When Zachary Fardon resigned as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, he apparently did not do it as “abruptly” as reported by the Chicago Tribune, because he took time to write a five-page analysis of the city’s violence problem and he blames social media for driving it.
“Today’s gun violence is driven by social media,” Fardon wrote in an open letter that was published by the Tribune online. “And a corollary of that is that gun violence has become like a virus. One taunt through Instagram leads to a shooting, which leads to bragging on snapchat or Facebook, which leads to a retaliation shooting, and then the cycle repeats. The virus spreads.”
Before making that point, he intimated that legal problems for Chicago police had made them timid, and as a result, armed thugs are emboldened.
“So by January 2016,” Fardon wrote, “the city was on fire. We had no police superintendent. Cops were under scrutiny…So cops stopped making stops. And kids started shooting more – because they could, and because the rule of law, law enforcement, had been delegitimized. And that created an atmosphere of chaos.”
The Obama-appointed federal attorney’s proposed solution might give First Amendment advocates pause, however.
“The virus of gun play moves through social media,” Fardon stated. “We can stop or stem that. Don’t send in the National Guard, send in the tech geeks. If a gang member makes CPD’s Strategic Subject List, find a way to curb or real-time monitor that gang member’s social media accounts. If kids have convictions or overt gang affiliations, find a way to curb their social media. I recognize that First Amendment issues come into play, but let’s test those limits. Lives are at stake.”
It is the same mantra one hears from the gun prohibition lobby, with an important exception. Instead of focusing on individuals with criminal records, anti-gunners prefer to curb everyone’s Second Amendment rights.
Fardon noted that Chicago’s “entrenched gang problem” is limited to a few neighborhoods on the South and West sides of the city.
Recently, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson appealed to lawmakers in Springfield to pass legislation that would stiffen penalties for repeat offenders found in possession of firearms illegally. The notion is not dissimilar to the “Three Strikes and You’re Out” philosophy pioneered in Washington State more than 20 years ago. Commit a crime, do the time. Do it repeatedly and you’re finished.
The proposal in Illinois would take people off the street when they are caught a second time with a gun they shouldn’t have. People in jail can’t commit crimes on the street.
Chicago’s body count is already over 100, and the long, hot days of summer still lay ahead.