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Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016

Campaigns ignore the toughest issues

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Living in Chicago is more dangerous than living in Iraq or Afghanistan. Well, at least that's the case given some fascinating numbers released this week. Depending on what official statistic you use, it appears that more people were killed in Chicago this summer than in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.

An estimated 123 Chicago residents were killed from Memorial Day to Labor Day while 65 American soldiers were killed in Iraq. Granted the comparison is vastly different. Yet it does illustrate a couple of points.

During the presidential campaign, the issue of urban violence is totally ignored. But if your goal as a nation is to ensure the safety of our residents, then the war in Iraq should take a back seat to urban violence in terms of fatalities.

Though I don't know the numbers, I would strongly suspect the same case can be made for other urban areas. But though there are abundant suggestions on how to end the conflict and killing in Iraq, not a word is said of urban violence.

And speaking of presidential campaigns, is not one person going to address illegal immigration? Have we simply accepted the warped notion that there is nothing we can do about the flood of illegal immigrants crossing our border? I would assume the potential voting power of the new Hispanic voter is so great that neither candidate will touch the subject. But gather around a coffee shop in this area and the topic surfaces time after time.

There is perhaps little we can do about urban violence. A culture of violence and total lack of respect for others is far too pervasive in far too many urban settings. Blame it on drugs, guns, poverty, the breakdown to the family unit - there is no shortage of potential reasons. Yet the stark reality is that in some neighborhoods, violence is virtually accepted. Even looking at the Chicago numbers, the murders are overwhelmingly located in one section of the urban area. Recognizing the problem is much easier than finding a solution.

If you break down the many issues facing this country, all too often the most obvious needs are largely ignored in national campaigns. Urban violence falls squarely into that category.

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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen