Mixing Chicago with Donald Trump would be a potential disaster. That’s part of the message Common wants to impart to the President as he considers taking it upon himself to “send in the Feds” to help curb the city’s violence epidemic.
The veteran MC who hails from the Windy City was asked his take on the President’s recent statements about how bad things are in the city. On Tuesday night, Trump tweeted “If Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible “carnage” going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016), I will send in the Feds!.”
Common doesn’t see that as the answer, as he told TMZ’s camera when they caught up with him recently. Instead thinks it would be better if local officials and citizens were left to solve the city’s issues. “For me, I feel like to help Chicago, you know, we’ve got to take care of our own,” he says. “Within the community, we’ve got to do things. It’s a lot of people out there already organizing and doing things. We need our state and local people to do things.”
“We don’t need that type of mentality, so I am not focused on the president right now,” he said. “I’m focused on helping the people in the city and how we can do it.”
When asked if Trump enforcing something similar to martial law would have a bad outcome, Com’s reply was a simply “Ya think?” coupled with a laugh between him and the gathering of paparazzi.
He’s not alone in his thinking.
“We don’t need tanks rolling down Ashland or Archer,” city alderman Raymond Lopez said to Chicago’s ABC7, “what we need are programs that prevent violence, street level intervention.”
Chicago’s coming off one of the city’s deadliest years in decades after 762 people were murdered there in 2016. That number coupled with 3,550 shooting incidents and 4,331 shooting victims makes it abundantly clear the city’s gun violence is far out of control. But it’s not as simple as too many criminals and guns on the streets because recent reports show the police department has more than its share of problems as well.
Although Trump never specifically stated what sending in the Feds would entail, most local officials hope that it means more resources to fix the ails that often lead to crime and violence: lack of jobs, better education, better housing options, and more. “I hope that the federal resources is money, not for a federal agents to go after people, but money to help to employ people,” said Alderman Walter Burnett, Jr.
Other local officials welcome assistance from the federal government in the form of more help in prosecuting offenders. According to ABC7, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said, “I would welcome…federal participation in working with law enforcement to deal with guns and gangs.”
His sentiments were echoed by others who agree that stronger prosecution would be a good starting point, but many more steps would be required beyond that. “We’ve talked long and hard that policing is not the sole answer here,” Deputy Mayor Andrea Zopp said in response to Trump’s tweet. “If they are going to have help, certainly federal support and prosecution. But also making sure that we have jobs programs, that we have infrastructure investment to create jobs. Those are the kinds of things that are really going to help on this issue.”
Chicago’s in a perilous situation. That much is clear and it’s not a situation that sprang up overnight. Therefore, remedying the situation won’t happen overnight. And it likely won’t come from sending in outside armed forces attempting to patrol the streets under executive orders. More importantly, the problems won’t be solved via Twitter.