephen King novels. They fool us into thinking that there is something American about our murder rate that can be traced to hunting season, patriotism and bad mothers.

But go to Chicago or Baltimore. Go where the killings really happen and the illusion comes apart.

There is a war going on in America between gangs of young men who bear an uncanny resemblance to their counterparts in Sierra Leone or El Salvador. They live like them, they fight for control of the streets like them and they kill like them.

America’s horrific murder rate is a result of the transformation of major American cities into Sierra Leone, Somalia, Rwanda and El Salvador. Our murder rate now largely consists of criminals killing criminals.

As David Kennedy, the head of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control, put it, “The majority of homicide victims have extensive criminal histories. This is simply the way that the world of criminal homicide works. It’s a fact.”

America is, on a county by county basis, not a violent country, just as it, on a county by county basis, did not vote for Obama. It is being dragged down by broken cities full of broken families whose mayors would like to trash the Bill of Rights for the entire country in the vain hope that national gun control will save their cities, even though gun control is likely to be as much help to Chicago or New Orleans as the War on Drugs.

Obama’s pretense that there needs to be a national conversation about rural American gun owners is a dishonest and cynical ploy that distracts attention from the real problem that he and politicians like him have sat on for generations.

We do not need to have a conversation about the NRA. We need to have a conversation about Chicago."

When in gangland, take protective measures

Under these conditions, it is no wonder that many Americans feel quite strongly that they should be allowed to own guns for their own protection.

http://townhall.com/columnists/johnhawkins/2013/02/02/10-stories-that-pr...

And this "comment" on the thread linked above, is interesting; one never sees this sort of info in the "mainstream" media:

"......Every month in American Rifleman magazine, there is a whole page with 6-10 similar stories taken from newspapers all over the country. It's my favorite part of the magazine. So, say, 6 per month times 12 months per year times 10 years so far equals 720 published accounts of people defending themselves with guns from criminals......"

Heather MacDonald: Courts versus Cops

"Courts v. Cops"

By Heather MacDonald

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142412788732403950457825996038565995...

Here is an excerpt from the last 2 paragraphs:

"......No police department in the country has come close to achieving what the NYPD has. New York's crime drop has been twice as deep and has lasted twice as long as the national average since the early 1990s. Today, 10,000 minority males are alive who would have been killed by now had New York's homicide rate remained at its early-1990s levels. If crime starts climbing again because New York officers can no longer make proactive stops, the increase will — for a while, at least — be just an abstraction for the wealthy attorneys at Shearman & Sterling (and for those at Covington & Burling and Paul, Weiss, who are providing pro bono assistance in the other two stop suits). For people without private doormen and Hamptons retreats, however, any rise in shootings and robberies will be immediate and quite real.

Yes, being stopped and questioned when innocent of wrongdoing can be humiliating and infuriating, though the stop is legal. The NYPD must constantly reinforce its officers' duty to treat the people they stop with respect. But until an equally effective alternative to proactive policing is found — and to date, none has been — residents of high-crime neighborhoods face a blunt choice between an elevated risk of getting stopped and an elevated risk of getting shot......"

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