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INSTEAD OF LOBBYING OLYMPICS OFFICIALS
TO BRING THE GAMES TO HIS HOMETOWN OF CHICAGO,
PRESIDENT OBAMA SHOULD BE HUDDLING WITH LOCAL
OFFICIALS TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO CONTROL VIOLENCE THERE.
Some say Chicago is too broke to host the Olympics. Others say it's too corrupt. Above all, it's too dangerous. Crime is out of control, and the president shares some blame for the trend.
As an Illinois state senator representing South Side Chicago, he helped pass one lenient crime bill after another — and now he wants to go even further at the federal level.
Chicago is the new Murder Capital USA, passing New York with close to 500 homicides last year.
Teen gang violence is horrific, as the nation witnessed this week with the beating of an honor student outside a South Side high school. Derrion Albert was clubbed to death with a two-by-four, then kicked and stomped by a pack of crazed youth.
Following that, a 14-year-old boy was chased down in the same area and hit with a pipe, fracturing his skull. The teen was found lying in the road in a pool of blood. In the past year, school violence in Chicago has claimed the lives of 30 students.
This violent crime wave has gone unabated since actress Jennifer Hudson's mother, brother and nephew were gunned down last year in a triple homicide in Chicago.
As his hometown turned into a killing field, Obama remained silent until the Albert video inconveniently went viral in the middle of his and the first lady's courtship of Olympic honchos. Now he expresses belated shock through a spokesman.
Maybe there's a reason for his silence. As a local legislator, Obama was soft on violent gang crime, as we repeatedly noted on these pages before the election. He voted to weaken penalties on gangbangers who deal drugs in schools. He also blocked a bill that would send youth who commit a second violent felony to prison. He fought to keep even the most violent juvenile offenders out of the adult system.
Now at the federal level, he wants to repeal mandatory minimum sentences for crack and other drug offenders to stop what he calls the "warehousing" of such criminals. He also wants to "reform" the death penalty and outlaw police profiling of criminals.
Also on his and Attorney General Eric Holder's agenda: restoring voter rights for felons, expunging their criminal records and helping them get jobs at taxpayer expense.
About the only areas where he's not soft on crime involve "predatory lenders" and those who commit "hate crimes." He's ordered Holder to make their prosecution top priority.
Meanwhile, brutal homicides are exploding across the country. Nationwide homicide data from 2000-07 show a rate of increase among black teens more than twice that among white teens. An overwhelming share of the killings involve black-on-black crime.
Experts attribute it to the prison and "gangsta rap" culture that glamorizes juvenile violence.
Over the past few months, Obama has given major speeches to the NAACP and Congressional Black Caucus. He spoke a lot about the legacy of racism. He spoke nothing of the epidemic of black-on-black crime. The situation may only worsen as the black teen jobless rate, already at record levels, climbs even higher.
Part of the reason for the record unemployment is the 40% jump in the minimum wage that Democrats enacted in the middle of a recession. The last raise to $7.25 — one of three over three years — took effect in July, triggering a spike in teen joblessness in August.
Study after study shows hikes in the minimum wage kill jobs. Retailers operating on already thin margins are forced to cut payrolls to avoid losses from the higher mandated cost. Since most workers earning minimum wage are students and other youth, they suffer most. Recessions never saw the jobless rate for young workers break 50% — until now.
Just weeks before Obama took office, we warned readers about "The Coming Crime Wave." Now it's upon us. We need policies that will fight it, not feed it.