July 14, Gresham, Chicago. Corner of 79th and Justine Street. A group of people is enjoying the quiet afternoon in front of the local food mart. Suddenly, a silver car pulls up from a nearby alley. Three men jump out of the car and open fire on the group.

Five are hit. Three critically.

The victims range in age from 27 to 50.

Chicago Gun Violence
Police investigate at the site of a mass shooting Wednesday, July 14, in the 7900 block of South Justine Street. (Photo by Brian Rich/Sun-Times)

Just a few hours before, on the West Side of Chicago, another shooting took place when five persons were shot just after midnight.

The victims were between 18- and 34-years-old. Fortunately, they are all in good condition.

Things Are Looking Worse and Worse for the City

According to a Sun-Times analysis, there have been at least 31 shootings involving four or more victims across Chicago this year. The city will likely exceed last year’s total of 48.

Highlighting the extent of the gun violence in Chicago, the two latest mass shootings mark the fifth time in 2021 where there have been more than one mass shooting in a day.

Further, according to data compiled by the Gun Violence Archive, Chicago has had, by far, the most mass shooting of the last five years.

“Mass shootings are becoming the norm,” said Reverend Michael Pfleger. The reverend has been fighting against gun violence for years. His church is just a half-mile away from the location of the recent Gresham shooting.

How Can Chicago Be Saved?
(Chicago Tribune)

“We’re burying dreams every week,” Reverend Pfleger said. “And we’re less of a city because of who we’ve lost in this city. And I don’t see anything changing.”

Can Chicago Deal With Gun Violence by Itself?

Following this week’s mass shootings, Chicago’s mayor gave a press conference.

“We must acknowledge this for what it is a tragedy that has ripped apart families and inflicted intense trauma on several individuals,” Mayor Lightfoot said. “It tells us that we still have much work to do.”

“What we will likely learn as the details become clearer is that illegal guns continue to plague us,” Lightfoot added. “Gun violence continues to have a deep and painful history in our city. Unfortunately, Chicago is not unique. We are part of a club of cities for which no one wants to belong, cities with mass shootings.”

“This is a national problem,” Mayor Lightfoot said.

Nevertheless, given the extent of gun violence in Chicago, the ability of the local authorities to successfully deal with the problem is cast in doubt.

The White House responded to Mayor Lightfoot’s requests and offered assistance.

Yet, it remains to be seen if and how this assistance will materialize, and, more importantly, if it will be effective in tackling Chicago’s gun violence epidemic.

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