[URBAN NOTE] “The boredom and the terror of gang life in Chicago’s violent 2016”
The Toronto Star carries John Eligon’s article from The New York Times looking at the terrible urban violence in Chicago.
The young men who call themselves Gangster Disciples skirted by an empty lot. They marched past a “Stop the Violence” mural painted on a corner store, coming to a halt when they saw members of a rival gang, the Black Disciples.
It was late September on a busy South Side intersection, and now tensions were escalating, gang members who were there recalled.
There were glares, they said. Then words.
“You’re a rat,” a Black Disciple said to one of the Gangster Disciples who he believed had given the police information about him.
Things were about to blow.
It had been exactly 90 days since some of these same men had sat across from one another in an airy church hall to broker peace and confront a hard truth: The gang war they had inherited and were viciously continuing was helping to unravel parts of this city, where the levels of violence were reaching horrific new heights.
With 768 murders as of Tuesday, according to the Chicago Tribune, 2016 has been Chicago’s deadliest year since 1997. Toronto, which has a comparable population, has seen fewer than a tenth as many homicides this year, at 67.