Southside Chicago is as Dangerous as Iraq, Is Military Occupation the Answer?
Chicago is known to be one of the roughest cities in the country. According to MSNBC, this year’s death tolls in South Side Chicago (116) are almost as high as this year’s death tolls for U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq (127). The murder rate is 15% higher than last year. Many believe that Southside Chicago is in serious need of violence control assistance.
Illinois State Representative (D) John Fritchey says, “There’s no reason why we can’t bring in the National Guard to help save lives.” Willie Williams, the father of a son that was killed, stated, “We sending our troops over to Iraq. They are helping over there. What’s wrong with them helping here?” However, the mayor of Chicago, Richard Daley is concerned that calling the National Guard would only be a short term solution to the problem. Also, John Marquez, a professor at Northwestern University, believes that bringing in the National Guard would only further promote a culture of violence.
The situation in Chicago is dangerous right now. However, I can’t help but to agree with the mayor and John Marquez. The National Guard would indeed be only a short term solution to a long term problem. This is why I can’t help but think that this would turn into some type of military enforced “tame the negroes” task force.
I think the discussions surrounding the violence in Chicago are missing some vital components. We are dealing with a community plagued by poverty and unemployment woes. Furthermore, we are in the midst of an economic recession. This recession has placed increased strain on the livelihoods of people around the country, but especially in Southside Chicago. And it is a well known fact that crime has a tendency to rise in times of economic stress. In addition to all of these factors, we live in a culture that promotes hyper-masculinity, capitalism, individualism, and racial discrimination. These aspects of American culture, coupled with the survival mode of those lowest on America’s economic scale are ingredients for the horrible outcome we see before us.
The National Guard, with all their military might, will not be able to bring an end to this dilemma. I don’t know what will. Some South side residents have voiced that they do want the National Guard to come in and control the violence. They want to feel safe in their neighborhoods. In this case, maybe the National Guard should go to Chicago. Still, there needs to be a long term solution to this crisis.
The National Guard may temporarily halt the violence. But as long as the overall living conditions of the people stay the same, the violence will only return. Politicians, preachers, and civil rights leaders have been preaching their ideas surrounding this issue for decades. I don’t know what to think anymore.
What are some of your ideas? Do you think there is a reasonable and attainable solution to ending the devastating violence in Chicago?