Thursday, 08 September 2011

Labor Day Weekend Violence: 13 Dead In New York, Eight In Chicago

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New York and Chicago were not the places to be during the Labor Day weekend this year. In New York, 67 people were shot over the weekend, killing more than a dozen, while weekend violence in Chicago left eight dead.

One event associated with the violence in New York was the annual West Indian Day Parade, which appears to be a primitive bacchanalia featuring drinking and overt carnality, but the violence was, the New York Times reported, more widespread.

The numbers indicate that it may well be safer to spend a holiday weekend in a U.S.-controlled combat zone in Iraq than in some areas of New York. Indeed, an American has not died in combat in Iraq since July.

Mayhem In The Big Apple

NBC New York reported the statistics from the police department, which are nothing if not indicative of how dangerous living in the big city can be.

Reported the network, “[u]pdated statistics obtained by NBC New York on Tuesday show that at least 67 people were shot between 12 a.m. Friday and 11:59 p.m. Monday.”

That includes nine on Friday, 10 on Saturday, 33 on Sunday and 15 on Monday.

Preliminary numbers indicate as many as 10 were killed.

One of the victims was a 56-year-old bystander watching the West Indian Day Parade. “In the police-involved shooting Monday near the parade in Brooklyn,” the network reported, “bullet fragments hit one police officer in the left arm and chest. He was hospitalized but was expected to survive. Another officer was grazed by a bullet.”

One shooter in that Crown Heights melee was killed along with a bystander, 56-year-old Denise Gay, who was shot while sitting on a stoop with her daughter nearby just two doors down from the exchange of gunfire. Another shooter was in serious condition at the hospital.

The New York Times, which somehow avoided a headline that totaled the number of shooting victims, reported a higher number of fatalities. “Police data shows that 52 shootings from Friday through Monday claimed 67 victims around the city, resulting in 13 deaths,” the Times reported.

The Times said the “spike of gunplay … has alarmed the Bloomberg administration even though the number of citywide shootings this year, through Sunday, is down 2 percent compared with the same period in 2010.”

The police have tied three of the shootings and five victims to the West Indian Day Parade, and say the tally could have been higher had officers not seized 14 illegal guns and arrested 16 people.

Not all the violence in New York was tied to the West Indian Day Parade, but enough of it was that one reporter must have asked the police chief whether the city should forbid it.

“Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Tuesday the city should not consider shutting down the parade, which often sees violence and had fatal shootings in 2003 and 2005,” NBC New York reported. "I don't think it'd be wise to close it down, but it's just unfortunate that there seems to be every year some violence attended to it," Kelly illogically added. 

Apparently, Kelly did not elaborate on the logic of permitting an annual parade that is clearly a magnet for violent criminals.

Chicago Mayhem

The weekend was nearly as dangerous in the City of the Big Shoulders (as Carl Sandburg described it). According to news reports, eight died in weekend violence. One victim was 12 years old. Another victim was a 32-year-old man bound to a wheelchair. The Chicago Sun Times reported a matter-of-fact killing: “A gunman walked up to a 32-year-old man in a wheelchair on the West Side early Saturday and opened fire, killing him.”

Monday was a relatively calm day given that only one Chicagoan died. “Between Friday night and Monday night seven men had been fatally shot and one stabbed to death in Chicago,” the Sun-Times reported.

The latest happened Monday night shortly before 10 p.m. when an 18-year-old man was shot in the shoulder in the Lawndale neighborhood.

He was standing with others outside in the 1300 block of South Kildare Avenue about 9:51 p.m. when someone approached on foot and fired shots, hitting him in the shoulder, police said. He was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital where he later died.

Sadarius Sims, of 5905 S. Indiana Ave., was pronounced dead at 10:23 p.m. at Mount Sinai Hospital after being shot at 1316 S. Kildare Ave., according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.

In something of a congratulatory note, the paper reported of Sims’s murder, “That was the only homicide in the city on Monday.”

Photo: Revelers "dance" with a New York city police officer on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn while participating in the West Indian Day parade in 2007: AP Images






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