In the two decades I have worked the crime beat here in Hell’s justice capitol I have never seen politics play a greater role in how crime is perceived than in the past eight years. Chicago has become the whipping boy for conservative bloggers and those who comment at conservative websites. Conservatives and their white supremacist allies reeling at the election of Barack Hussein Obama as the 44th President of the United States, began referring to the Windy City as “ChiCongo.” The Right pointed to the high number of murders in the city as proof that not only was murder in Chicago a sign of racial inequality but that this “rise in murder” was coming to your mostly wholesome white Christian suburb very soon under a plan being hatched by the newly elected president.
Of course, none of this is true. However, America you now live in an age where the truth is seen by those on the Right as something that can be false but justifies fear and bigotry. President Obama’s connection with Chicago was an integral part of the political machine that has gotten him elected twice and therefore an easy target for conservatives. But the crime rate in the Second City, while a victim of the 24 hour news cycle in 2015 did not come under the same scrutiny during previous Republican administrations especially not during the Reagan era.
At the height of the Reagan presidency, Chicago stood as a bastion of progressive liberalism in the heart of the conservative Midwest. In 1981 there were 877 homicides in the city of Chicago and yet there was little or no blame of the president or his policies for the slaughter. Contrast this with the first full year of the Obama administration when there were 459 homicides were committed resulting in numerous conservative “news” sites working overtime to assure their readers that the bloodbath was both a symptom of racial and political inferiority.
The high murder figures did not end with the transfer of power to President George W Bush, or to Clinton in 1992, however. Bush was president when the all time high of 943 was achieved in 1992; Clinton’s Chicago murder peak was 931 in 1994. In the twenty years since, homicide in Chicago has actually declined at a steady rate to 704 in 1998 then to 601 in 2003 and to a low of 432 in 2014. For all the horror stories that those numbers include, and yes 400 plus murders in a city are far too many, and even for the clear corruption that exists in the policing system in Chicago, it is near impossible to assign the racial and political labels to the violence as has been done by the Right over the last eight years. As I have said in the ten years I have spent here at the terrestrial digital hub reporting on the crimes of the Living– crime is individual not racial or political, generally.
Qu’ul cuda praedex nihil!
Robin Naismith Green, D.S.V.J., O.G.H. [Journ.]
Serratoth Custom House
City Desk Editor
The Dis Brimstone-Daily Pitchfork
92 Hov’ish 3 AS