With the Autumnal Equinox a few weeks away, Labor Day weekend is often seen as the unofficial end of summer in America. Children take to the streets to have some final adventures before school begins and winter descends. Families have cookouts and enjoy the summer sun, which sets noticeably earlier. Only the streets of Chicago seemed more like a warzone than a town bidding farewell to the sunny season because of gun violence that claimed eight lives and wounded at least 25 others.
A string of shootings—the report does not suggest that they are connected—beginning on Saturday morning shortly after 11 am and ending around 8 pm Monday evening has left a number of Chicago residents in shock and afraid of their own neighborhoods.
The victims were mostly in their early 20s, although the eldest victim was Carl Pate, 56, and the youngest was Maurice Knowles, only 16 years-old. He was shot in the chest while sitting on his porch Monday evening, succumbing to his injuries at a nearby hospital.
“I just moved here,” said David Westin, a resident of one of the affected neighborhoods, “and I’m about to move again. It’s scary. Thank goodness there were no kids playing outside.”
According to The Red Line Project, a news and entertainment site local to Chicago, the city has seen a recent increase in the numbers of homicides per year since2004. In the early and mid-1990s, Chicago had over 800 homicides per year, but those numbers decreased. 2011 saw the lowest homicide-rate since 1990, but that number jumped up significantly in 2012 and it seems as if it is on-pace to increase this year. Despite these murders, Chicago has some of the most stringent gun laws in the country which are currently facing multiple legal challenges by gun-rights advocates.