After another bloody holiday weekend that brought the total number of fatal and non-fatal shooting victims to 1,000, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has announced he will not run for a third term, possibly setting in motion a political free-for-all among possible successors.
Fox News quoted Emanuel stating, “This has been the job of a lifetime, but it is not a job for a lifetime…For the last seven and a half years I’ve given my all every day and left everything on the field. This commitment has required significant sacrifice all around. … We have more to do and from now until then, we will do everything in our power to get it done and walk out the door hopefully leaving Chicago and Chicagoans in a better place.”
But can he leave the city a better place, or will his departure make it a better place?
The city has been sued repeatedly by the Second Amendment Foundation and National Rifle Association over gun control issues since the U.S. Supreme Court nullified the city’s long-standing handgun ban in 2010. That case, McDonald v. City of Chicago, was brought by SAF, and a separate lawsuit was brought by NRA, both to be consolidated when the high court finally heard oral arguments leading to the 5-4 ruling that also incorporated the Second Amendment to the states via the 14th Amendment.
Strict gun control has not resulted in a reduction in violent crime, though that depends upon perspective. Last year the city saw more than 660 people murdered in the city. In 2016, the body count reached 781, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, so the murder tally for 2017 represented a 15 percent decline. So far this year, according to one website that tracks the mayhem, there have been 397 homicides including 339 involving firearms.
Homicides have not been the only problem during Emanuel’s tenure. As noted by the Chicago Tribune, he has served “two tumultuous terms in office that have included the largest round of school closings in the city’s history, a teacher’s strike, the corruption conviction of his onetime schools chief…a sex abuse scandal at Chicago Public Schools, record tax increases to shore up the city’s pensions and the Laquan McDonald police shooting that led to a federal investigation of the Police Department and sagging support among African-American voters.”
There is some suspicion that he’s stepping out of office next May in order to avoid a bruising re-election campaign that, considering the circumstances, he couldn’t win despite claims to the contrary.
Emanuel still has one long winter ahead, and four months that could bring the murder count up to last year’s level. It’s not likely he will be leaving office on a high note.
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