a tale of two (or more) cities (updated)
So it’s probably not a surprise to any of my readers (if there are any left out there, that is) that I am not a fan of SB1070. I could go on about that, but right now I am going to attempt to focus my attention (this is a struggle for me) on a thought that occurred to me earlier, while I was reading Program gives Chicago Public Schools teachers a lesson in history, culture. It sounds like a pretty cool program, and I figure that the chances of our schools implementing a program like this are slim. If I sound cynical, well… between SB1070 and our more recent Ethnic Studies Law, well… nuff said.
So as it is prone to do, my mind started wandering & I started a comparison & contrast of Phoenix & Chicago, a city I recently visited & fell in love with. Now, it’s not easy to follow my train of thought on a lot of things… sometimes I can’t even do it. But humor me today… just sit down, shut up, and hang on.
- Phoenix is home to approximately 1.6 million people, as well as the fifth most populated city in the United States.
- Chicago is the third most populous city in the United States, with over 2.8 million living within the city limits.
- In 2009, the rate of violent crime per 100,000 persons was approximately 546 for Phoenix and 1125 for Chicago.
- In 2009, there were 458 murders in Chicago. That exceeds the combined number of murders (122) and kidnappings (267) in Phoenix… staggering, considering we are the “kidnap capital of the world” according to our politicians. It’s also three times the number of homicides in Phoenix (again, 122) and Tucson (35, and that’s about how many people are liable to get shot in Chicago over a holiday weekend) combined. (by the way, did you notice that Phoenix’s had almost 3.5 times as many murders as Tucson? Had to check my map and see which city was closest to that deadly border…)
- In March, Governor Brewer requested National Guard troops for the Arizona Border, which President Obama granted.
- In April, two Illinois State Representatives also requested National Guard troops for the Chicago area, which their mayor blew off.
In fact, NOT ONE of the ten deadliest cities in the United States are along the Mexico – United States border. Only one of them is even in a border state, and it’s nowhere near the border. Richmond is in northern California, an eight hour drive (or seven day walk) from Mexico. Seven of the ten cities are closer to the Canada – United States border than the Mexico – United States border and seven (almost eight) have TWICE as much violent crime as Phoenix.
If Brewer, Pearce, and the rest of their posse had any cojones whatsoever, we’d donate those National Guard resources to Chicago or Philadelphia (the only city with population over a million that has more violent crime per 100,000 than Chicago) or any of the ten cities on the graph above; they clearly need the National Guard a hell of a lot more than we do. While we’re at it, we’d do the same thing with the National Guard helicopters we’ve been asking other states to send to Arizona.
In other words, we’d stop playing our white privilege card and share with the other kids. We’d stop trying to bullshit people so we can get our own way, and we’d stop trying to put the burden of what (comparatively little) crime we do have on the shoulders of undocumented workers. The statistics on crime in our state, much less other border states and/or states with large (legal or “illegal”) immigrant populations, don’t support it… saying so just makes us look like crybabies at best. And seeing as how seven of the ten deadliest cities in the US are up by Canada… well… now we just look dumb.
It took the life of a Caucasian rancher, an innocent soul, to garner the attention of the violence on the border,” says Angelica Salas, director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA). “Countless individuals have been murdered at the border during the crossing by … criminals and their sophisticated networks.”
“Without legal channels for entry into the US, without reform, those who control the border are violent criminals, and the victims are innocent people, including the undocumented, who are raped, injured, and killed,” she adds.
Now I’m sure this is going to generate a number of suggestions that I move either to Mexico or Chicago, along with the usual knee jerk reactions by some folks that I dislike white people, myself included, and accusations that I want white people to feel guilty… blah blah blah blah blah. Do me a favor… don’t go there. As I was reminded this last weekend on my annual pilgrimage to connect with my roots, I really couldn’t get much more country and I’m pretty damn proud of it. Besides, your feelings of guilt or lack thereof really don’t add up to much.
I’d just really like it if we could start thinking about some of the nonsense we get up and say in public.(I’m sure I’ll be editing this some more… I have several links I need to add… but now that I feel vented, I must sleep…)
- Links & crime stats added 7/13