As 2017 comes to a close, the city of Chicago has racked up over 3,400 shootings and over 650 homicides this year, and Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin is seeking to implement a highly controversial policy to deal with the problem.
On Thursday, Boykin shared his plans to reach out to the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Support, Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, to seek help with “horrific levels of shootings” in the city of Chicago. If the organization were to step in, it would mark the first time a U.N. peacekeeping mission was implemented on American soil.
While on his way to New York to meet with Fernandez-Taranco, Boykin said:
“I’m hoping to appeal to the U.N. to actually come to Chicago and meet with victims of violence, and maybe even possibly help out in terms of peacekeeping efforts, because I think it’s so critical for us to make sure that these neighborhoods are safe.”
Boykin went on to say that Chicago’s leaders have failed to protect these neighborhoods from themselves.
“There is a quiet genocide taking place in too many of our communities. Eighty percent of those who are being killed by gun violence are African American, and often killed at the hands of another African American. So we must protect these population groups, and that’s what the United Nations does. They’re a peacekeeping force. They know all about keeping the peace, and so we’re hopeful that they’ll hear our appeal.”
Boykin then elaborated on what he hopes the U.N. might accomplish in the city:
“They’ve been able to help in places like Africa and abroad, where they’ve sent troops in and sent forces in to help protect minority and vulnerable populations, and so quite frankly I think the same can be said for here in Chicago. I’m talking about physical security. I’m also talking about maybe suggestions for what we can do in Chicago to help protect our minority populations. We’re being, again, decimated by the violence that we see here in Chicago. I mean this is really a genocide, and we have to do something to stop it.”
It is unclear whether Boykin understands the actual definition of genocide.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel did not respond directly to Boykin’s plans but did highlight recent, though small, improvements in crime statistics while adding he has plans to guarantee “people feel a sense of security.”
Chicago is no stranger to such overbearing suggestions. In January, Donald Trump posted a tweet that has been liked 205,000 times. The president of the United States threatened to “send in the Feds” in response to the gun violence in Chicago.
If Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible “carnage” going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016), I will send in the Feds!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 25, 2017
The tweet had talking heads discussing the possibility of sending in the National Guard in to deal with the city’s violence. Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner quickly responded by saying that such an extreme decision “would be a mistake.”
Nevertheless, the main solution the city appears to endorse merely adds more police power to a region already inundated with a heavy police presence known for violating residents’ rights. In September, Chicago’s Community Development Commission approved a 30.4-acre land acquisition, a step in the process of building an enormous multi-million dollar police training center on the city’s West Side, a move that local residents have found “bizarre” and misdirected.
Despite the surging violence on the streets of Chicago and the staggering segregation that disenfranchises too many Chicagoans, the fact remains that U.N. Peacekeepers are typically deployed to war zones where they deal with terrorist groups, rebel fighters, and ethnic militias, none of which are present in Chicago.