A 5-month old baby wounded by a bullet to the head in a shooting in Chicago has become this week the youngest victim of the epidemic of violence that raged this summer in several major cities in the United States.
The infant was in the arms of one of the two young men on whom the assailants fired from a car in the neighborhood of Old Town.
“He is in a stable state “, reassured on Thursday, Eric Carter, number two of the Chicago police, city crime is rampant. “It is heart-wrenching. This is not normal for anyone, whether in Chicago or elsewhere “.
The shootings are sadly becoming more “normal” this summer across the United States, where hundreds of people were killed, including dozens of children, and thousands others injured.
A child of one year is death at the end of June in Chicago. Another of the same age suffered the same disastrous fate, in her stroller, July 12, in New York.
Some areas of Chicago have taken on the allure of combat zones. According to the newspaper Chicago Tribune, 1.901 people had, at the date of 13 July, was hit by a bullet in the third city of the United States, killing 373 people died, a hundred more than the previous year.
In New York, 795 people had been affected by gunshot on the same date, with more than 200 dead, there is also a significant rise compared to 2019.
Many other large american cities, among them Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Baltimore, are being hit by this wave of violence that does not cease growing since the beginning of July.
“If we do not deal with it, it could become much worse in the coming months,” warns Corey Brooks, pastor of a church in Chicago.
Snapchat, Covid and Floyd
The perpetrators and the victims of the shootings are in the large majority of young african-american men, often members of smaller clans or gangs who take up arms to settle contentions as personal or territorial, on a background of drug trafficking.
Teasing and taunts on the social network Snapchat, particularly popular with young people, are at the origin of many shootings.
These small groups, as the police barely monitor, publish of rap videos in which abound the threats until the situation degenerates.
“This is retaliation, amplified by social networks,” analysis Christopher Herrmann, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.
“This is not even related to the drug, these are personal revenge “, based on pastor Brooks. “They are so young, they have not yet learned how to resolve conflicts “.
The number of shootings increases traditionally during the summer when people leave their homes to find himself in the street, sometimes until late.
And the epidemic of Covid-19 has further accentuated the movement after long months of confinement, during which “the violence has accumulated,” notes the university Christopher Herrmann.
The economic impact of the epidemic, which has put the unemployment of millions of Americans, has also put pressure on the gangs and their families.
“Our communities do not have a stable economy. And when you add the Covid, the frustration is even greater, ” says the pastor of Chicago’s Corey Brooks.
The death of George Floyd – an African-American killed in late may by a white policeman in Minneapolis – and the protests that followed against racism and police brutality may also explain in part the current outbreak of violence in the United States.
Gil Monrose, pastor of the Brooklyn neighborhood in New York, said that the police are now more reluctant to investigate and at least this night, thus leaving the field free to the gang.
“The police and the population seem to be at war,” he said.
Some local authorities, are severely affected by the pandemic Covid-19, have been cuts in the budgets of the police, noted Christopher Herrmann.
It regrets in particular the dismantling, by the mayor of New York, of the brigade anti-crime in the city, which has widely contributed in the past to limit the number of weapons in circulation.
“The problem is the weapons,” said the teacher. “We have a number of weapons absurdly high in the United States. “