Kadner: Chicago violence mystifies a nation

SHARE Kadner: Chicago violence mystifies a nation

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Follow @csteditorialsI’m surprised the city hasn’t formed a blue ribbon commission to study why it leads the nation in homicides.

That’s the sort of thing that usually happens after people march in the streets, “60 Minutes” does a segment saying your city is in crisis, doctors publish research paper claiming a plague has descended, and Donald Trump urges the mayor to ask for federal assistance to stop the bloodshed.


I know some people are going to say it’s not necessary to form a panel to study the issue. Everyone knows the source of the problem. For 30 years or more the public school system has been underfunded and mismanaged, producing thousands of illiterate students.

Well, that’s called anecdotal evidence.

Anecdotal evidence is the stuff you see all around and seems self-evident. It carries no weight among the people who run things. That’s why you need an official report to conclude that a lack of education likely played no role in the violence that plagues the city today, justifying child neglect that borders on criminal.

Also, the blue ribbon panel could conclude that housing discrimination, redlining, mortgage fraud and home foreclosures had no impact on city neighborhoods. The cesspool once called public housing was such a blight it had to be torn down, but that was years ago so how can it be said to have made people shooting mad.

What’s needed is a panel composed of some of the richest, best educated and politically connected people in Chicago to seriously explore just what has happened here because it is a mystery that baffles the entire nation.

If anyone was willing to listen, there are people who would claim a lack of parenting is at fault for all the violence. If only Mom and Dad would gather the kids around the kitchen table for dinner, make sure they did their homework every night and spanked them if they unloaded their Glock on a 4-year-old, Chicago’s streets would be safer.

Other folks could testify about the negative impact of illegal drugs, high unemployment rates, federal welfare programs, and Obamacare.

But such speculation is not supported by serious academic research, polling data, Harvard studies, in-depth interviews with prison inmates and public hearings where civic and religious leaders would be allowed to testify.

A blue ribbon panel’s investigation would not only produce that sort of public record, but create an opportunity for Chicago residents to denounce the political corruption that not only squandered hundreds of millions of tax dollars over the years, but created a culture where the priority of elected leaders is on enriching themselves, their families and their friends rather than solving problems.

I am sure that after careful study and analysis the blue ribbon panel would determine such behavior has little to do with lawlessness in the streets. People with guns rarely think about the actions of mayors and aldermen before shooting bullets into a passing car.

If there were public hearings, community leaders could explain that racial profiling by police officers, beatings to obtain false confessions, the shooting of innocent civilians and corruption within the ranks of law enforcement have all resulted in an increase in violent crime.

Police union officials could explain that their members are unable to cope because cuts have reduced manpower by more than 1,000 officers, media scrutiny is biased, beat officers lives are at risk and that all justifies making fewer arrests because times are tough.

Finally, there could be complaints about the availability of guns because there’s always some liberal who blames them when people get shot.

The violence in Chicago is mystifying. A chronic disease? Decades of debauchery, depravity, abuse and neglect have been known to result in death.

Email: philkadner@gmail.com

Send letters to: letters@suntimes.com.

Tweets by @csteditorials

The Latest
Eight games in, the Sky’s 97.3 defensive rating is fourth in the league. Their offensive rating (98.3) is eighth, but in six clutch games this season, it improves to second (123.9) behind the Aces.
Part of the Austin artist’s mission to be covered “neck to toe” in body art, Roberts, 25, had his hands tattooed, with a snake that seems to slither from one hand to the other.
The L car versions of “Transformers” characters Optimus Prime and Megatron were created by the graffiti artist Emte as part of a hip hop-themed art contest last weekend.
Second City alum (and critic) Dewayne Perkins co-writes and co-stars in comedy film about why the Black characters always die first.
The world-renowned conductor, who is stepping down from his post with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra later this month, plans to return to the podium at Symphony Center, but less frequently and without the demands of being the orchestra’s music director.