Here we are at the start of another Black History Month and we are still trying to figure out why black people are killing one another, often over nothing.
The homicide figures for January were staggering: 51 murders and 292 gunshot victims.
“It is totally unacceptable the violence that we saw, but we do know that the majority of the violence that we saw was gang related or had a gang component to it,” interim Chicago Police Supt. John Escalante said Monday during a news conference at police headquarters.
”Often it was retaliatory violence and unfortunately quite a few of our murders were domestic related,” he said.
Most of the victims were young people of color.
Escalante admitted not knowing why this is happening.
“We can’t put our finger on it. We talk about it every day, multiple times a day. Right now we honestly don’t have one answer or two answers that we can point a finger at and say this is what’s causing it,” he said.
Warm winter days?
Apparently even on the coldest days, armed men braved the frigid temperatures to stalk and kill their prey.
I don’t doubt that the Chicago Police Department’s pact with the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois to monitor police stops in greater detail may have persuaded some lazy police officers to pass up a stop or two.
But I’m not buying into the theory that a lot of police officers are holding back and letting black people kill each other.
If that’s the case, it’s time to seriously consider bringing in the National Guard to patrol neighborhoods caught in the grip of gangs.
No. I believe the majority of police officers want to get the illegal guns out of the hands of criminals just as much as residents do.
After all, these officers are on the front lines of the mayhem.
The so-called “ACLU Effect” theory, however, does show why it is important to speed up the process for punishing bad cops.
If we don’t fix this policy problem — and soon — we risk being perceived as persecuting the entire department.
It is also up to respected community stakeholders to take the lead in showing public appreciation for the good cops.
After all, no one wants to be kicked around by the very people he or she is trying to protect.
When asked about the appalling spike in shootings, Escalante didn’t point to the eruption of a gang war or expansion of the narcotics trade.
“There are some historic conflicts, but … [gangs] taunt each other before shootings, they taunt each other after shootings. We know that fuels a lot of the violence, and when we conduct investigations of some of the murders it just comes down to personal disputes for petty reasons. For whatever reasons they just feel they answer with a gun,” he said.
With all due respect to the ACLU, my civil rights aren’t going to matter if I’m stretched out in a pool of blood because a misguided youth is free to walk the streets toting an illegal gun.
Finally, our civic leaders are entirely too silent about the alarming number of homicides that have happened since 2016 began.
Make some noise.
Spike Lee’s controversial movie, “Chi-Raq,” said it best: “THIS IS A STATE OF EMERGENCY.”