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The [Tuesday] Papers

In no way do I want to diminish the awful, horrific gun violence we've been seeing lately in Chicago that has, in particularly, led to the deaths of several children. It's almost unspeakable and unimaginable, yet hauntingly familiar. It's heartbreaking, and like so many others, including y'all, I don't know what to say about it anymore.

But I do want to point out - because it's necessary if we're ever going to find a solution - that this isn't just a Chicago problem, though it's always been more intractable here than in New York City and Los Angeles.

For example, here's today's New York Post:

Screen Shot 2020-07-07 at 10.39.38 AM.png

The same demand, of course, has been made here of Mayor Lori Lightfoot. And those demands are valid. It's also not that easy, in part because this type of violence is not just a local issue - it's happening nationwide.

"Chicago is not alone," the New York Times reports. "Before the coronavirus hit, homicides were escalating nationwide in early 2020, and although the lockdown brought a pause, they began rising again as the stay-at-home measures were lifted. A national study showed that homicide rates fell in 39 of 64 major cities during April and began creeping up in May."

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"Tragedies struck in urban centers thousands of miles apart, with 65 people shot over the weekend in New York and 87 in Chicago, and homicides climbing from Miami to Milwaukee," the Washington Post reports.

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See also:

* 'It's Got To Stop': Atlanta's Mayor Decries A Surge of Violence As A Girl Is Killed.

* Charlotte Leaders Met To Talk About The Spike In Crime And Violence In The City.

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And so on.

Crime tends to trend nationally, for reasons criminologists still don't understand. (For example, in the recession that followed the global financial scandal of 2008, an expected rise in crime never materialized.)

That means it's at least partially folly to lay the blame (or the credit) for crime rates on local leaders. It might be different at times when your city is an outlier, but when cities across the country are experiencing the same horrors, how can it be your mayor's fault?

That's not to say that a mayor and a police chief can't do anything and should take no responsibility whatsoever about crime. But without massive strategic innovation and radical restructuring, the best they can do is make microdents in the problem. (One might argue that stricter national gun control would go a long way to changing the dynamic, and I tend to agree, even though I view the issue as a fundamentally economic one.)

So, yes, by all means press the mayor, the police chief and, yes, the city council. But also ask the right questions. Are mayors (and police chiefs) communicating with each other? Consulting criminologists? What does the best science say?

It's cheap, easy and lazy to be locally outraged without acknowledging the bigger picture. That's where the New York Post is wrong. Yes, Bill de Blasio is a terrible mayor. But, ultimately, what do you want him to do? Something!, I know. But the Post and the rest of the media can do something too, which is to think about and provide context; doing so leads to better questions, coverage and understanding.

Meanwhile, heartbreak after heartbreak after heartbreak.

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What Cops Do
"Of the nearly 18 million calls logged by the LAPD since 2010, about 1.4 million of them, or less than 8%, were reports of violent crimes, which The [Los Angeles] Times defined as homicides, assaults with deadly weapons, robberies, batteries, shots fired and rape. By contrast, police responded to a greater number of traffic accidents and calls recorded as 'minor disturbances,' The Times found."

This is why I never got hung up on the Cops TV show - now taken off the air - being police propaganda. Sure, they didn't show you brutality. What they did show, though, illuminated just how mundane the job mostly is (a lot of domestics and drunks). That's not to criticize what police do, but to describe it. (Most cops will never draw their weapon over the course of their career.) It's just to say that we have to understand the job if we want to redefine it.

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Black Census Response
"Chicago's predominately Black wards now have the second highest U.S. [Census] response rate among the city's 50 wards, according to the latest ward reports on the city's website," the Crusader reports.

"As of June 22, some 191,405 Black households in Chicago have submitted their U.S. Census counts. That is a response rate of 49.7 percent of 385,861 Black households in Chicago. There are 18 Black wards among Chicago's 50 wards."

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Just a conflict-of-interest reminder: I'm currently in training to spend a couple months as a census field supervisor. I love the census.

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"Under Mayor Rahm Emanuel, in 2010 only two-thirds or 66 percent of Chicagoans participated in the Census. For this year's U.S. Census count, Mayor Lightfoot has set a goal of 75 percent participation to ensure every Chicagoan is counted."

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Wherever Rod Moore Is, I Hope He's Safe
"We are committed to saving the elderly's physical bodies from harm, but not their souls," our very own David Rutter writes.

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WNBA Dedicates Season To Social Justice
"In its inaugural season, the Social Justice Council will cultivate designated spaces for community conversations, virtual roundtables, player-produced podcasts, and other activations to address this country's long history of inequality, implicit bias and systemic racism that has targeted Black and brown communities."

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Sea Control: Why Chicago?
Because of its long maritime history, that's why.

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ChicagoReddit

6300 Chicago Businesses Received Federal Paycheck Protection Loans from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

View this post on Instagram

3324 W Wrightwood Ave. Logan Square.

A post shared by Brick of Chicago (@brickofchicago) on

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ChicagoTube

Old TV Sound: Chicago Hope

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TweetWood
A sampling of the delight and disgust you can find @BeachwoodReport.

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The Beachwood Zip Line: Zip it good.



Permalink

Posted on July 7, 2020


MUSIC - School Of Rock Realizes How White It Is.
TV - A Plea To Matt Nagy.
POLITICS - Social Media Platforms Remove War Crimes Evidence.
SPORTS - 100 Choices Better Than La Russa.

BOOKS - Maps For Migrants And Ghosts.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Doing Philosophy At UIC.


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