The War Everyone is Ignoring in Chicago
10 months ago
Chicago, Illinois' homicide rate is worst than Kabul's.
On a hurried and hectic day a couple of weeks ago when stories about SCOTUS decisions and contempt votes were all the talk, there was a story that went widely unnoticed. It was the story of a seven-year-old girl named Heaven Sutton who was killed in the streets of Chicago as an innocent bystander caught in the crossfire of a gang war. She was selling candy and drinks on the street when gunfire broke out. As she tried to flee to her home, she was struck in the back by a stray bullet.
Her death marked the 253rd murder in the city in a war being waged, often capturing the lives of the innocent. And yet, there was little mention of it.
As I ride the metro to work daily, I like to read the paper so that I can get caught up on the top stories. In the international section, there is most certainly going to be a new story about what is happening in Syria. The violence in that far off country holds families hostage in their own homes as they are fearful of what will happen when they walk the streets. There is a war going on outside their doors – a war over principles and territory. And the sad reality is it’s not all that different from what happens in Chicago.
Since 2011, murder in Chicago is up 39%. And a great deal of it is being blamed on gangs, who, much like those in Syria are fighting for control. On a weekend back in June when nearly 80 people were killed in Homs, Syria, Chicago saw 53 people killed or injured through vicious acts of violence. While the death toll in Chicago is but an infinitesimal fraction of that in Syria, the number of lives claimed in the city is more than the death toll of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Yet we hear little of the lives lost and collateral damage of gang warfare.
[ALSO READ: Chicago Homicides More Than Kabul]
What is sad is that even as Chicago has a high murder rate, the death tolls in other cities are equally as troubling. Philadelphia kicked off this year with a surge of violence that surpassed all other cities giving it the title of worst murder rate in the earlier part of 2012. The violence has since tapered, but the city is still surpassing the number of murders than this point in both of the last two years. New Orleans had the highest murder rate in 2011, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, averaging about 50 murders for every 100,000 residents. But I’m sure most of you don’t know this because no one is talking about it.