More Opinion Worth Lot Less Than She Thinks

Once again, we have a self-declared expert on Chicago’s violence. This time it is gaming industry attorney and former candidate for Cook County State’s Attorney Donna More. She authored an OpEd in the Chicago Tribune on Wednesday March 8 that jumps on the bandwagon to support another equally uninformed opinion, that of Bob Milan.

More’s background does include stints as both a federal and Cook County prosecutor. From there she went to work for the Illinois Gaming Board and then went in to private practice representing the gaming industry. She is now a partner at Fox Rothschild and most recently ran a losing campaign for Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the assumptions in More’s OpEd.

“Our South and West sides continue to be victimized by shooters, and the city is on pace for another year of near-record gun violence. Gangs have added military-type weapons to their armory. Police have been making fewer traffic stops.”

While 762 murders are obviously tragic we would still need around a 30% increase in homicides before being remotely close to record breaking. While 2017 has started out worse we are nowhere near a record breaking pace.

You can see a theme forming among those pushing the Milan plan to bring in the National Guard. In Milan’s piece, that appeared exactly one week before in the same outlet, he also uses the narrative of gangs across Chicago using military grade weapons to push his plan. More picked it up and ran with it despite offering no more support for this false assumption than Milan offered. Too bad they both obviously only read the headlines of Chicago Tribune stories rather than the entire article.

Also, More pushes another false assumption that a reduction in police stops means an increase in crime and violence. One needs to only look at New York after the stop and frisk program was ruled unconstitutional. They experienced both a massive reduction in police stops and a reduction in crime. All of this is simply much more complicated than either Milan or More can imagine.

“It is time for a radical response. Time to stop talking and start doing. Time to take steps to clear the air of gunshots so our lofty plans for more police and more jobs can seed and grow rather than wither from the spray of automatic weapon fire.”

Adding more cops is hardly a radical response; it’s a tried-and-true response with absolutely no proof behind it that it works. If it did, this problem would have been solved long ago. Now, calling for a major jobs plan sounds like a radical – if by radical we mean reasonable – response. So where’s the plan?

Most Chicagoans, particularly those who live in killing fields like Englewood and North Lawndale, may be unaware of an experiment that virtually stopped the bleeding for one blessed weekend in November 2016.

On those amazing few days, Chicago police, Cook County sheriffs, state police and federal agents saturated the three most dangerous police districts in the city. Shooters were silenced. Open-air drug markets closed. Gangs couldn’t loiter at liquor stores, vacant lots and viaducts.

The strategy worked. The killing ceased. That weekend there was exactly one shooting — one — in the area under patrol.

So, More is advocating putting entire neighborhoods under martial law, which is not only unsustainable, but would only move the violence elsewhere. But somehow she – and her compatriots now filling the Trib op-ed pages – believe a six-month occupation will end a decades-long problem.

If we are truly serious about ending gun violence, we need this kind of bold action. We have to unpack the plan created by Robert Milan, former first assistant state’s attorney in the Cook County state’s attorney’s office, and former deputy U.S. Marshal Jim Smith.

The mission: crush the violence with a six-month saturation deployment of law enforcement that mirrors the November 2016 weekend experiment.

Otherwise, Chicago becomes the personification of a quote by the late Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel: “Because of indifference, one dies before one actually dies.”

White Chicago died long ago due to our indifference to the inter-generational poverty and segregation that has gripped this city since it was founded. More is absolutely silent on both of those issues. Where is the actual indifference coming from? White flight? Underfunded schools? City development plans that favor wealthy neighborhoods and tourist hot spots?

Tracy has nearly two decades of experience researching and working within criminal justice systems. When Tracy began pursuing a career dedicate to system reform, he found that no single organization existed to promote evidence-based discussions among law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. Recognizing that citizens in Chicago deserved the right to demand transparency in their criminal justice system, Siska established the Chicago Justice Project. He received his Master of Arts degree in Criminal Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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