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Chicago, Chicago, That Murderous Town

Chicago has the highest big city murder rate and the toughest gun control laws. Five hundred people were killed in Chicago last year. Certain neighborhoods live in constant fear. If tough gun laws is the proferred solution, Chicago is the unsolved problem.

Chicagoan Paul Miller, writing in The Washington Times, suggests that the cause is not just gang violence per se, but that Chicago's high unemployment rate among minorities is partly responsible. That rate is 24 percent for blacks in general; I hate to think what it is among 18-25 year old black males, the group doing much of the shooting.

Regardless, the economy by itself seems an unlikely overall cause. Rather, as Mr. Miller notes, it is the lack of hope for the future that specifically characterizes the lives of young minorities in depressed neighborhoods. He might have noted also the return of the welfare economy that makes married men a luxury in many ghetto households.

This is a different problem from the mostly young males who are mentally ill in a dangerous way and have been responsible for the highly publicized maass killings in Sandy Hood, Aurora and Tucson. Chris Dorner, the rogue ex-cop in Los Angeles, I submit, will turn out to be in that category.

Overall, violence is down nationally. But the high incidence of violent crime in certain small subsets of the population deserves more attention. The media and political emphasis on anti-gun agitation covers that up.

You can email brucechapman@discovery.org

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