Tom Bevan, the co-founder of RealClearPolitics.com, is calling Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago a “war zone.”
Bevan, a Chicago resident and host of a local weekend radio show, noted in a July 8 post that even as Chicagoans have become used to daily killings and shootings in the city, the toll of violence that occurred over the long Independence Day holiday was “jaw-dropping.”
Between Thursday, July 3 and the early hours of Monday, July 7, Chicago was beset with a whopping 82 shootings during which 14 were killed.
Bevan goes on to report the stuttering shock coming from the Chicago Police Department’s brass and the Mayor’s office and says, “You know the situation is serious when Emanuel, renowned for his expletive-laden braggadocio, is reduced to meaningless platitudes about creating ‘partnerships for peace.'”
Then there is the constant refrain from Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy that the murder rate is actually lower than it has been in the past, a factoid that Chicago magazine effectively torpedoed earlier this year. According to the magazine, the Chicago PD arrived at their “lower” stats by monkeying with the numbers.
But lower or not, the numbers are shocking. “By the administration’s own tally, one person has been killed and five people have been shot, on average, every day this year in Chicago – and that was before the carnage over the Fourth of July weekend,” Bevan writes.
Bevan wraps up his piece noting that this continuing wave of gang violence is putting Mayor Emanuel’s approval rating in the tank, and all this is happening just before his re-election coming up early next year.
Bevan warns that “all the money in the world won’t help ‘Rahmbo’ win re-election if he doesn’t get a handle on the crime plaguing the city. The violence is generating real anger, real fear, and real questions about the incumbent’s competence. They’re the kind of questions that aren’t going to be waved away by airtime on CNN or happy talk about ‘partnerships of peace.'”
Emanuel could face a few challengers, but the most dangerous to his re-election prospects is Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. No official opponents have announced yet, but Emanuel is worried.
And he should be. As Bevan notes, Chicago is a “war zone.” It has been so bad that some residents ruefully began to call their city “Chiraq” in reference to the real war zone in Iraq where we have lost fewer Americans of late than we have in Chicago.
In fact, giving rise to the harsh nickname, in April, only 13 Americans had died in Iraq up until that month, but by that same time 76 had been murdered in Chicago.
The dark nickname became so prevalent that the city launched “no mo chiraq,” a campaign designed to stop people from using the name.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.