I was checking the local news this morning and saw something that has been bothering me all day. There was a report about how Chicago’s homicide rate has fallen to its lowest in many years and there were “only” 16 homicides in March compared to 52 in March 2012.
The reporter wondered whether it was police working overtime, something which has been well-documented and actually visible in terms of police presence if you work in the south side of the city like I do.
“Or…” the reporter asked, “could it be divine intervention?”
And then they cut to some asshole named Rev. James Meeks from the Salem Baptist Church, who stated he made a public prayer that was uploaded to YouTube, asking god to reduce the homicide rate to only 14 a month. And so god obviously answered his prayer.
The news report was giving equal validity to both theories for why the homicide rate went down. I suppose god intervened somehow and caused some murderers to get stuck in traffic or forget to load their guns.
Now I’ve gotten shit from religious people if I question the motives of an interventionist god in the wake of a tragic event. I still remember how outraged that idiot acs got once because obviously I was a smug white atheist and I was being condescending to POC by bringing it up. But here is a scenario where a man genuinely believes that god intervened and reduced the number of people who died in Chicago in the last 2 months.
So god can obviously stop violence from happening but 6 month-old Jonylah Watkins gets shot 5 times while sitting in her father’s lap - that’s one of the many questions I have for Rev. James Meeks or any religious person who would like to explain because I do not get it
One thing that people should note about the post going around about media and Chicago violence is that West Rogers Park is not a ‘white neighborhood’. Rogers Park and West Rogers Park are about 60% non-white and they are home to Devon Avenue where a huge South Asian community lives. And most of the white people who live in Rogers Park are Loyola University students.
It’s true, the local media will focus a lot more on shootings in the north side of the city than the south side. They’ll see south side shootings as commonplace and ~normal~ and it’s true that there is hypersegregation between the north and south sides of the city. But it is a mistake to assume that every north side neighborhood is a ‘white neighborhood’. I lived in Rogers Park for 8 years and it is an incredibly diverse community and the crime there still disproportionately affects people of color. So it is just as important as violence in other areas of the city, just not more important because it’s in the north side, as the media loves to latch onto.