While much of the country is dismayed by the constant barrage of police brutality stories, such as the recent death of Staten Island resident Eric Garner while in the custody of New York City police, some Chicago residents are calling for a heavier law enforcement presence in their city — the National Guard.
With journalist Roland Martin, a Chicago resident himself, leading the parade in a piece on the Daily Beast, Chicagoans are looking for any answer they can find to the rash of gun violence that has exploded in the city this summer.
As Martin points out, there were 84 people shot and 16 killed on the July Fourth weekend alone. Overall, there have been more than 1,000 people shot since the beginning of the year.
“Some critics have said that putting troops on the ground is the wrong signal to send,” Martin writes. “I disagree. There is no reason the National Guard can’t drop a dragnet over the hot spots in Chicago. They can erect barricades and check points, inspect cars, confiscate guns, run warrant checks and shut down the cartels in the city. In effect, Chicago needs a troop surge like what we saw in Iraq and Afghanistan. If we wanted to make the lives of residents there safer, why not do the same for Americans?”
In rallies, other Chicago residents in neighborhoods under siege have also called for help from the National Guard, desperately seeking assistance from anywhere they can get it.
But not all Chicagoans think the National Guard is the answer. After Martin’s piece ran, writer and activist Mikki Kendall started a Twitter hashtag #FixingChicago, where she listed all the things that should be done rather than sending in the National Guard. Among her suggestions for fixing Chicago were keeping schools, clinics, transit and ERs open, building more affordable housing and raising the minimum wage. Her hashtag soon blossomed as others went on Twitter to offer their solutions.
Martin’s call for the National Guard echoes the call many parents and communities made for police officers in the schools to combat school violence — but many came to regret it as the police presence resulted in many more students being locked up for offenses that in earlier years might not have even resulted in school suspensions.