One long weekend. Sixty-four shootings. Six people dead. That was Memorial Day weekend in Chicago, where the New York Times sent in journalists to report on gun violence over three heart-breaking days. What they found: Little gun control, gangs bent on retaliation, and police so distrusted that most homicides go unsolved in black and Latino areas on the West and South Sides. Even shooting victims won't cooperate, and parents express relief when their adult children end up behind bars—where life seems safer. "Somehow these streets suck my son in," says a woman whose 20-year-old son, a gang member, was shot three times over three years and is now in jail. "His friends, they’re dropping like flies. The boys, the girls, all of them. It’s a never-ending cycle."
Weekend shootings stole one life after another—a teenage girl in a Jeep, a forklift-operator at a gas station, a young man sitting in his car about to visit his mother—but police are unlikely to make much headway. Despite having identified 1,300 core offenders with data analytics, the Chicago Tribune reports, the CPD only made arrests in just over 25% of roughly 470 city homicides in 2015. Meanwhile, efforts to ban handgun ownership in Chicago and mandate tougher sentences for illegal gun ownership in Illinois have fallen short. At Herb Harrington's barbershop, it's all fodder for conversation. "You’re talking about poverty and families broken up and people not having opportunity and losing their way," says Harrington. "Violence is what we talk about in these chairs. We talk about it. We analyze it. But we don't have easy answers."