Barack Obama could be ashamed to show his face by the time Donald Trump fixes all of the catastrophic mistakes he made during his time as president, but he will have to leave the country in abject humiliation if Trump cracks down on the violence and mayhem in Chicago. And if we know Donald Trump, he would love nothing more than to stick it to Obama in his own hometown.
On Tuesday, Trump tweeted: “If Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible ‘carnage’ going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016), I will send in the Feds.”
Several media outlets have disputed those figures using numbers from the Chicago Police Department, but we think we’ll trust the city’s own newspaper:
The tweet cited numbers — “228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016)” — that come from Chicago Tribune data used in a news story Monday about violence in the city so far this year. As of Tuesday evening, there had been at least 247 people shot in Chicago, with at least 44 people killed, according to Tribune data.
Chicago Police Department statistics for the month are lower because they do not include shootings on area expressways, police-involved shootings, homicides in which a person was killed in self-defense, or pending death investigations.
In other words, Trump is dead on the money. Of course, whether the accurate numbers are the ones from police or the ones from the Tribune hardly matters; either way, this mayhem has to stop. Gang violence is endangering peaceful citizens and trapping young kids in a life that has no good outcome.
On Monday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he welcomed the assistance, although the Democrat – a longtime ally of Obama – may have a different idea about the kind of help Trump could provide.
“Over the years the federal government’s stepped back their resources, which we have stepped up,” Emanuel told WTTW’s Chicago Tonight. “The federal government can be a partner, and to be honest they haven’t been for decades.”
Emanuel said there was “a lot” the feds could do, such as passing new gun control laws and increasing prosecutions of illegal gun violations. “Also, fundamentally in my view, help fund additional police officers,” he said.
It remains to be seen what Trump has in mind, but he has been consistent in his support for stop-and-frisk policies as a way to clean up violent cities. He could also direct the Department of Justice to begin prosecuting gang leaders under federal racketeering charges – a tool that has been used far too infrequently. And Emanuel is right about the need for more federal gun prosecutions; Obama’s DOJ was shamefully hesitant to enforce the law.
Doing ANYTHING would be an improvement.
Of course, when it comes to the Obama years, that can be said of many things.