Despite the media play Chicago gets, it isn’t the official “Murder Capital of the U.S.A.”
That unhappy distinction - based on the murder rate per 100,000 people, not on the number of actual dead people on the streets - belongs to poor, under-populated Flint, Mich.
Chicago gets the bad rap - and the attention of the anti-gun nuts -- because it led the nation with 415 homicides last year. That’s more murders than any other city, but not even in the top 10 when you factor in population.
Thanks to its recent “Independence Day Massacre,” which left 18 dead and 82 wounded, Chicago’s murder toll has already hit 201 for this year.
Homicides have been trending down in Mayor Emanuel’s kind of town and other major cities for decades. Chicago had nearly 1,000 murders a year in the early 1990s.
But most of the city’s murder victims, and their murderers, continue to be young blacks and Latinos who either belonged to gangs or were the victims of their drive-by violence.
The slaughter in our inner cities, while not as bloody as it used to be, is our continuing national tragedy.
Chicago and statistically more dangerous cities like Detroit, New Orleans and Washington are perpetual war zones where Americans kill each other year round.
The only solution liberals have for ending gun violence in the cities is to take away everybody’s guns.
But Chicago already has some of the country’s toughest gun laws. They obviously don’t bother the local drug lords.
No one ever wants to address the underlying cause of the violence in our inner cities.
It’s not the presence of guns. It’s the absence of fathers in the homes of the gang-bangers who are using guns to shoot each other.
The numbers are depressing and well known. Nearly 2 in 3 black children grow up in homes without a father present. One in three Latino kids do.
We can thank the liberals and their 1960s welfare programs for many of these broken families.
It was their “War on Poverty” that gave unmarried mothers financial independence, made fathers superfluous and undermined the formation of two-parent families.
Fathers were let off the hook for their baby making and disappeared from family life. Mothers and grandmothers raised the children.
And when the fatherless boys grew up they did what children born into broken families often do. They went out and found their own substitute families on the streets. We call them gangs.
And then as gang members they use guns to defend their street families from those who try to do them harm the same way we’d defend our family members.
The murderous violence in our cities is never going to end until someone stands up and wakes up America with a “Put the father back in the family” speech.
Bill Cosby tried it - and caught hell. Others have caught hell for talking about the importance to children and society of intact families.
It’s time for someone politically and culturally important - like the president - to make a big, brave speech and remind everyone in the country that families need fathers, and vice versa.
The “fatherless family” problem goes beyond the inner cities and it transcends race and ethnicity.
We have a nation today where 20 to 30 million children go to bed each night without a father in the home.
We have a pop culture that constantly disrespects and mocks fathers.
Try to find a popular TV show - or a Disney movie - where the father is not laughed at or depicted as a bumbling fool. It’s not easy.
Dishonoring our fathers and denying their importance to strong families has to end. If we want America to survive, we need to put fathers back in the home where they belong.
Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of “The New Reagan Revolution” (St. Martin’s Press). He is the founder of the email service reagan.com and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Visit his websites at www.reagan.com and www.michaelereagan.com. Send comments to Reagan@caglecartoons.com. Follow @reaganworld on Twitter.