What are, if any, the solutions for the horrific violence that takes place in major cities, including Chicago?
There’s been no shortage of Chicago-area public officials who’ve decried the horrific level of violence in the city and promised to do something about it.
They’ve all failed, any improvements coming mostly on the fringes of the problem. Large numbers of individuals being shot and killed or shot and wounded, mostly on the weekends, continues unabated.
The problem, in fact, is so intractable that it strikes many as just being a sad fact of life in certain neighborhoods in certain cities — Chicago, St. Louis, Baltimore to name just a few.
Now Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan is taking a shot at the problem. Wish him luck because he — not to mention the rest of the people in Illinois — will need it to make anything approaching progress.
Madigan announced Friday that he’s establishing the “House Firearm Public Awareness Task Force, which will review the issue of gun violence and make recommendations designed to reduce violence.”
Madigan appointed Chicago state Rep. La Shawn K. Ford to serve as chairman of the body and nine other Democrats to serve under him. Republicans have indicated they’ll be pleased to join the task force, although Republican Leader Jim Durbin will name his appointees later.
The task force apparently was created by Madigan at Ford’s urging, and it’s hard to imagine what proposals the legislators will make that already have not been publicly discussed.
Although crime is a citywide issue in Chicago, the kind of incidents at the root of this particular problem involve those perpetrated by individuals or gang members who are armed with illegal guns.
Frequently, the shootings are the product of small or foolish arguments that almost defy comprehension by outsiders.
This kind of violence is not limited to major cities. Champaign-Urbana has seen more than its share of mindless shooting incidents that have cost people their lives.
They’ve frequently involved gun-carrying youngsters who act impulsively, often to their everlasting regret.
It is difficult to be optimistic about how this legislative task force will address this vexing problem. But the status quo is so bad that whatever it does certainly can’t hurt.