Skip Navigation

No. 54 The Killing Can Be Stopped

November 1, 1992

In 1992, the city of Chicago was reeling from the shooting death of Dantrell Davis, a 7-year-old boy caught in the crossfire of gangs battling for control of the city's notorious Cabrini Green public housing project.

An African-American male murder victim, showing blood and knife.

The Heartland Institute, an independent nonprofit research organization, convened a group of seven experts on urban policy -- the four authors shown here as well as Michael Finch, David H. Padden, and Herbert J. Walberg -- to put forward a free-market plan to stop the killing. The result is a collection of powerful commentaries on housing, schools, drugs, welfare, and economic development by some of the nation's leading experts.

This report combines scholarship with the urgency demanded by the situation, and it remains a compelling document for leaders of all large cities.

In his afterword, law professor Barnett writes

The recent focus on violence in Chicago ... provides an occasion to reconsider a wide range of city, state, and national urban development policies. The essays in this collection show that many of these policies failed to achieve their ends, and they point the way toward a more promising direction or paradigm. ...

We have reason to question the good faith of those who so ardently and vehemently cling to the past and refuse even to discuss, much less consider, any radical alternative. Why not give the policies recommended in the preceding pages a chance?
Article Tags
Criminal Justice
Randy E. Barnett is the Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Legal Theory at the Georgetown University Law Center, where he teaches constitutional law and contracts. @RandyEBarnett
Joseph Bast is a Senior Fellow at The Heartland Institute. He cofounded Heartland in 1984, serving as executive director then as president & CEO until January 2018. His research and writing focuses on climate change and energy policy. @JosephLBast
Robert Genetski, Ph.D., one of the nation’s leading economists and financial advisors, has spent more than 35 years promoting the use of classical economic and investment principles for sound financial decisions. He heads ClassicalPrinciples. @EconBobG
Dean and Professor of Law Daniel D. Polsby joined the faculty of the law school in 1999 after serving 23 years on the Northwestern University law faculty, most recently (since 1990) as the Kirkland & Ellis Professor of Law.