Everyone has been abuzz the last few days about the potential deployment of National Guard troops to Chicago. The call for military involvement to protect city streets stems from two Chicago Democratic Representatives: John Fritchey and LaShawn Ford.
Their request comes at the heels of a recent surge in violent crime that includes a night last week that saw 7 people killed and 18 wounded. Chicago has seen 113 homicides this year, but is the current rise in crime out of the ordinary? Local activist Tio Hardiman doesn’t think so, and states, “There’s a spike [in violence] when the first hot days come” and goes on to explain that violence in Chicago has actually dropped over the last ten years.
Whether or not the rush of recent violence is “normal,” it is a cause for concern. For those insisting on military involvement in the situation, there are some adverse factors to consider. Though some say that military personnel will deter gang violence, critics believe that it might spark even more aggression – arguing that gang members may target soldiers to increase street cred and garner headlines.
People like Fritchey and Ford argue that the police are simply stretched too thin and cannot combat the rising violence on their own, but can the National Guard do any better? While police officers are trained to defuse violence, arrest suspects, and protect criminal evidence, men and women in the National Guard are soldiers trained in combat.
Opponents to the idea of bringing the National Guard into the city to combat violence fear that this could be the first step towards martial law. Will there be checkpoints and searches implemented for everyone entering certain neighborhoods to avoid charges or profiling? Will soldiers who are experienced with acting in crises like natural disasters or riots be taught proper police procedures, or will they operate under their own rules? Would a potential occupation affect you and your family living in Chicago?
There are many questions in the debate about the National Guard coming to Chicago. Head to the comments section and give your opinion – or leave a question of your own.