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“It’s not a police issue, it’s a society issue.”

Those are the words of Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, after a Labor Day weekend that saw 65 people shot, 13 of them fatally.

Johnson believes that the police department is doing its job, pointing to increases in gun arrests this year over last year — and more than 6,000 illegal gun recoveries so far in 2016 — as evidence that officers are out on the streets working.

“Impoverished neighborhoods, people without hope do these kinds of things,” he said. “You show me a man that doesn’t have hope, I’ll show you one that’s willing to pick up a gun and do anything with it. Those are the issues that’s driving this violence.”

Year to date, the number of shooting victims has topped 2,930, approaching the 2,988 total for all of last year, according to a Chicago Tribune analysis.

Of those shootings, there are 512 homicides since Jan. 1, equaling 2015’s tally of 512 and putting the city on pace to eclipse every year’s death toll dating back to the mid-1990s, the Tribune reported.

One final stat: homicides and shootings in Chicago continue to far outpace both New York and Los Angeles, both bigger cities. According to official statistics through late August, the most recent publicly available, New York and Los Angeles had a combined 409 homicides, well below Chicago’s total.

But statistics hide the fact that there are people behind those numbers, people with friends and family whose lives are affected by the shootings as well.

Here are some of the people who were killed or injured:

  • Crystal Myer and Albert Moore, a couple expecting their first child. Family outside of Stroger Hospital said the baby has been delivered and both parents remained in surgery.
  • Rev. Allen H. Smith, 80, was shot to death by a motorized wheelchair-bound retired clergyman at a Chicago senior living complex over a long-simmering religious dispute.
  • Albertano Medrano was driving when three people in a white van began to harass him. Medrano kept driving away, and one of the passengers in the white van opened fire, killing him.
  • David Baldwin was shot in the head about 9:30 a.m. and died several hours later at the hospital.
  • Enrique D. Morales was found dead in his driveway with a gun shot to the chest..
  • Robert L. Porter Jr. was shot across the torso and chest and later died. The person he was with was also shot and is in serious condition.
  • Juan Pita-Rosas and another man were standing in an alley  man when they heard gunfire and both felt pain, authorities said. Juan died from a gun shot in the head; his companion was listed in serious condition.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their family and friends.

I agree with Superintendent Johnson; these shootings are a society issue that needs to be solved.

America is a great country, but it’s taken me a while to realize that the U.S. is not the best at everything. It seems like we could learn from other countries that don’t have these types of senseless shootings.

We can do better, but doing so is going to have to come with some sacrifices and with changing some of our laws.

We need to provide a bigger safety net to those who need it – those who have not won the Ovarian Lottery or been smiled on by fate.

We also need to change our gun laws so that there are fewer guns (if I ran the world, there would be zero guns.) I realize some people are passionate about their right to bear arms, but like I said before, if we want to be the best country we can be, it is going to require some sacrifices, and if we look at countries that do not have this level of gun violence, we find common sense gun laws that work. Laws that don’t create a Wild, Wild West attitude like we have in the U.S.

So I wish Superintendent Johnson and all the people living in Chicago the best as they work on finding a solution to this problem.

Who knows, perhaps Whirlpool’s Care Counts program may lead to a decrease in gun violence ten years from now.

I think it’s those types of solutions we need to be looking for.

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Jim Borden

Accounting Prof. at Villanova; happily married for 30+ years; father of 3 outstanding young men; vegan; interests: fitness, creativity, education, blogging, social media.

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