As Bad as Chicago’s Murder Total Is, There Are Many More Shooting Victims


Chicago's soaring homicide rate through the first seven months of 2012 has made national headlines. Most victims of the gun violence, don't even get a few seconds of notice on the evening news, says the Chicago Sun-Times. That's because most of them survive. Through the end of July, the city had recorded 305 murders but 1,447 shooting victims — up 3 percent over the same period last year. Wounds that would have resulted in death 20 years ago, when Chicago's homicide rate was nearly twice what it is today, are now survivable thanks to advances in trauma care.

Like the increasing homicide rate that remains one of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's most pressing political problems, the number of shootings traces an upward arc that stubbornly defies the city's overall reduction in crime. For some among the thousands of shooting victims walking the streets, a non-fatal bullet wound is just the price of doing business, what they pay for their involvement with crime, say trauma surgeons who save the lives of five of every six gun-violence patients they see. For others and their families, the brush with death is something that will forever change their lives. The newspaper tells the story of Rony Monzon, who never felt the bullets from a gang member’s handgun as they ripped through his flesh.

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