Monica Davey's Thursday front-page New York Times story on rising homicide numbers in Rahm Emanuel's Chicago ("A Soaring Homicide Rate, a Divide in Chicago") was suspiciously silent on the utter failure of the city's strict gun laws, but vocal about sorting the annual homicide numbers into patterns of race and class (as if equality among homicide victims would be preferred).
Davey focused on a recent killing that took place at a funeral on the South Side, where yet another homicide victim was just being laid to rest:
The shooting, on Nov. 26, was one more jarring reminder of just how common killings seem to have grown on the streets of Chicago, the nation’s third-largest city, where 506 homicides were reported in 2012, a 16 percent increase over the year before, even as the number of killings remained relatively steady or dropped in some cities, including New York.
But the overall rise in killings here blurs another truth: the homicides, most of which the authorities described as gang-against-gang shootings, have not been spread evenly across this city. Instead, they have mostly taken place in neighborhoods west and south of Chicago’s gleaming downtown towers.
Already, 2013 began with three gun homicides on New Year’s Day, two of them on the South Side. Like other cities, Chicago has long been a segregated place, richer and whiter on the North Side, and the city’s troubling increase in killings has accentuated a longstanding divide.
More than 80 percent of the city’s homicides took place last year in only about half of Chicago’s 23 police districts, largely on the city’s South and West Sides. The police district that includes parts of the business district downtown reported no killings at all. And while at least one police district on the city’s northern edge saw a significant increase in the rate of killings, the total number there still was dwarfed by deaths in districts on the other sides of town, and particularly in certain neighborhoods.
The paper even made up a large class-and-race-based graphic for the story, with explanatory text: "A New York Times analysis of homicides and census data in Chicago compared areas near murders to those that were not. Residents living near homicides in the last 12 years were much more likely to be black, earn less money and lack a college degree."
Of the affluent Hyde Park neighborhood, the text read: "Less than one homicide per year happened in this affluent neighborhood, which is also home to the University of Chicago." Strangely, the paper didn't mention a famous resident of that privileged nabe: Barack Obama. Obama was only mentioned once in passing, as distributing food at the church where the murder was committed.