272-278 people were murdered during the first six months of this year. Over 1300 people were shot and wounded.
Going into summer, 16 people were killed and 87 wounded this month alone. This week, six people were shot and killed and 87 wounded. It appears the numbers will not abate as the weather heats up.
Most of these murders are directly related to the gang and drug business. Retaliations, competition, and other factors of violence that go hand in hand with organized criminal enterprises.
The gangs are fomenting a guerrilla war on our city. It is a war of violence. murder, and mayhem. The politicians are not concerned about or ignore the scope and power the gangs hold in this city. This war is costing scores of lives, many of them innocent people. It is a war that terrorizes whole neighborhoods.
For too many years, well over a decade, the politicians kept convincing the people of Chicago the gangs are fractured, their leadership either in prison or retired, and there is no real gang structure. The killings are by small "factions" or independents.
Chicago should know better. Chicago politicians are not known for honesty or integrity.
The major gangs are highly organized and structured. Why else would gang members young and old, show up at a murder trial of fellow Latin Kings wearing their colors?
"The courtroom was full of Latin Kings wearing gold jerseys, and family members and other friends, old Kings, young Kings, future Kings. They were angry. They smirked. First they murmured, then they got louder." (John Kass/Chicago Tribune)
It appears the Latin Kings are telling Chicago, the police, courts, and public, "We are here, we are here to stay, there is nothing you can do about it."
This is in your face public relations.
Need further proof? The Outlaws, one of the most notorious criminal motorcycle gangs, boldly put their South Side headquarters on the corner of 25th and Rockwell. There is what appears to be a bullet proof barrier protecting the entryway and a steel clad door behind it. Federal authorities claim the Outlaws are major meth manufacturers and distributors. They are also known for violence, mayhem, and murder.
Make no mistake. Chicago gangs are organized, structured, and are responsible for the murderous chaos in various neighborhoods. The politicians refuse to acknowledge it or let the police crack down.
The violence problem is not going to get solved by treating gangs as if they do not exist. It is not going to abate by believing the gangs are fractured and the violence is caused by independents and wannabes.
Gangs are criminal organizations. They are not social clubs or neighborhood protection organizations. They are not a social science phenomena, as academics would have us believe. Gangs are organized crime groups. Their only purpose and reason for existence is crime. Crime is their business. In some areas, crime is the only economy.
All members of gangs are criminals. Gang members have no positive social redeeming values. They are a detriment to society. They are the enemy within, a cancer on our city.
Traditional organized crime, which ruled this city for decades, is a mere shadow of its former self. Yet, they are still monitored for criminal activity. Over one thousand murders are attributed to the Outfit, from the Capone era to the present. Few, if any, were innocent victims.
We do not know if anyone is closely monitoring Chicago's street gangs. We only know what the politicians want us to know. Next to nothing.
For some inexplicable reason, the gangs are not considered to be as dangerous to society as the Chicago Outfit. They are not treated as organized criminal enterprises to be destroyed. Yet, day after day, week after week, month after month, the death toll rises.
Politics plays an important role in crime. The gang organizations have been left alone for way too long. The "reasons" are too many to list. They all boil down to the same things, cowardice and corruption.
City Hall and the County Building are dens of cowards. The politicians fear being labeled racist. Many enable the gangs and benefit by their existence. They are associates of organized crime.
If the politicians will not allow law enforcement to expose the gang leadership, structure, and membership, then it is time for some other organization to do it.
The Chicago Crime Commission is toothless. They tout the same lame excuses as the politicians. Former Mayor Daley pulled out their teeth and claws when they were about to expose organized crime's incestuous relationship with Chicago politicians. From then on, the CCC has been an unreliable and sometimes laughable source on organized criminal enterprises in Chicago. They, like the politicians, refuse to fight the good fight. They keep trying to justify deserving their grant money and other donations.
Something new and courageous is needed to get information to the people. To expose the gangs, their associates and enablers, and their structure and leadership. Make no mistake. All the illicit money generated is going to the top. There needs to be a structure for that.
A new organization is needed to investigate, expose, and report on these organized criminal enterprises, their associates, and enablers. It needs to be funded properly and privately. No government grants. Those are controlled by the very politicians whose heads are in the sand.
There are enough well meaning, civic minded, wealthy people in Chicago who could fund an intelligence, organized crime research, and reporting organization. It would need to be a hybrid group of former law enforcement, prosecutors, and journalists. A Better Government Association on steroids. A group that would be fearless, dauntless, and bold. As bold as the Outlaws, whose club is proudly festooned in one of Chicago's gang infested areas.
Chicago's millionaires, billionaires, major businesses, and financial sectors finance a host of organizations. The arts, architectural preservation, parks and recreation, programs for youth, museums, and other civic and cultural groups. It is time they focused on law and order.
All the great things about Chicago are tarnished by the daily murder, mayhem, and bloodshed on the streets. If the politicians will not do their jobs or let the police do theirs, then it is time for others to take up the mantle. With enough publicity and exposure of organized criminal enterprises, the politicians will have no choice. They will have to act. Swiftly and harshly.
Chicago is becoming the laughing stock of the nation. There is no reason for this.
It is time for good people to do something. If it means embarrassing the politicians, so be it.
The next innocent victim could be your child.
Thanks to Peter Bella.