Street Gangs not racism is Chicago’s top plague
When it comes to the record-setting murder rate in Chicago’s neighborhoods, the real priority should be fighting street gangs over sometimes exaggerated claims of racism. But the news media sees that exaggerating racism claims especially with regards to police sells newspapers while Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is incapable of confronting the street gang plague
By Ray Hanania
Last week, seven-year-old Jaslyn Adams and her 29-year-old father were shot in a hail of bullets while at a McDonalds. Jaslyn died, struck multiple times. Police found 30 bullet shell casings nearby.
The suspect is 18-year-old Marion Lewis, who was arrested days later after a police chase in another shootout on the Eisenhower Expressway.
Jaslyn and Lewis are African American, it doesn’t matter, although honestly, this killing hasn’t gotten as much news media attention as other killings because the shooter is not a police officer hunting down a criminal.
The story could easily have turned out a lot different, of course.
Imagine if Police had confronted Lewis BEFORE he allegedly sprayed the Adams’ car with bullets ate the McDonalds on Chicago’s West Side. Does anyone doubt that had police confronted Lewis BEFORE he murdered a little child, that the street gang thug might have been shot by the police officer?
Imagine if that happened. In this scenario, the thug who has a weapon, gets killed by the police. Jaslyn would likely be alive today.
Of course, we know what would have happened in that imaginary but very possible scenario because it happens all the time.
Had the police confronted Lewis BEFORE he fired his weapon in Jaslyn’s direction at his father, the focus would have shifted and Lewis would have become a national hero. The news media coverage would have been national.
Lewis might have been killed, shot by a Chicago Police Officer doing his job to protect the public and the neighborhood from armed gangbangers who roam the city’s neighborhoods with impunity.
In that scenario, the activists would be screaming to prosecute the police officer.
That’s too bad for Lewis’ family, that Lewis got caught only AFTER he murdered a little girl. They don’t get to play the “Race Lottery,” and get paid millions for being killed by a police officer.
In nearby Little Village weeks before, a 13-year-old Adam Toledo was given a gun from an adult gangbanger to hold after the gangbanger fired that gun nine times. The gangbanger didn’t kill anyone in that incident, although it could easily have happened. Had the police not stopped the shooter and his 13-year-old mule dragged along to carry the weapon, maybe they might have ended up tragically killing someone else.
All because no one was killed by those gangbangers, the issue flipped upside down on its head. The public is screaming for the head of the police officer who shot and killed the gun carrying Toledo.
We have been misled into believing the real issue here is racism. We are being told that the real problem is the police. The news media is fueling this persecution of police, not focusing on the gangbangers. Turning the race tables on Whites makes for a far better news story. It sells newspapers for along time. A dead little girl at the hands of gang violence, is only a story for a little while. Nearly 770 people were killed in Chicago last year.
But that’s not the story. Racism is the story. It feeds into an ugly history.
Racism is a real problem. Blacks have been viciously victimized by racists over the past two centuries or longer. Many were brought here as slaves, lynched for looking at a White woman. Beaten and killed for little more than a slaveowner’s whim.
Many Whites sympathize with the suffering of Blacks victimized by racism. But they are angry that injustice has been subverted into politics by the news media and the activists.
Chicago Police Supt. David Brown, who is Black himself, is doing his best to confront the gangbangers.
Chief Brown isn’t getting the support he needs because the activists and the news media are focused on the contentious claims of police brutality when they should instead be focused on the real threat of street gang violence.
The people in neighborhoods plagued by street gangs know who those gangbangers are. Good kids, Black, Hispanic, White or whatever, don’t carry guns. Gangbangers carry guns. If you have a gun, no matter your age, you are a public threat and need to be stopped.
Do you want to stop the killing of innocent kids like Joslyn Adams? Stop the gangbangers. Stop easing laws making it easier for street gangs to avoid punishment. Stop twisting the issue of crime into an issue of race.
Let’s confront racism and ensure all people of color are respected. But don’t use stereotypes to turn all White people into criminals because of the color of their skin.
Change takes real leadership. But right now, neither Chicago nor Cook County have any real leaders.
(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and political columnist. This column was originally published in the Southwest News Newspaper Group in the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News, The Reporter Newspapers. For more information on Ray Hanania visit www.Hanania.com or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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