Editorial | Bloody weekend

Editorial | Bloody weekend

Violence in Chicago continues at an appalling level.

Over the past several weeks in Chicago, protesters, led by Father Michael Pfleger, have taken over public areas to draw attention to their demands for an end to violence in the city.

Between protests, shootings in Chicago have continued uninterrupted, last weekend being a prime example of the mindless violence on display.

The Chicago Tribune reports that "at least 73 people were shot," including 11 who were killed, during one of the most violent weekends of the year.

Obviously, it takes more than a few protesters preaching to the choir to make a dent on this issue.

Chicago police say they've made a concerted effort to reduce the violence by focusing law enforcement efforts on removing illegal guns from the street. So far this year, they've seized more than 5,500 illegal weapons, resulting in a reduction of gun-related injuries.

That's all well and good, but if the focus on guns has done some good — it surely has — it's difficult to see amid all the carnage.

What is the problem? Gang violence, simple disputes that get out of hand, a sense of hopelessness and indifference to human life — one could speculate endlessly on the mindset that is causing so much human misery.

More important, what's the key to stopping these random acts of violence? Is there a solution to stopping them?

All the incidents have similarities in that they involve gunplay. But these shootings are taking place in a variety of different venues, including at a block party, at a funeral and one on someone's front porch for reasons that are not at all clear.

Police say gang members are using the cover of large crowds to exact revenge against their rivals.

"We won't be overrun by that small element that's committing these reckless acts," said Fred Waller, the city's chief of the police patrol division.

But, to a degree, the city is being overrun. Hospital emergency rooms were overwhelmed by patients with gunshot wounds, as well as their relatives and friends who showed up to stand vigil.

One hospital, Mount Sinai, reached a point where it could accept no more new patients because it was at capacity.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has repeatedly pledged to bring this carnage to an end. So have other politicians.

It takes more than rhetoric to achieve that goal. But what, specifically, will do the trick remains to be determined.

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