Mass shootings in Aurora, Newtown and Charleston drum up the national gun debate, but any given holiday weekend with decent weather in Chicago sees similar devastation. Fourth of July weekend this summer left 65 shot and 10 dead, including the seven-year-old son of a gang leader. Memorial Day weekend 2012: 51 shot, 11 killed. Fourth of July weekend 2013: 74 shot, 12 dead. Easter weekend 2014: 45 shot, nine fatalities. In anticipation of Fourth of July weekend last year, hundreds of extra officers patrolled the city's most violent areas. "What were the results?" Chicago police superintendent Garry McCarthy asked afterward. "The results were a lot of shootings and a lot of murders, unfortunately." In three and a half days, 82 people were shot and 14 were killed.
Chicago police recover seven times as many guns as New York City cops and more than twice as many as those in Los Angeles. Unsurprisingly, Chicago's gun-related homicide rate is three times larger than New York and over twice that of L.A. Yale sociologist Andrew Papachristos found the average annual homicide rate during a recent decade in one West Side Chicago neighborhood was 64 per 100,000 people, nearly the casualty rate for civilians in Iraq during the height of the war (hence the nickname "Chiraq"). In 2012, the year Mikey was shot, Chicago was the only city in America to surpass 500 homicides.