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Chicago Murders, a silenced War Zone

The political and economic eye can create a close mindedness on the living situations of populations of people who are on a common scale ignored because of their poverty. In this article, one of the key things to observe is vulnerability within populations, centering on 1995 Chicago heat wave.  The war on heat that Chicago experienced lead to the realization of problems and injustices left unnoticed until the moment the death toll skyrocketed. The heat wave was the way in which government officials came to notice the poor of Chicago, or at least considered.  This death toll opened up questions of social organization in low-income minority neighborhoods and reasons in some of their survivals and deaths. One of the most interesting aspects of the article was in answering the question on why some groups die and others did not through the analysis of the lifestyle of the people. The article states that many officials came to state that the best way to protect the poor is to force them to protect. While the government claimed the elderly specifically did not want help from the government, they failed to notice the social imperatives of living in the “hood.”  Government officials failed to see the insecurity that many of these people have in these communities. People feared the crime more than the heat, thus many elderly locked their doors and windows during the heat wave, causing them to die in their own personalized oven.  The same government programs that have provided them with minimal services if not any services isolate the “socially isolated.” Thus, while the government creates these notions of justification for the poverty, they fail to look at the social vulnerability that invades these populations from seeking the help of government agencies.

Chicago’s struggle in 1995 is not the only example of Chicago enduring struggle, trauma and violence.  Gang war, drug violence and poverty, specifically, among youth makes Chicago king of homicides in the United States.  Since 2008, more than 530 youth have been killed in Chicago with 80 percent of the homicides occurring in twenty-two of the minority community areas of the South and West sides. In 2008, 509 died in Chicago due to homicide while in Iraq 314 died.  Such statistics have made Chicago known as three times as deadly as NYC and twice as violent as Los Angeles. This shows that one does not need to go that far to see the war zones of communities that are tainted from the poverty and economic injustices of their situations. Possible causes for violence in the community can be attributed to poverty, the continued rivalry between enforcement, the lack of funding in public works, from schools to community centers.  Modern impoverishment and struggle is causing people to move into the drug business, in order to get by.  However, the true cause of such problem is in the lack of opportunity.  If government officials were to take notice of the struggle of these communities of people, we would be acknowledging social situations that could eradicate or at least drop levels of crime and homicide.


Below I have provided a Kanye West and Jay Z song that strictly depicts the struggle of living in Chicago as well as the current homicide count map.


One response to “Chicago Murders, a silenced War Zone

  1. I completely agree with your analogy of war. This entire society is a war zone. The neo-liberal politicians, and many racist groups are in an all out war against the marginalized, the poor, and the people of color, yet this is not an openly visible war. This war is hidden behind a façade, and behind the suits and institution the powerful create. Racism is still alive. A silent war is being fought, which is only visible when natural disasters or problems like the 1995 heat wave arise which ultimately push the problem to the breaking point which is almost always the problems are explicitly visible or exposed.

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