Easter weekend in Chicago saw at least two homicides and 43 other people shot in a staggering wave of violence.
The Chicago Sun-Times continues to keep score, at its “tracker” page, with a detailed list of where and when each victim was hit. Six people on Friday, more than a dozen on Saturday and the rest on Sunday, the day when families would be attending Sunrise Services, maybe having all the kids or grandkids over for an Easter Egg hunt, and sitting down for a family dinner.
The Windy City has tried all kinds of strategies to deal with the violence. If one thing seems clear, it would be that simply blaming guns is not working. After all, at least one of last week’s victims was stabbed to death.
And it is obvious that when it comes to shootings, Chicago police don’t hold a candle to street thugs and gang bangers.
Last week, the Sun-Times noted that, through April 10, the body count had climbed to 163, just shy of the 164 people who had been killed in the city by that date in 2016. The most recent victims included Judge Raymond Myles, murdered in front of his house.
The Sun-Times has maintained what it calls the Homicide Watch at its website. This is an important public service, though not exactly what the newspaper might have in mind as its mission.
In Monday’s edition, there is a fascinating story about a fellow named Thaddeus “T.J.” Jimenez. According to the story, five years ago, Jimenez “won an astonishing $25 million in a wrongful-conviction lawsuit against the city of Chicago.” But did this guy put his windfall to good use, perhaps to benefit his neighborhood?
The newspaper noted that half of the money went to his attorneys. “And,” reporter Frank Main added, “he showered millions of what was left on his street gang, the Simon City Royals.”
Long story short, Jimenez apparently behaved badly, using the money to expand his gang and pay members of rival gangs to “switch sides and join his gang.” He waged war on rival gangs “for the fun of it,” the story said.
Back in the days of mobster Al Capone, at least the gangs seemed to try to keep their mayhem amongst themselves. Nowadays, it seems that everybody gets to play. Where victims of the infamous St. Valentine’s Day Massacre were all associated with a gang, today – almost 90 years later – a massacre might involve kids playing in a park.
It is not guns at fault here. There are other parts of the country with a lot more guns and a lot less violence.