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Editorial: An early summer weekend of gun deaths in Chicago shows how far we have to go

Chicago Tribune Editorial Board, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Op Eds

As Chicago headed back to work this week, the city was coming off one of the most beautiful weather weekends in recent memory, characterized by temperatures in the mid-70s and refreshing breezes.

But in too many parts of the city, the picture-perfect conditions belied harrowing periods of violence and fear.

Ten people were shot and killed over the weekend in Chicago and more than 30 were wounded by gunfire, according to a Chicago Sun-Times report.

The mayhem wasn’t concentrated in a few particular neighborhoods; it was widely dispersed, from the Far North Side to the Far South Side and places in between. It was the third weekend in a row, beginning with Memorial Day weekend, that more than 30 people suffered gunshot wounds.

We’ve heard much so far in 2024 about how murders are down. Through June 2, the decline compared with the same period last year was 15%.

But this past weekend reminded any of those who needed reminding that violent crime in Chicago continues to be a scourge and that victory over this plague is very far off indeed. It is said that no one celebrates summer more joyfully than Chicagoans. How distressingly ironic then that over the past several years virtually every summer weekend in Chicago has become effectively a set of tragedies in waiting.

 

People are being shot attending backyard barbecues. People are being shot getting a nighttime bite to eat at fast-food restaurants, including two men eating inside a Loop restaurant a little after midnight on Saturday who were hit by someone shooting from outside the eatery. People are being shot driving on the expressway.

Mayor Brandon Johnson says Chicago can’t “arrest its way” out of the crime epidemic and espouses attacking the “root causes” of violent crime, saying that investing more in low-income neighborhoods will give potential criminals more enticing alternatives to a life of crime. But even a mayor who in his previous career espoused “defunding” the police knows now that law enforcement has its role to play. Most reasonable people can agree that both stronger enforcement and more resources for deprived parts of the city must both play a role in improving this deplorable situation.

In the meantime, though, all Chicagoans should be able to agree not to rationalize or make excuses for those who make our summer weekends something to be dreaded rather than celebrated and savored.

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©2024 Chicago Tribune. Visit at chicagotribune.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

 

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