Only 199 homicides in Chicago by midnight, June 30.  This is, according to a police spokesman, the first time the city has dipped under the magical number of 200 homicides by June 30 in “recent memory.”  By one less head of hair, but they did it.

199 homicides is actually two less than the 201 dead by June 30, 2007.  So, last week, the city was briefly on track to having fewer than 400 murders by year’s end, before the holiday weekend, that is.  “Only” 400 murders is a celebration, these days.  But then came the 4th of July, and the Taste of Chicago street festival.

When public events become associated with crime, criminals feel that they will miss out on the enjoyment of civic life if they do not contribute to the mayhem.  Why else would people bring guns to a heavily patrolled street fair after police have announced that people will be searched carefully for weapons and that there will be serious consequences for causing trouble?

Premeditated mayhem on one side, premeditated whitewash, ramped up by efforts to win the 2016 Olympic Games, on the other.  And who has to stand in the middle, resisting the pressure from both sides?  The police, of course.

Here is the real New Normal for Chicago’s holiday weekend:

Four Dead, 22 Wounded in Six Bloody Hours

July 5, 2009

Four people were killed and at least 22 others, including an 8-year-old boy, were wounded in shootings and stabbings during a bloody six hours late Saturday into early Sunday.

About 9:55 p.m. Saturday, a 26-year-old man was stabbed multiple times in the armpit near East 71st Street and South Vernon Avenue and was taken to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County in critical condition. A suspect is in custody, police said.

About 11:45 p.m. Saturday, a 19-year-old was shot in the buttocks at 6549 N. Lakewood Ave. and was taken to Saint Francis Hospital in Evanston in an unidentified condition, police said. . .

At 11:49 p.m., four males were shot — including an 8-year-old boy — near West 58th Street and South Union Avenue. Police said a 26-year-old man was fatally shot; an 8-year-old boy was shot in the arm and taken to University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital in an unidentified condition; a 30-year-old man was shot in the abdomen; and a 34-year-old man was shot in the leg, police said.

Marchello Henderson, 26, of 10446 S. Wabash Ave., was pronounced dead at 12:30 a.m. Sunday at Stroger Hospital, according to the medical examiner’s office, which said Henderson was shot multiple times.

And so on.  Second City Cop reports four separate shootings involving cops:

There was the shooting in 010. Another near 72nd and Honore. We think 79th and Wabash is the last one. This is getting bad.

Someone wrote to us and said the gangs aren’t feeling the pressure they used to and they’re getting bold. Manpower is now the number one safety issue. We’re worried because the odds catch up with everyone at some point. You throw enough lead around…

A day later, WGN was reporting more homicides and attempted homicides.  A lot more:

Weekend Tally: 10 Slayings, 63 Shootings

The weekend that started violently has ended the same way.

Another four people were slain overnight, Chicago police said this morning.

Before that, six people had been killed and more than 20 wounded on city streets from Saturday into Sunday.

From the start of the holiday weekend midnight Friday until the early hours of this morning there were 63 shootings and one stabbing, according to police sources.

Last year, 62 people were murdered in Chicago in July.  Last week, someone held a press conference to celebrate narrow success over last year’s numbers, and a week later, this year’s numbers look bad again.  All the talk of numbers is just a gambit, anyway.  With a little more accuracy on the part of the gunmen, there could have been 63 murders in the past weekend alone, including at least four police officers who were apparently in the line of fire.

But there is no need to hypothesize: it is bad enough.  Politicians and police chiefs can stand before the cameras all day, pointing at small dips and rises in the murder rate.  It doesn’t matter.  All the words in the world cannot convolute one murder victim back to life.  People are aware of what is happening and they are growing restive.  The old way of doing things — blame the police, make excuses for the criminals, celebrate fake victories in City Hall — is coming to an end.

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