America is so inured to gun crime that last weekend’s Memorial Day Weekend violence in Chicago hardly made national, much less international headlines.
The city, its population heading for 3m, saw 10 people shot dead over the weekend and another 50 shot. This casual violence would be a challenge for any society but in one rocked by another wave of riots provoked by the police killing of another black person, George Floyd, in Minneapolis, it must sound alarm bells.
That President Trump responded by threatening violence to suppress the riots is hardly reassuring. The theory of last resort — that adults in the room might constrain the president’s wilder impulses — may be tested over the coming days. As anger over police killings of black people escalated, at least seven people were shot in Kentucky, as protesters demanded justice for Breonna Taylor, a black woman fatally shot by police in her home in March.
CNN, at the same time, aired live protest footage from Minneapolis showing one of its teams, including a black reporter, being arrested. Race riots, and the reasons for them, are almost as common as gun crime in America. Poverty is a root cause and as unemployment figures pass 40m that tension will intensify. Racism, the toxin eating at America’s soul, persists.
The country is divided and is led by the worst president in its history. The very many who admire and respect America cannot but feel concerned.