WASHINGTON — In U.S. President Barack Obama’s adopted city of Chicago, July 4th weekend was full of fireworks and unfortunately, violence. Chicago, which has one of the strictest gun control laws on the books (and some of which were struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court), saw a spat of violence that shocked the national media who decided to report on it.
Reuters reported that at least nine people were killed and more than 50 were shot throughout Chicago. This latest string of violence went from Thursday evening to Sunday at midnight, with 50 separate shooting incidents.
And, the Chicago Tribune said that more people were shot early Monday morning, which increased the injured count to more than 80 people and number of deceased to 14. How did Chicago police respond?
The city’s police superintendent Garry McCarthy said that a “proliferation of firearms” was to blame and said the string of violence was “unacceptable.” Five of the people were shot by police officers and at least two were killed in exchanges of gunfire. Three of the 50 shooting incidents involved perpetrators pointing guns at police officers. The police also said that 21 of the 50 incidents occurred on Sunday.
McCarthy went on to blame gangs and repeat criminal offenders who value their guns and are more likely to engage police in gun battles, saying that state and federal laws are too lax to deal with gun crimes. McCarthy pointed out that despite this wave of violent shootings, there were only 185 shooting deaths so far in Chicago this year, compared to 196 at this point last year.
Liberal mayor Rahm Emanuel, a former White House staffer to Obama, echoed similar sentiments and condemned the string of shootings. Part of his statement read, “This violence is unacceptable wherever it occurs in our city and all of us need to take a stand.”