The 4th of July is supposed to be a time of celebration and jubilee, but for many in Chicago, this Independence Day brought with it violence and bloodshed.
Shootouts rippled through the city as fireworks exploded on the streets. In total, 40 were injured and seven were killed between Friday and Sunday, including a seven-year-old boy named Amari Brown.
According to Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, something is seriously wrong with the system.
Amari’s death is believed to have been the consequence of his father’s lengthy criminal background. Amari’s father, who has been arrested 45 times, is a ranking gang member and the bullet that killed the boy was likely meant for him.
“We need to repair a broken system,” said McCarthy. “Criminals don’t feel the repercussions of the justice system.”
The Chicago police presence was bumped up 30 percent over the holiday weekend and while many shootouts still occurred, law enforcement personnel have confiscated one illegal gun per hour since Friday morning.
In response to the shootings, many are calling for stricter gun laws, but Chicago already has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country.
McCarthy pointed to the city’s massive and continual influx of guns, saying, “We must stem the flow of guns into the city.”
But a local pastor has another take on how to solve Chicago’s gun violence problem.
“We need to go straight to the core, and the core is to deal with the social desperation,” the pastor said.
(The following was a submission by freelance writer Brent Rogers)