WBEZ | Long Hot Summer http://www.wbez.org/tags/long-hot-summer Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Long Hot Summer: Chicago's gun economy http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/long-hot-summer-chicagos-gun-economy-101298 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/handgun%20flickr%20barjack.jpg" title="(flickr/Keary O)" /></div><p>James Holmes was charged with 24 counts of murder on Monday morning after allegedly killing a dozen people and wounding 58 others in a Colorado movie theater on July 20. Just days after the shooting&mdash;and in light of the tragic event&mdash;the Chicago City Council revisited the city&rsquo;s controversial gun ordinance.</p><p>The controversial law recently came under fire when U.S. District Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan struck down the section used to deny a man a gun permit because of a prior misdemeanor conviction. The judge argued that the ordinance violated the citizen&rsquo;s right to bear arms under the Second Amendment. Last week, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/25/chicago-gun-ordinance-ema_n_1624318.html" target="_blank">as promised</a>, Mayor Rahm Emanuel responded to the ruling. With City Council&rsquo;s support, the mayor rewrote the ordinance to permanently bar anyone who has been convicted of a felony violent crime and impose a five-year ban on anyone convicted of a misdemeanor violent crime.</p><p>This is not the first time a tragic event sparked a call for new gun control laws. But, UCLA law professor <a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/07/20/why-don-t-mass-shootings-lead-to-gun-control.html" target="_blank">Adam Winkler says</a>, over the past twenty years, it&rsquo;s become increasingly clear that mass shootings, no matter how tragic, don&rsquo;t lead to reforms of gun laws. This is largely because gun control is a political hot button&mdash;as the National Rifle Association increases its political significance, gun control advocacy groups struggle to stay afloat. The other obstacle facing gun control, the <a href="http://www.law.ucla.edu/faculty/all-faculty-profiles/professors/Pages/adam-winkler.aspx" target="_blank"><em>Gun Fight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms</em> <em>in America</em></a> author says, is that it&rsquo;s difficult to find effective laws to prevent shootings&mdash;but that wasn&rsquo;t always the case.</p><p>The National Firearms Act, the first major federal gun control law, was prompted by one of Chicago&rsquo;s most famous residents: Al Capone. The blood from the St. Valentine&rsquo;s Day massacre was splattered across front pages around the country in the winter of 1929. In response, President Franklin Roosevelt himself led a political movement which resulted in the passing of the NFA in 1934, thereby restricting access to machine guns and other firearms favored by gangsters. &nbsp;</p><p>Yet, nearly 80 years later, Chicago remains plagued by gangsters strapped with firearms. What&rsquo;s even more puzzling is that the city and the state of Illinois have some of the strictest gun laws in the nation. Illinois is the only state without a concealed carry law on the books. But Winkler says when it comes to constitutional law, it&rsquo;s not good to be an outlier.</p><p>The <a href="http://www.atf.gov/" target="_blank">Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives</a> estimates there are more than 280 million firearms in the U.S. And if the number of shootings in Chicago is any indication, a good number of those guns are in the Windy City.</p><p>To better understand the economics and legal infrastructure around guns in Chicago, <em>Afternoon Shift</em> spoke with Winkler, University of Chicago <a href="http://crimelab.uchicago.edu/" target="_blank">Crime Lab</a> director <a href="http://harrisschool.uchicago.edu/directory/faculty/jens_ludwig" target="_blank">Jens Ludwig</a> and Special Agent Thomas Ahern. Ahern serves as the public information officer for the Chicago Field Office of the ATF.</p></p> Mon, 30 Jul 2012 13:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/long-hot-summer-chicagos-gun-economy-101298 Long Hot Summer: The tension between hip hop and violence http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/long-hot-summer-tension-between-hip-hop-and-violence-101110 <p><p><em>Summer after summer, Chicagoans are consumed by violence and a seemingly exponential murder rate. And, it seems, summer after summer, we talk about the need for whole families, better education, jobs and police boots on the ground&mdash;yet, the cycle continues. This year, </em>Afternoon Shift <em>hopes to move beyond the headlines in hopes of better understanding the violence&mdash;it roots and possible remedy&mdash;through frank, forward-thinking, holistic conversations in a series we&rsquo;re calling, </em>Long Hot Summer.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/chiefkeef1.jpg" title="Chief Keef" /></div><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="125" scrolling="no" src="http://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F53856981&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false&amp;color=ff7700" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Hip hop and violence often intersect. Theirs is a tense and complicated dance where no one leads&mdash;either component can serve as a catalyst or outlet for the other. And Chicago now finds itself at the epicenter of violence and mainstream hip hop&mdash;the city&rsquo;s street sound is getting serious, unprecedented play as the murder rate climbs. Chicago has certainly produced marquee artists in the past&mdash;the Windy City is, after all, the home of Kanye, Common and Lupe Fiasco, to name a few. But artists from Chicago have typically been associated with rap&#39;s indie and conscious styles. In other words, Chicago has never had its street moment&mdash;until now.</p><p>As cheap internet access became readily available in Chicago&rsquo;s poorest neighborhoods, young artists came online in droves. They flooded YouTube with their rhymes and homemade music videos; they took to Twitter and Facebook en masse. Suddenly, sending a tape to Kanye wasn&rsquo;t the only option.</p><p><a href="https://twitter.com/ChiefKeef" target="_blank">Chief Keef</a> is arguably the biggest name in Chicago hip hop right now. The internet sensation&rsquo;s breakout video, <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WcRXJ4piHg" target="_blank">&ldquo;I Don&rsquo;t Like,&rdquo;</a> at press time, had nearly 9.5 million views on YouTube. He <a href="http://www.fakeshoredrive.com/2012/06/chief-keef-gets-gbe-imprint-movie-deal-beats-by-keef-headphones.html/" target="_blank">reportedly</a> signed a deal with Interscope Records worth millions in June. Freelance writer <a href="http://www.spin.com/articles/chicago-rap-blazes-streets?page=0" target="_blank">David Drake recently profiled</a> Keef and other up-and-coming Chicago artists for <em>SPIN</em>.</p><p>&ldquo;Much of what has made Keef&#39;s controversial music resonate so widely throughout the city is that his young age and seemingly reckless lyrics &mdash; dense with references to local sets, cliques, neighborhoods, and gangs &mdash; appear to epitomize this very sense of having lost control of the younger generation,&rdquo; Drake wrote.</p><p>That uncontrolled, reckless vibe that&#39;s resonating amongst Chicago&rsquo;s young emcees is what concerns veterans like <a href="http://www.elchethemovement.com/" target="_blank">Che &quot;Rhymefest&quot; Smith</a>. The hip-hop artist and activist, who shares a Grammy with Kanye West, considers it a personal responsibility to educate younger generations about the potential impact of music&mdash;that rhymes can be used as a tool or a weapon. And he has no patience for the latter.</p><p>Rhymefest is hoping to drown out the negative notes with theme songs for life. In an effort to stem the violence in Chicago through music, his foundation, Power of Purpose, has teamed up with the Black Youth Project to provide a platform for positive plays. <a href="http://www.blackyouthproject.com/2012/07/calling-all-artists-sumbit-music-to-the-pledge-mixtape/" target="_blank">The Pledge Mixtape</a> will be a 13-song CD comprised of songs from various local artists hoping to take back their communal power through music. Artists like Mikkey Halstead, K. Fox and Rhymefest himself will provide tracks to bring attention to the tunes&mdash;but will they grab 9.5-million-views-type attention?</p><p>Rhymefest joins host Steve Edwards, music writer Jessica Hopper, Pastor Phil Jackson and emcee Teh&rsquo;Ray &quot;<a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/PHENOM/169023961506" target="_blank">Phenom</a>&quot; Hale for an hour-long discussion about the relationship between hip hop and violence. <em>Afternoon Shift</em> will also hear from up-and-coming emcee, <a href="http://www.facebook.com/chancetherapper" target="_blank">Chance the Rapper</a>. To join the conversation, call <strong>(312) 923-9239</strong> or chime in on Twitter at <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/search/%23AfternoonShift" target="_blank">#AfternoonShift.</a></p></p> Mon, 23 Jul 2012 12:22:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/long-hot-summer-tension-between-hip-hop-and-violence-101110 Long Hot Summer: Understanding the crime stats fueling Supt. McCarthy and his long-term strategy http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/long-hot-summer-understanding-crime-stats-fueling-supt-mccarthy-and-his-long-term <p><div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/6903820882_8b7dd3dce4_z.jpg" title="Stop The Violence mural on the 1800 Block of North Drake Avenue. (Flickr/Jeff Zoline)" /></div></div><div><em>Summer after summer, Chicagoans are consumed by violence and a seemingly exponential murder rate. And, it seems, summer after summer, we talk about the need for whole families, better education, jobs and police boots on the ground&mdash;yet, the cycle continues. This year, </em>Afternoon Shift<em> hopes to move beyond the headlines in hopes of better understanding the violence&mdash;it roots and possible remedy&mdash;through frank, forward-thinking, holistic conversations in a series we&rsquo;re calling, </em>Long Hot Summer.<br /><div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="http://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F53072108&amp;auto_play=true&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;color=ff7700" width="100%"></iframe></p></div>Police superintendents weren&rsquo;t always slaves to crime statistics, but CompStat changed all that. The system, which collects data on everything from curfew violations to murder, generates reports on crime trends within a geographic area. Once the numbers are crunched, ranking officers are called to the carpet to field questions from their command staff and chief, who will undoubtedly be probed on the numbers by the mayor &mdash; and citizens &mdash; of the city he&rsquo;s been charged to protect.</div><p>The system came into vogue in the mid-1990s after New York City&rsquo;s police commissioner, Bill Bratton, implemented CompStat to increase accountability in the department. During Bratton&rsquo;s roughly two-year tenure, the murder rate halved. And so, when Bratton left, CompStat and its emphasis on accountability remained. Garry McCarthy was a captain in Bratton&rsquo;s army at the time and made a name for himself at Bratton&#39;s CompStat meetings. Soon enough, he was running them.</p><p>Crime statistics have been the sharpest tool in McCarthy&rsquo;s belt as he&rsquo;s crafted a once unimaginable career. Before coming to Chicago, McCarthy was the top cop in Newark, New Jersey, where he helped reduce the murder rate by roughly a third.</p><p>Supt. McCarthy and his meteoric career are <a href="http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/August-2012/Garry-McCarthy-Under-the-Gun/" target="_blank">profiled</a> in a piece by Noah Isackson the August issue of <em>Chicago </em>magazine. All eyes are on the superintendent as he combats the immediate concerns of a rising murder rate with a long-view strategy. He&rsquo;s also battling a broader misinterpretation of the numbers, according to crime expert <a href="http://www.law.yale.edu/faculty/TMeares.htm" target="_blank">Tracey Meares</a>. She says it&rsquo;s inaccurate to say that Chicago is dangerous&mdash;because the city as a whole is not dangerous.</p><p>That said, Meares explained that the city, specifically areas of high crime like police districts 11 and 7, are incredibly dangerous, lethal even, for a select network of people. Meares pointed to the work of one of her frequent collaborators, Andrew V. Papachristos to sharpen the point. In 2011, the sociologist wrote a piece called &ldquo;<a href="http://www.papachristos.org/Publications_2_files/The%20Small%20World%20of%20Murde_v8_10dec.pdf" target="_blank">The Small World of Murder</a>,&rdquo; wherein he explained that 70 percent of the homicides in the 11<sup>TH</sup> Police District occurred in a network consisting of only 1,500 people, all with criminal records. For people in this network, the odds of being a homicide victim is 30 out of every 1,000 people. To further underline his point, Papchristos pointed out that the risk of stepping on a land mine in Afghanistan is less than 10 out of 1,000&mdash;meaning it is safer to walk around a real war zone than it is for young men in this network to walk around West Garfield Park.</p><div>&nbsp;<p>&nbsp;</p><p>So then what is the risk for West Garfield Park&rsquo;s other 80,000 residents? When the network is removed, the odds drop to 1 in 1,000. Meares says this context is imperative to understanding crime statistics and McCarthy&rsquo;s long-term strategy, which is bolstered by Meares&rsquo; ideas about legitimacy. The Yale Law School professor is helping Chicago&rsquo;s police chief craft his strategy and train his troops. She joined <em>Afternoon Shift</em> to share her sage advice for fighting crime in Chicago.</p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 16 Jul 2012 14:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/long-hot-summer-understanding-crime-stats-fueling-supt-mccarthy-and-his-long-term Long Hot Summer: Getting kids off the corners—and back to church http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/long-hot-summer-getting-kids-corners%E2%80%94and-back-church-100596 <p><p><em>Summer after summer, Chicagoans are consumed by violence and a seemingly exponential murder rate. And, it seems, summer after summer, we talk about the need for whole families, better education, jobs and police boots on the ground&mdash;yet, the cycle continues. This year, </em>Afternoon Shift <em>hopes to move beyond the headlines in hopes of better understanding the violence&mdash;it roots and possible remedy&mdash;through frank, forward-thinking, holistic conversations in a series we&rsquo;re calling, </em>Long Hot Summer.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/stop%20the%20violence%20flickr.jpg" title="(flickr/Zol87)" /></div><p>Author and <em>Chicago Sun-Times</em> columnist <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/fountain/index.html" target="_blank">John Fountain</a> has been writing about violence in Chicago since he was a cub reporter at the <em>Chicago Tribune</em> in 1989&mdash;though he&rsquo;d been living the beat long before that. Fountain grew up on Chicago&rsquo;s West Side, in K-Town. There, he was exposed to poverty and its symptoms: drugs, broken homes, gang violence and crime. But he knew he wanted to make a difference. Part of that, he says, was his Pentecostal upbringing; Fountain&rsquo;s grandfather was the pastor of the True Vine church. Fountain went on to become a deacon in the church and maintains that faith holds the answer to so many problems.</p><p>&ldquo;When the church moves beyond its doors, it can do incredibly powerful things,&rdquo; Fountain said.</p><p>It did for Fountain: A father at 17, a college dropout at 19, a welfare case soon after, Fountain nearly lost all hope. But faith, he wrote in his <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1586480847?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=truvin-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=1586480847" target="_blank">memoir</a>, was his own true vine.&nbsp;</p><p>Fountain says the faith community remains a vital part of the black community. &ldquo;In some ways,&rdquo; he explained, &ldquo;it is an overweight, cumbersome, sleeping giant that needs to get fit&hellip;and return to the business of doing good work.&rdquo;</p><p>Fountain shared his thoughts on <em>Afternoon Shift&rsquo;s</em> most recent <em>Long Hot Summer</em> conversation. Also joining the conversation was Father Chuck Dahm, who has been at <a href="http://stpiusvparish.org/" target="_blank">St. Pius</a> in Pilsen for more than 25 years, and <a href="http://lawndalechurch.org/thafirehouse.html" target="_blank">Pastor Phil Jackson</a>, aka the &ldquo;hip hop pastor,&rdquo; who organizes various youth-centered programs in the Lawndale community.</p></p> Mon, 02 Jul 2012 15:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-07/long-hot-summer-getting-kids-corners%E2%80%94and-back-church-100596