The kind of violence that typically plagues Chicago does not handily fit the terms of the national debate on assault weapons and mass shootings, says the Chicago Tribune. While tragedies in Newtown, Ct., Aurora, Co., and elsewhere have made the nation stop and take notice, the nearly daily killings in Chicago more often make headlines only by the periodic tallying of their collective toll. Most often, the approximately 500 people slain last year in Chicago were shot one at a time, usually with a handgun that could be concealed in a waistband or jacket pocket.
The gun violence Thursday night at a public park basketball game was different. In all, 13 people were wounded, and the scene was littered with shell casings consistent with witnesses’ descriptions of a gunman wielding an AK-47 assault rifle. Despite the fact that, somehow, no one died, a shooting in Chicago resembled a crime scene found in national tragedies. The vast majority of shootings in Chicago involve one or two victims, but data collected by the Tribune show an alarming number of shootings in which sprayed gunfire hits more than one person. Of 2,853 people shot in the city since Jan. 1, 2012, 89 shootings have involved three victims, 31 with four, and nine incidents in which five were shot.