As Memorial Day ushered in the unofficial start of summer, Chicago finds itself grappling with yet another season marred by senseless violence. The city’s streets have once again become a backdrop for tragic incidents, with early reports indicating 34 individuals were shot and eight lives lost over the weekend.
Attempting to address this escalating crisis, Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson has implemented a safety program aimed at curbing violence. Measures include bolstering police presence by canceling days off, increasing the number of peace safety officers to defuse volatile situations, and organizing events and programs to engage the city’s youth.
Acknowledging the need for a collective effort, Mayor Johnson emphasized, “It’s going to take all of us, not just the police, not just city government, to ensure that our communities can live and thrive in peace and safety. However you decide to spend your holiday weekend in Chicago, your safety is my top priority.”
Unfortunately, these efforts seem to have fallen short of their intended impact, as this year’s statistics bear a striking resemblance to the previous Memorial Day weekend. Last year, Chicago experienced its deadliest Memorial Day in five years, with over 50 shootings and nine fatalities. Regrettably, it appears that Mayor Johnson’s policies have not succeeded in deterring criminal activities, and the weekend is not yet over, likely to witness further bloodshed during the Memorial Day events on Monday.
Critics argue that Mayor Johnson’s approach, characterized as being soft on crime, may fail to instill fear in those inclined towards reckless behavior in Chicago. His dismissal of April’s rampaging teenagers and comparison of their actions to his young child’s mischievousness drew considerable backlash. By trivializing such incidents, he missed an opportunity to address the underlying issues and failed to hold individuals accountable for their actions.
Johnson said, “is not constructive to demonize youth who have otherwise been starved of opportunities in their own communities.”
“Have you ever taught middle school? I have,” Johnson asked. “Have you ever raised young people? Do you understand the risk that young people take just because they’re young? Do you know that home plate is at the bottom of my stairs? I found that out when my son was sliding down those stairs trying to score.”
He went on to say that youngsters “make silly decisions! They do. So we have to make sure that we are investing to make sure that young people know that they are supported.”
🚨#BREAKING: Chaotic Scene Unfolds in Downtown Chicago as Teenagers Vandalize Cars and Gunfire Erupts
— R A W S A L E R T S (@rawsalerts) April 16, 2023
Furthermore, Mayor Johnson’s focus on government funding for unrelated programs rather than providing support to law enforcement undermines the police’s confidence and authority to enforce the law effectively. A comprehensive solution to this chaos necessitates a multifaceted approach that not only involves funding but also addresses societal factors contributing to crime rates.
One significant aspect that requires attention is the issue of fatherlessness in Chicago, particularly within the black community. Studies have shown a correlation between the absence of fathers and higher rates of crime. To truly tackle the city’s crime epidemic, Mayor Johnson should advocate for familial stability and emphasize the importance of fathers remaining in the home. By doing so, he can help create an environment where families are empowered and children are guided towards making positive choices.