Violence is cost of doing business on Chicago's south side
Like the Great Chicago Fire in 1871 that claimed much of the city, the south side of the Windy City is burning up, figuratively, threatening to destroy the city again.
Summer started two days ago and already, Chicago has amassed more than 1,000 gun shot victims, almost 200 murders, and 22 random shootings on the city's freeways.
This is Gangland.
In Gangland Chicago, public street corners are considered private real estate and violence is an unavoidable cost of doing business.
Most people wouldn't even set foot on this side of Chicago. Charlie LeDuff isn't most people. This is how he was greeted:
"I admire your balls," said one resident. "Because we don't have the people who have the balls to even step foot on our turf here to see what the f*** is going on."
That coming from one guy on a Chicago corner who knows that violence is a cost of doing business in Gangland.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, a black person is six times more likely than a white person to be the victim of murder in America.
Black people are also eight times more likely to be the perpetrator, typically against another person of the same race, according to the DOJ.
LeDuff, always looking for answers, wanted to know why. He went to the southside of Chicago to find out. The place he picked? Locals call it "Chiraq."
The south side of Chicago is a dangerous place; a shooting is reported every 3.5 hours. Police don't seem to have a solution - unless you consider a drop in shootings a solution.
"There were a lot less shootings than there were last year," said Chicago Police Dept. Superintendent Gary McCarthy. "I'm not sure if you're aware of that. You hear me talk about progress not success."
So what do the people on the streets of Gangland say? Why do they keep pulling guns over city blocks? Why do police feel helpless on the Chicago streets? And Mayor Rahm Emmanuel weighs in too, kinda, on the next Americans with Charlie LeDuff.