Chicago Surpasses 1,000 Shootings For The Year, As Difference-Makers Meet For Solutions [Opinion]

Shootings in the city of Chicago have risen in certain areas. Still a proud city, one which is rich in its history, culture, and politics, the escalating violence has taken away from Chicago’s glory.

Over 1,000 shootings have already taken place in the streets of Chicago. Most of those shootings happen on the south and west sides. Those areas have been ravaged by poverty, a shortage of jobs and a lack of educational funding. These areas are long overdue for some good news. As of now, it is the police blotters which are overshadowing all signs of positivity.

Violence in Chicago was well on the rise during Donald Trump’s remarkable bid for the United States’ presidency. After each high-profile shooting, the presidential hopeful spoke of changes. President Trump has gone as far as declaring that he will send the feds to Chicago, as reported by CNN, if things do not change for the better.

The Chicago Tribune report of 1,000 shootings in Chicago is closely timed with President Trump’s 100 days in office. Trump’s official 100th day is April 29. Chicago’s 1,000th shooting was reported on April 25.

During the time when Donald Trump was openly considering militarizing Chicago, he began working with Cleveland-based minister Darrell Scott. Scott would go on to state that he had been in touch with some of the top gang members in Chicago, with slowing down the violence the primary topic of discussion. His plan was to have a meeting, as reported by the Chicago Tribune, in Chicago and invite President Trump to attend.

Vice News Tonight’s Antonia Hylton visited the city of Chicago to seek out an intimate viewpoint in last Wednesday’s episode of Vice News Tonight. While visiting Chicago’s west side, Hylton met with two members of the Gangster Disciples, one of the city’s most notorious gangs. Antonia Hylton’s segment is found below.

Hylton was able to capture the unscripted thoughts of the two gang members, Birdman and Lil’ G. Each of them offered shocking, but accurate perspectives of life in a gang.

Birdman, one of the gang members Hylton had a chance to speak to, explained the necessity of having a gun on him every time he leaves the house.

“It’s like putting your clothes on. How you bend down to tie your shoe, how you go to the bathroom to wash your face and brush your teeth, that go[es] on your hip like you’re putting your belt on. The last thing you’re worried about is the police. I’d rather do three years in the penitentiary than life in the cemetery.”

It is a kill or be killed mentality in the streets of Chicago. Something that came across as a regrettable way of life in the eyes of the two gang members interviewed. The regret became apparent as the Vice News Tonight did a close-up on Birdman’s most recent gunshot wound, which scaled vertically on his abdomen.

The stories of Birdman and Lil’ G are frightening, but again accurate portrayals of the violence which has plagued Chicago’s south and west sides. There have been pledges from ex-gang members and local ministers to offer assistance. That assistance was supposed to come in the form of Pastor Darrell Scott’s meeting. It eventually took place in Washington, D.C., after a previous cancellation. There were several people who attended the gathering. Unfortunately, it was the omissions from the meeting that was curious.

President Donald Trump was noticeably absent after Scott attempted to invite him. Also missing was Torrence Cook, a former Chicago gang member-turned-community organizer. Cook missed his flight. Scott spoke with Chicago-based minister Larry Tabron, yet he did not receive an invitation to the meeting held in Washington D.C.

A meeting to discuss the growing violence in Chicago without some of the difference-makers the city has to offer does not get much solved. Neither does anything change with the exclusion of those who contribute to Chicago’s violence. Many of the people who can make a difference must have a seat at the table, especially when the thought involving federal assistance to curb the violence is discussed. The meeting in the nation’s capital turned out to be a missed opportunity.

Until the difference-makers attempt to involve everyone in the conversation about curbing the violence in Chicago, the narrative will be more on the increase in shootings. There are some great things which are taking place in Chicago, but those things have taking a backseat to what is now over 1,000 shootings and counting.

[Featured Image by Scott Olsen/Getty Images]