As the gun control debate rages on in Washington, people are getting shot and killed daily in Chicago. Just this last week, a friend posted this news blurb about two kids that got shot. The young girl, 15yo, someone she knew, died. Horrifying. I cried for this girl I never knew. For that moment, what has become a numbing statistic for Chicagoans, jumped to real life just knowing someone who knew her.
I don’t know if folks in my neighborhood of Chicago are thinking that much of the daily shooting statistics. It would be cruel for me to suggest that they aren’t as horrified as I am. Yet, I’m not terrified of letting my daughter walk to the grocery store. I’m not paranoid to leave my house after dark. I’m going to take a gamble that most of my neighbors don’t live with the same fear, because these shootings don’t happen in my neighborhood.
Just as horrifying was the first comment on the page written by some yahoo, “we need a national guard sweeping of these ghettos.”
I cried again for the attitude held by so many people that this isn’t our problem because it doesn’t happen in the “nice” neighborhoods. I’ve walked down the streets where this young girl was killed. My daughter (along with the President Obama’s daughter) danced on stage at the high school that was only a couple blocks away. I only name drop because I want you all to envision that even the president of our country values this community. I remember driving through the area dumbstruck at the beauty of the architecture. There are tidy lawns and beautiful, mature trees. I saw parents enjoying their Sunday afternoons with their neighbors and kids. While I don’t know the area enough to say all is wine and roses along leafy avenues, there are beautiful people living there. Those good folks, their parents, their children, their friends all have as much right to live free from violence as the rest of us. There is no us and them. For every victim that falls, that life of possibility, hope and strength can no longer contribute to our shared community.
Frankly, violence spreads. Just today, a woman was found shot to death on Lakeshore Drive, not terribly far from my home. None of us are immune.
Ignorance, fear and hate will continue to prevent any possible, positive change to happen. For every individual that feels they need a gun to protect themselves out of fear, strengthens the machine that makes guns so readily available to those who use them for intentional harm. I’ve heard people say that gun control laws just keep guns out of the hands of the lawfully abiding citizens and keeps them readily available to the criminals. I don’t believe it. In Chicago where it was illegal to posses a firearm, one can drive ten minutes into Indiana, go to a gun show, and come out fully loaded without very little (none?) background checks.
I know there is so much more to this violence than gun control. Poverty. Drugs. Mental illness. I know. But please, Chicago, stop killing each other.
Something’s gotta be done.