Monday, April 26, 2010

Lawmakers want National Guard to handle gun violence in city

Also posted yesterday at Mechanics!

In the past week the 6th Ward has been rocked with violence. Especially painful was the shooting death of a 20-month-old baby who was shot only because the shooter was actually targeting the baby's father!

Today state Representatives LaShawn Ford, John Fritchey released statements calling for Gov. Quinn and Mayor Daley to mobilize the state National Guard to supplement our undermanned police.
State lawmakers are calling on Gov. Pat Quinn and Mayor Daley to deploy the Illinois National Guard in Chicago to deal with continuing gun violence and fatalities here.

The action, in coordination with Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis, should be taken as soon as possible to help get guns and criminals off the street, Rep. John Fritchey and Rep. LaShawn Ford, said in released statements today.
"As we speak, National Guard members are working side-by-side with our troops to fight a war halfway around the world," Fritchey said in a statement. "The unfortunate reality is that we have another war that is just as deadly taking place right in our backyard. Is this a drastic call to action? Of course it is. But is it warranted when we are losing residents to gun violence at such an alarming rate? Without question."

So far this year, 113 people have been killed across Chicago -- precisely the same number as the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan combined during the same time period, the legislators noted.

They said the National Guard has been deployed in other states to prevent violence related to specific events and protests, but added that they were unaware of guardsmen and women being deployed to assist with general urban unrest.

"Gang activity and its resulting violence has taken a toll on my community for far too long," Ford said in a statement. "The Military Code of Illinois specifically states that it is the duty of the Governor to deploy such force as he deems necessary in order to suppress individuals acting together and committing violence in violation of our laws. Enough is enough. We've already lost too many lives. We need action now."

The legislators noted that 80 percent of city homicide victims are black.

"Candidly, I think that if these shootings were taking place on the north side, we'd be seeing more of an outcry from the community and a more heightened response," said Fritchey. "But regardless of where you live, or where the shootings take place, we must never lose sight that every one of these children that gets shot is somebody's son or somebody's daughter."
Ford and Fritchey emphasize that their call for National Guard troops on city streets are not at all a criticism of the efforts of law enforcement.

In any event according to this article Ford and Fritchey (who is running for a seat on the county board) were expected to have a press conference at noon today. While Police Supt. Jody Weis was expected to hold a press conference at 1 PM today.

Last year (and almost to the day!) I wrote a post [at Mechanics]  about Ed Gardner. Gardner was a prominent business man who founded Soft Sheen Products who wrote a letter to President Obama calling for him to send Federal Troops to quell urban violence.

My stance on that and this is no different today. Not so sure the military is needed to quell this violence. I want to believe we don't need the National Guard on our streets to solve this problem.

To be sure it is a problem! Hopefully the problem won't get worse enough where we will definitely need military assistance to curb any violence in our streets.

For certain however we don't want there to be another Cynia Cole! Hopefully without assistance of the police or the military we can prevent another young child like Cynia from being a victim of senseless violence.

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