President Obama made a very odd comparison in his speech on guns in Minneapolis on Monday.
As part of his pitch urging the nation to enact his gun control proposals, the president referred to the tragedy of Newtown, Conn. in the same sentence as he talked about violence “in places like Chicago or Philadelphia or Minneapolis.”
But as the president must realize, the causes of the horrific event at Sandy Hook Elementary had little in common with the unending cycle of killings in places like Chicago or Philadelphia or Minneapolis.
A random, senseless tragedy like Sandy Hook points us to mental illness.
The equally tragic but routine violence in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Minneapolis points us to a very different cause. It points us to gangs.
There is no question which type of violence is more common. As I wrote at Gingrich Productions last week, Chicago police estimate that 80 percent of homicides in the city are gang-related. Since 2007, more than 270 children have been killed there — a rate of three Newtowns per year.
Likewise, Philadelphia, a well-documented hotbed of gang violence, had 331 murders last year — the highest since 2007.
Almost 40 percent were between the ages of 18 and 24. More than 70 percent of victims had at least one prior arrest before their death. Fully half had been arrested four or more times.
Even Minneapolis where the president spoke on Monday, authorities said an increase in violence is in large part due to gang activity. After a spate of killings in 2009 shook the Somali community, a community organizer there told CBS News, “It was all gang activity, totally, 100 percent…The police don’t want to say that but everybody else knows that.”