No Answers from Me
By Patrick F. Cannon
Donald Trump, he who in not going to go away unless we send him, has said he will be the “law and order” president. If so, he is going to have to explain away these “facts” (a word that is seemingly alien to him):
In 1995, the violent crime rate in the United States was 684.5 per 100,000 people; in 2005, it was 469.0; and in 2014 (the latest full year figure available), 365.5.
For murder, the 1995 rate was 8.2 per 100,000; in 2005, 5.6; and in 2014, 4.5. Crime wave indeed. If you live in the Chicago area, as I do, you might be inclined to question these statistics, for there has been a significant increase in shootings and murder this year. According to Heather MacDonald in the Wall Street Journal: “Through July 9, 2,090 people have been shot (in Chicago) this year, including a 3-year-old boy shot on Father’s Day who will be paralyzed for life, and 11-year-old boy wounded on the Fourth of July, and a 4-year-old boy wounded last week. How many of the 2,090 victims in Chicago were shot by cops? Nine.”
There can be no excuse for some of the officer-involved shootings of black men that we have seen recently, just as there can be no excuse for the recent execution of police officers by black men. A more sobering fact is that 93 percent of black murder victims were killed by other blacks, and that, despite having only 13 percent of the population, blacks accounted for more than 50 percent of all murders nationally.
In Chicago, black on black killings are almost all gang related, and are one of the reasons that blacks are moving out of the city in increasing numbers. It is also one of the reasons why black men are often unfairly targeted for traffic stops and other incidents. In a recent piece that appeared in the Chicago Tribune, a young black man told of being stopped a block from his own home in Naperville (a perfect example of an upper middle class community). Despite showing the policeman a driver’s license with his Naperville address, he wasn’t believed. In fact, he was spread-eagled and searched. Eventually, the cop had to bow to the inevitable and apologies were later issued.
I don’t know the solutions to these problems, but I do know that there are people of good will who are trying. They probably know by now that there are no simple answers to problems that have developed over many generations. Blaming the schools and the police is both simplistic and wrong. And simply saying that more jobs is the answer is another illusion. In the current economy, there are hundreds of thousands of jobs going begging because companies cannot find qualified applicants.
One thing I do know – if you graduate from high school and present yourself properly, you will find some kind of job. If you go on to learn a trade or marketable skill, you will find a better job. If you graduate from a university, you will find an even better job and probably a career.
I often drive though the West Side of Chicago on my way downtown. During school days, I see many young men of school age hanging out on street corners. They are almost certainly gang members and in some way connected to the drug trade. Until a way is found to get them off those corners, Donald Trump can be the law and order president until the cows come home, and he won’t move even one of those kids off their corner. Of course, I don’t have the solution either. I hope someone comes along who does.
Copyright 2016, Patrick F. Cannon