In his anti-crime “blueprint” for the city, mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel outlined the addition of nearly 1,000 police officers, more job fairs, youth summer employment programs, and new development fees that will finance improvements to the city’s economically depressed neighborhoods.
Central to his blueprint is a $36 million mentoring program that will provide a mentor for each of the 7,200 young men in the eighth, ninth and 10th grades at Chicago Public Schools in the city’s most violent neighborhoods. Corporate Chicago and philanthropists already are halfway toward paying for their half of the program, Emanuel said.
“To reverse the rising tide of violence, we need to provide hope instead of desperation and caring adults instead of gang affiliation,” Emanuel said, adding, “Fighting crime requires a partnership between the police and the community, and we all know that this partnership has been tested in Chicago.”
While Emanuel’s assertions are seemingly valid ones, he failed to address the primary vehicle by which the 3,000 shooting victims this year have had their lives irreversibly changed: Guns. In a city receptive to gun control and with tight regulations already on its books, he neglected to address the role other states, principally Indiana, have played in supplying illegal guns to the city. There is a loophole in the federal law that allows private sellers of guns to participate in gun shows and dispense with background checks. The shows are common in northwest Indiana, and research has shown the state is feeder to Chicago’s supply of illegal guns. The loophole is a blueprint for putting guns into the wrong hands. I’ve blogged about it here and elsewhere.
It’s not a silver bullet, but keeping illegal guns off our streets will reduce the number of lead bullets that end up in peoples’ bodies.