Illinois state officials are calling for the National Guard to be deployed to Chicago in hopes of quelling ongoing violence there.
Illinois State Reps. John Fritchey and LaShawn Ford said they believe the number of murders in the city has gotten so out of hand that military intervention may be the only solution to the problem.
“We have National Guard members that are living in the city, that have been trained in police and law enforcement, that have been deployed to Afghanistan to help train the Afghan Police Department in safeguarding those neighborhoods,” Fritchey said at a press conference. “We have the ability with very little effort to immediately deploy these men and women right here in their backyards to assist the police department.”
However, not everyone believes that the National Guard is the right solution to the problem. Mayor Richard Daley said he thinks there are many things to consider before troops should be deployed to a major American city like Chicago.
“Do you put them on for a weekend without ammunition? Think of the repercussions you have to look at,” Daley told the Chicago Sun-Times. “Are they situated with fully-automatic weapons? You have to be very careful.”
Chicago has already seen 113 murders this year. During one night in April, seven people were killed and 18 wounded.
On April 30, a march was organized by CeaseFire Illinois in some of the city’s hotspots to try to stop the violence. According to WLS-TV in Chicago, the march went down a Southside street where a high-ranking gang member was shot and killed on April 29.
Given the city’s problems, many said the march itself was a risk, but the organizers believed it was a necessary step to start to restore peace to Chicago.
“Your brother is dead, God Bless him. I feel for everybody,” Tio Hardiman of CeaseFire Illinois told local residents during the march. “But the thing is somebody else is going to end up dead or someone is going to end up in the penitentiary. Is it worth it?”