Guns, Violence, Chicago

safe passage

If I put a sign on my front door that says, “Criminal Free Zone,” do you think it will deter people from trying to rob me?

No? Oh, weird.

Apparently, Chicago thinks it would. Today is the first day of school for students in the Chicago Public School system (CPS), and 600 newly hired safety guards will line the streets in their designated “Safe Passage Zones” (equipped with nice signs) to protect Chicago’s school children from violence as they walk to and from school.

I’m being a little facetious here – I certainly hope this new program will help to curtail violence against school children.

For a glimpse of the severity of violence in Chicago, just yesterday, two people were shot near two different Safe Passage Zones, and one was fatal.

A 28-year-old man was grazed in the back of the neck while walking in one Safe Passage Zone, but near another zone, a 14-year-old boy was shot to death. Plus, the Chicago Sun Times reports that it’s at least the third fatal shooting along or near a Safe Passage route since mid-August. In fact, NBC reports,

“There already have been a number of shootings along Safe Passage routes over the summer, the most violent seen in Uptown where five people were shot just outside a church last week.”

Chicago gangsters DO NOT CARE if they’re shootin’ up churches, or if there are children nearby that could get hurt. Doesn’t this just make you want to scream?!

And here’s what really gets to me about this situation- the parents’ attitudes in the Chicago Sun Times article are so apathetic. Like, “I have no control,” “violence is a fact of life,” “kids are “relatively” safe.” Rubbish!

I’m sure not all parents share the same passive attitude, but even hearing that from a couple of people irks me.

In the first month of 2012, homicides in Chicago rose by 54% (from 26 in 2011, to 40). And, and, and, in the first six days of 2013, there were 12 murders! Two murders more than the first six days of 2012.

Oh yeah, nothing to worry about.

Since 2008, 80% of young people killed by gun violence lived in the city’s south and west sides (notoriously known as the worst areas of the city, and off-limits to most, including Chicago Police). One neighborhood in particular seems to be the worst for murders; Englewood’s murder rate is 5 times higher than any other area in the city.

Everyone in Chicago- or the surrounding areas- knows not to wander through the south and west side neighborhoods. I have wandered on accident once, and I’m sorry, they’re scary as hell. It doesn’t even look like you’re still in the United States.

Just one last side note: Chicago has one of the strictest set of gun laws in the United States, and also one of the highest gun-violence and murder rates in the United States. I’ll let you do the math.

I really hope that Rahm Emmanuel’s stunt proves successful, but I think it’s going to take more than a few signs and community members with walkie-talkies to make a real difference in Chicago (Aka, Chi-raq).

[Originally published on Wollstonecrafty]

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