These evil things come from within and defile a man.’” Luke 13:5 “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish. – Mark 7:23
On December 11, 2017 Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel declared Chicago a “Trump-Free Zone”, saying “Our motto: A city Trump will never sleep in. We don’t want him.” In November 2016, Emanuel declared Chicago a ‘sanctuary city’, where it’s policies prohibit law enforcement, city employees, funds or resources from assisting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in enforcing federal immigration law.
Fast forward to this past week. 12 people were murdered and 70 people wounded in one day in Chicago. The day before, at least 40 people were shot, 4 fatally, in a period of just 7 hours. Protestors marched in the streets of Chicago, calling for the resignation of the mayor. Democratic Illinois state Rep. and West Chicago native La Shawn Ford called Chicago the “bloodiest city in America”, saying the violence is worse than the days of gangster Al Capone. Ford said Chicago needs his help, stating “We have to make sure that President Trump recognizes that not everybody believes that Chicago is a ‘Trump-Free Zone.’”
Since the 2016 spike, Chicago’s murder rate exceeds other large cities. In a September 2017 article, the Chicago Tribune reported data from the University of Chicago Crime Lab showing spikes in homicides among the nation’s largest cities are not uncommon, but the spike in homicide rate in Chicago between 2015 and 2016 — an increase from 478 homicides in 2015 to 758 in 2016, a jump in homicide rate from 17.5 to 27.8 — is notable for its scale. “In the last 20 to 30 years of data we’ve looked at, we’ve never seen an increase that big for a large city,” said Max Kapustin, a University of Chicago Crime Lab research director. “For a city the size of Chicago, a 60 percent increase from one year to the next in homicide is really rare, so not a lot of examples you can look at and say (that the patterns are similar).”
“In the last 20 to 30 years of data we’ve looked at, we’ve never seen an increase that big for a large city. For a city the size of Chicago, a 60 percent increase from one year to the next in homicide is really rare, so not a lot of examples you can look at and say (that the patterns are similar).” – Max Kapustin, a University of Chicago Crime Lab research director.
What can be the cause for such an extreme, year-over-year murder rate in one city? One claim is the availability of firearms. But does this make sense? The city of Chicago has some of the strictest firearms laws in the country, similar also to those in other major cities like New York and Los Angeles.
For example, in Chicago you need a permit to buy rifles, shotguns and handguns, and you must register guns you own. In NYC, you need a Handgun Safety Certificate, and NY registers gun sales and serial numbers. In Los Angeles, you need a Firearm Owner Identification card to buy rifles, shotguns and handguns, but you do not have to register guns you own. In all three cities, open carry of firearms is illegal. When it comes to concealed carry, all three cities require a concealed carry license, with Chicago going further to prevent concealed carry in areas like schools. All three cities ban assault weapons. In Chicago, if you owned an assault weapon before the ban went into effect, you must modify it, disable it, or turn it into police. In NYC and LA, anyone owning an assault weapon prior to the ban can keep it but must register it.
Another claim for the murder rate is the lack of fathers in homes, to teach young men moral responsibility. In his book ‘Discrimination and Disparities’, Dr. Thomas Sowell shows that fatherless families increase the chance of young men ending up in prison, since the majority of prisoners “were raised with either one or no parent”, and “over half of all black kids in the U.S.” are in this situation. In his 2016 article ‘How The Liberal Welfare State Destroyed Black America’, John Perazzo reports “In the mid-1960s, the out-of-wedlock birth rate was 24.5% among blacks. By 1976, those figures rose to 50.3%. Today, the numbers stand at 73%.”
The most compelling claim was made by Mayor Emanuel in his August 6 press conference: “There is a shortage of values about what is right, what is wrong”. The mayor acknowledged Chicago’s murder rate points to a condition of the heart. Guns are not the issue. People’s moral compass is broken. We are not teaching our young people the biblical mandate that human life is sacred, and your behavior has consequences. As the mayor said, the crisis in Chicago centers on a distorted conviction about what is morally right versus wrong. Jesus Christ, in His confrontation with the religious leaders, explains it well.
Our verse this week is the culmination of the entire 7th chapter of the Gospel of Mark. In verse 6, after the religious leaders accuse Jesus’s disciples of breaking the law, He tells them they are hypocrites because “You honor God with your lips, but your heart is far from Him.” He goes on to explain to His disciples that “From within, out of the heart, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders…” (verse 21).
“You honor God with your lips, but your heart is far from Him.” … “From within, out of the heart, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders…” (verse 21).
What’s the solution for Chicago? Repent. Choose to turn from murder, by turning to Jesus Christ to be forgiven for your sin. He promises to give people who do a new heart. Chicago needs Jesus Christ.
“The Evidence of Faith’s Substance”, Article #307 – August 13, 2018