A neighborhood under attack
The casualty list will continue to rise if the shooting doesn't stop.
After the second fatal shooting in less than a month in Champaign, it seems clear that more than defiant rhetoric is required to quell the violence.
Speaking before a community group this week, Champaign Police Chief Anthony Cobb stated that "we're not going to tolerate this activity in our neighborhoods."
Unfortunately, it's not a matter of tolerating anything — it's the inability to prevent the random shootings and gunfights that have made life so nerve-wracking. Police can't be everywhere all the time, and young gunmen motivated by who-knows-what are taking advantage of opportunities to engage in acts of violence.
It's difficult to say with certainty what this is all about — individual feuds, gang wars, drugs or some combination. The behavior is so nihilistic that the mindset of these sociopaths is unfathomable. Obviously, they care neither about their lives or others' nor about their own futures.
So the situation is dire. Two young men have, essentially, been executed. Bullets are flying and more people will be dying unless all the bad guys either are taken out of circulation or put under so much pressure they go elsewhere.
Authorities have increased their presence in the affected neighborhoods and made arrests. They've also made repeated pleas for cooperation among community residents not known for providing help to the police.
But that's not as easy as it sounds. Being known as a snitch is not popular, and those lending assistance run the risk of retribution.
Recognizing that dilemma, Chief Cobb recommended citizens with smartphones photograph individuals and situations that might be of interest to authorities. That's a great idea.
One thing is clear. This will not end until the community and the police bring it to an end by means of force. This is a war against lawlessness that must be won.