As of Sunday, Chicago went a week without a fatal shooting for the first time in four years, Chicago Sun Times reports.
There was one shooting victim discovered during the period.
Antoine D. Watkins was found shot dead in a vacant lot in the West Side Austin neighborhood on Saturday, but police believe his body had been there for some time, so it’s not counting towards the week.
Voyeuristic, obsessive charting of Chicago murders obscure national problems of weak gun control and entrenched poverty into clinical stat-collecting. Here’s a great example:
“As of Monday, there have been 102 homicides in the city this year, according to Sun-Times records. Of the 102 victims, 97 were shot to death four have been fatally stabbed, and 2-month-old Aliya Acosta died of child abuse. As of this date in 2016, 111 homicides had occurred in the city.”
This data doesn’t really tell us much other than homicides are slightly down in Chicago in 2017 compared to this point in 2016. What it does accomplish is diminishing government culpability and dehumanizing the dead. It’s much the same way reports are worded on casualties in foreign conflicts, or how the women and children murdered on Trump’s botched Yemeni mission are ignored. If Chicago murders are seen as natural, mathematical phenomenon, like the global rising temperature, there’s less pressure to make substantive policy changes. Throwing more police, weaponry or new deployment strategies won’t do anything about underlying problems like major wealth disparity and easy access to guns from poorly regulated neighboring states.
The rest of the Sun Times piece catalogues other stats, and brief one-sentence recollections of victims. By printing their names, ages, and where they were killed, the paper must feel it’s providing some service. It’s not.
The CNN video that accompanies this article uses children to suggest the problem is that police can’t do their jobs properly for fear of retribution. That’s misleading as well. The CPD have been found by the DOJ for systemic problems of brutality, ignoring procedure and refusal to discipline officers.
(image via ABC 7 screengrab)