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No! The National Guard Should Not Police Chicago

Surrounding a chain of violence in Chicago, culminating with the shooting of a 9yr old Tyshawn Lee, there has been a petition filed via by a Christine Shipman of Clarksville, TN. The petition requesting the National Guard be deployed in Chicago to assist with the current state of gun violence. The petitioner has no photo and her profile is private so, very little is known about her identity or relationship if any to the family of Tyshawn.

Personally, I feel as though Chicagoan's can speak for themselves, and if petitions are taken, only signatures from residents should be valid, as opposed to residents of another state, who wouldn't be affected by a city being policed by military units.

The mere mention of the National Guard's presence to assist with domestic violence in any city is an admission of failure on behalf of that city's law enforcement. This is reflected in the Mayor and the Superintendent of Police. The community is also a reflection of its inhabitants; so, what does this say about the individuals who live there? Everyone is accountable. This isn't the first time that the notion of military policing has been proposed this year. Just last month surprisingly, Rev. Jessie Jackson a civil rights activist and his organization Operation PUSH called for a White House conference on gun violence in Chicago, urging the president to declare a state of emergency in Chicago as gun violence continues to plague the city with fear.

As a key figure in the Civil Rights Movement, it's ironic that Rev. Jessie Jackson, the man standing beside Dr. Martin King Jr. when he was assassinated would lead his people, organization, and followers into a "burning house" as Dr. Martin Luther King once said.  Declaring a state of emergency in Chicago is the same as declaring a preemptive martial law on the city's residents. According to the John Warner Defense Appropriation Act, under a state of emergency constitutional rights of citizens can be temporarily suspended and since the issue at hand is one where the President, if convinced that "domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable of maintaining public order", he may deploy the National Guard to regain control. Without a constitutional construct there are no guaranteed rights, no writs of habeas corpus for unlawful imprisonment, and felony charges can be granted without a grand jury's indictment. There's also the risk of innocent people being shot and killed by National Guard's. Surely, America hasn't forgotten the Kent State University massacre; a horrifying tragedy leaving 4 unarmed college kids dead, 9 wounded, and 1 paralyzed, at the hands of Ohio's National Guard. 

Pictures from 1970 Kent State University protests that resulted
in the National Guard opening fire on student protesters, killing 4.

Mr. Jackson should know all too well the inequality of blacks as a whole, nationwide. We can't address domestic violence in the community while ignoring the injustices infringed on the people every day by the city's own law enforcement and judicial system. How can you call for a state of emergency without calling for reform of city officials and their responsibility to the people? The Black and Hispanic communities are already dealing with racial profiling, police brutality, judicial injustice, and harassment on a daily basis and we have a leader in the black community insisting the military intervene? Where are all the demonstrators screaming for the National Guard to come police the Police.

Though, Chicago is experiencing record levels of gun violence and homicides on a regular bases; reaching a toll of approximately 2,600 victims shot so far this year, with 440 homicides, this is due to the availability of guns on the streets. At the same rate that minors are being hurt or killed in the street, there's an increase in minors having access to guns, gang activity, and a lack of community services to help families with poorer circumstances. There's also a lack of parental supervision and individual involvement in the community. 

Bringing in the National Guard will not result in a decrease in crime rates; it will create panic, fear, and repression at a time when the citizens already have very little trust in their city's law enforcement. Bringing in the National Guard not only will affect those who are committing crime, but it will significantly affect normal law-abiding residents; punishing the city for the failure of its law enforcement. This is preemptive Martial Law.

Police harassment and brutality related lawsuits have cost Chicago taxpayers $521 million over the last decade, that’s more than half a billion dollars according to an article published by the Chicago Sun-Times. With the city itself in a budget crisis how can it afford to pay all those settlements without exhausting its own resources and imposing higher taxes on its citizens? Rather than turning Chicago into a police state, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel and Superintendent of The Chicago Police Dept. Garry F. McCarthy should work together on devising a strategy for police reform; educating officers on prioritizing their workload to ensure that officers are where the citizens need them the most to protect and serve. The city doesn't need more officers, it needs police reform. The people shouldn't fear those who are meant to protect them, but yet they do. Officers need to become more involved in the community's struggles to show that they are there to protect and not just to harass. The city needs officers who are dedicated to stopping crime instead of those who are more interested in writing traffic tickets and racial-profiling.

To get involved please sign a petition requesting that the National Guard not be deployed in Chicago and for the Chicago police to take more accountability for their roles to serve and protect. Click here.