“I heard my mama cry
I heard her pray the night Chicago died
Brother what a night it really was
Brother what a fight it really was, glory be…”
As the local news talked about the high number of shootings that occurred over the long holiday weekend in Chicago, I couldn’t help but think of the song lyrics of “The Nght Chicago Died” by Paper Lace. Peter Nickeas reported on the Chicago Tribune website yesterday:
In all, at least 82 people were shot, 14 of them fatally, since Thursday afternoon…
Five of the people were shot by police over 36 hours on Friday and Saturday, including two boys 14 and 16 who were killed when they allegedly refused to drop their guns.
Many of the long weekend’s shootings were on the South Side, clustered in the Englewood, Roseland, Gresham and West Pullman neighborhoods that rank among the most violent in the city.
As expected, Mayor Rahm Emanuel used the occasion to push for more gun “control.” From the Tribune piece:
Asked why police, even with extra patrols, couldn’t tamp down the violence, Emanuel said: “It’s a fair question, where were the police? What were they doing? I would also say, where are the gun laws?”
He called for “better policing, better prevention” as well as better parenting and tougher gun laws…
Meanwhile, Chicago Police Department Superintendent Garry McCarthy called attention to one of the real reasons why the “Windy City” is experiencing the type of violence seen this past weekend. Stefano Esposito, Frank Main, and Brian Slodysko wrote on the Chicago Sun-Times website yesterday morning:
McCarthy, standing beside a cache of recently seized guns and rifles, touched on one of his favorite themes — the lack of punishment in Illinois for people who illegally own guns…
He repeated his frustration that many of the people who threaten his cops with firearms have been previously convicted of gun crimes. He frequently points out that people arrested for gun crimes are often released on bond. And if they’re convicted, they don’t serve serious prison time, he says…
“They don’t serve serious prison time.”
Why is that?
Consider what Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle said back in the fall. The Chicago Tribune’s Hal Dardick reported on October 2, 2013:
“I’ve been quite clear that I don’t believe in mandatory minimums,” said Preckwinkle, who also made it clear she was referring to both drug and gun crimes. “I think that they’re one of the reasons that our jails and our prisons are overcrowded, and they basically tie the judges’ hands and eliminate judicial discretion, and the reason we have judges on the bench is to exercise discretion.”
Dardick later added:
Preckwinkle is trying to lower the costs of detaining people who are awaiting trial at the overcrowded county jail.
Preckwinkle also has noted the costs to society of get-tough-on-crime mandatory minimum sentences that often put nonviolent offenders — or people capable of rehabilitation — behind bars for long periods, making it less likely they can later launch a productive life.
“All of these people, you know, unless we send them to jail for life, they eventually return to our communities,” Preckwinkle said, speaking to reporters after a County Board meeting. “And the longer they stay in prison, the less employable and the more problematic their future outcome.”
In the meantime, the carnage continues…
Paper Lace, “The Night Chicago Died” (1974)
By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)
Nickeas, Peter. “Fourth of July weekend toll: 82 shot, 14 of them fatally, in Chicago.” Chicago Tribune. 7 July 2014. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-fourth-of-july-toll-82-shot-14-of-them-fatally-in-chicago-20140707,0,5439185.story). 8 July 2014.
Esposito, Stefano, Main, Frank, and Slodysko, Brian. “McCarthy: Hundreds of extra cops not enough to quell weekend of violence.” Chicago Sun-Times. 7 July 2014. (http://www.suntimes.com/28524972-761/mccarthy-hundreds-of-extra-cops-not-enough-to-quell-weekend-of-violence.html#.U7vrD5VOXIV). 8 July 2014.
Dardick, Hal. “Preckwinkle opposes Emanuel on gun crime mandatory sentences.” Chicago Tribune. 2 Oct. 2013. (http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-10-02/news/chi-preckwinkle-opposes-emanuel-on-gun-crime-mandatory-sentences-20131002_1_preckwinkle-gun-violence-gun-crime). 8 July 2014.
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