10-year-old boy killed in Southeast Side shooting
Which of these headlines (both of which appeared Sunday on the website of one of our city’s major newspapers) bothers you most?
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For what it’s worth, the Chicago Tribune gave prominent play to the former; making it the lede story for those viewing the one-time World’s Greatest Newspaper on the Internet, and giving the impression that the time period from Saturday evening and spilling into the early hours of Sunday was some sort of historically-grotesque moment in Chicago history.
YET I’M ACTUALLY creeped out by the latter story more, and not just because the victim was someone who barely was into an age with two digits in it.
Even the Tribune itself acknowledged that this particular death was the fourth child to die in a shooting incident in Chicago this year, with another eight suffering from gunfire but managing to survive their wounds.
Those “30 people shot, 3 fatally” were in separate incidents occurring in various parts of the city. If not for the time element, no one would bother thinking of them as being related in any way.
And there is a part of me that wonders about playing up the story of the “body count” every weekend where there happen to be casualty totals in multiple figures does nothing more than satisfy the ghoulish mental desires of the kind of people who are determined to view our city as some sort of hell-hole – the kind of place where the real Hell might actually be a step up in improved living conditions.
IN SHORT, LIKE every time President Donald J. Trump spews out one of his oft-erroneous tidbits because it satisfies the politically partisan desires of the kind of people who actually voted for him?
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I’m not exactly saying a “30 people shot, 3 fatally” type of story is ho-hum and makes my shoulders shrug. But there have been bloodier moments in our city’s history. Both single incidents where more people suffered and combinations that gave us far greater tallies amongst the dead and wounded.
Whereas in the case of “10-year-old boy,” it brings to mind the potential story of lost potential. What could have been? What would have occurred if that child had gone on to live a full life?
I’m sure there are some smart-alecks who are viewing the fact that this particular kid was from the city’s South Chicago neighborhood and suffered his wounds in the adjacent East Side neighborhood is evidence that he was going nowhere.
THEN AGAIN, PART of why this story caught my attention is that I come out of that southeastern corner of Chicago. Born in South Chicago and lived for a short time in the East Side before my own parents moved along further.
Or is someone out there going to be warped enough to think that nothing can come out of that part of Chicago, and that such violence is supposed to be limited to certain parts of the city. Which may be what makes such stories as “30 people shot, 3 fatally” all the more pathetic.
Because they inevitably include the line within the copy that all the incidents were limited to select neighborhoods on the South and West sides of the city. As though the fact that they didn’t occur in the neighborhoods with certain select economic and racial demographics somehow makes them acceptable!
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They only add to the warping of the young people who happen to live in those neighborhoods into believing that somehow, this kind of conduct is acceptable.
THERE IS ANOTHER factor; one brought up recently when in Gary, Ind., there were multiple children shot in separate incidents in the same neighborhood of that Hoosier city.
One government official said he was particularly bothered by the fact that there were now children who, when they return to school in September, were going to have to write as their “What I did this Summer” assignment an essay that began with the words, “I got shot this summer.”
As much as the loss of a life with potential hurts, the fact that all those surviving around them will have to have such thoughts may well be worse.
Because until we can snap people out of thinking that such violence is a part of life, we’re going to keep reading such body count stories – and there’s nothing our current president would say or do that could resolve the problem.