Sen. Richard Durbin, the palpable frustration in his voice elevated after learning on air Wednesday that a third child had died in the wake of shootings this week in Chicago , had this to say about the factors behind the city’s spiking murder rate:
‘Kids who are 13- and 14-year-olds have access to semiautomatic weapons and are spraying these bullets in crime scenes that are killing so many innocent people. ... They get access to weapons as easily as cellphones.’
Sen. Richard Durbin
“I am proud to represent the city of Chicago,” declared the senior senator from Illinois, who hails from downstate, speaking with Willie Geist of MSNBC , but the “[h]eartbreaking violence — gun violence — which has claimed hundreds of lives already this year ... is absolutely unacceptable.”
As President Donald Trump would do in his press conference a day later , Durbin noted in the MSNBC interview that Chicago’s violent crime is highly localized. At least half of the gun-violence deaths occur in two to three specific, pinpointable segments of the city, by Durbin’s description. The perpetrators of these crimes, he said, are typically products of dysfunctional families and desperate neighborhoods.
As to his prescription for returning Chicago’s murder rate to the downtrend in which it had been for decades, until a headline-making jump in 2016, Durbin said the city needs all the federal, state and local resources that can be mustered to provide the training and authority to strengthen the municipal police force; courts that more proportionately punish gun crimes; and house-by-house, block-by-block work at the neighborhood level.