The 21st Show

Gun Violence In North And South Peoria; Hate In The Republican Party; Death Penalty


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On the 21st: What two unrelated shootings over a single weekend in Peoria show about the way gun violence is treated on the north and south ends of the city—and the stories of two South Peoria residents whose lives were affected by gun violence. Plus, with an avowed Holocaust denier running for Congress as a Republican in Illinois, what's the role of hate groups in our state's GOP? And, Governor Rauner has proposed partially reinstating the death penalty.

When it comes to news about gun violence in Illinois, Chicago dominates the conversation.

But in the central and southern parts of our state, communities face their own challenges. One data sample from eight cities in central and southern Illinois found that least 100 people have died from gunfire in the last three years - and at least 500 have been wounded.

Today, we focused on Peoria, where on the city’s north side there’s the campus of Bradley University on what’s often called “the hilltop.” And at the bottom of the hill is South Peoria, a majority African-American neighborhood.

Cass Herrington is a freelance journalist based in Peoria. She’s reported a story about gun violence in Peoria for the Illinois Newsroom, and she joined us to talk about this. We also spoke with Abigail Irby and her daughter Jashawnda Dunigan, two Peoria residents whose lives were affected by gun violence when they lost Abigail's son, James Anthony Irby, in 2013.



After a bitter primary battle between the two Republican candidates for Governor - incumbent Bruce Rauner and Representative Jeanne Ives - those of us watching have been prepared for tension in the party. When it comes to leadership, however, this week the GOP demonstrated that they could figure out how to come together. Instead of risking a messy vote, current party Chairman Tim Schneider and challenger Mark Shaw have agreed to share leadership.

But when it comes to figuring out what to do with more fringe members of their party, that’s a bigger challenge. For example, the new chairperson of the GOP in McHenry County is a woman named Diane Evertsen. Evertsen has previously served as President of the Minutemen Midwest, a group the Southern Poverty Law Center has in the past designated as a native extremist group. And, you’ve probably heard about Arthur Jones, a Neo-Nazi Holocaust denier who will be on the Republican ballot as a Congressional Republican Candidate in for Chicago-area seat in November.

What does this mean for the party? Chris Mooney is a Professor of State Politics in the Political Science Department at UIC. And Chris Robling is a longtime Republican consultant who started a Republicans for Lipinski campaign.



On Monday, Governor Rauner said that Illinois should be able bring back the death penalty to execute people who kill police officers or commit mass shootings.

He proposed this as part of an amendatory veto of gun legislation along with several other measures. Illinois lawmakers can now either vote to accept the changes Rauner proposed, or try to override the veto altogether. They'll have 15 days to do so once the House formally receives the Governor's veto message.

The state abolished the death penalty in 2011 under then-Governor Pat Quinn. That process took more than a decade and included a moratorium that spanned three governors.

How quickly could it get reinstated? And why? Governor Rauner says that bringing state executions back for certain cases will “dramatically improve public safety.”

Joining us to talk about this was Karen Daniel. She’s the Director of Northwestern Law School’s Center on Wrongful Convictions.

Story source: WILL