Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Birth before death to start off 2013

We’re in a new year, yet the cycle of life continues as it always will.
St. Anthony gave us a birth ...

For in the early hours of Tuesday before the bulk of us had even woken up for the day, Chicago experienced its first birth.

AND JUST A few hours after completing a year in which the homicide total shot above 500 for the year, the body-count clock was reset and we’re already at 1 for ’13 (the year, that is).

I have ranted before on this weblog about how much I can’t stand the story about Chicago’s first-born baby.

Which ought to be a trivial note of little real significance. Is this child’s life really going to turn out any more important than that of someone born a few minutes earlier, or later, on the same day?

Besides, I also recall the first-born in Chicago for 1989 – when I was working for the now-defunct City News Bureau right at the new year and recall the politicking that the hospitals engaged in as they tried to convince us that “their” kid was the one who came first.

EVEN THOUGH THE reality is that they all came within seconds of each other and any rational human being would have acknowledged that. Some people take this particular “first-born” status way too seriously!

So for the record, Aydan Alvarado is Chicago’s first-born human being for 2013 – coming out of the womb at 12:08 a.m. at St. Anthony Hospital. As it turns out, he was due on Saturday – but wasn’t actually born until the first few minutes of Tuesday.

Just about 3 ½ hours after Aydan’s birth, Chicago experienced its first death due to homicide.
... while Northwestern started off a death tally

It was shortly before 4 a.m. that police received a call in the West Town neighborhood, and wound up finding a 20-year-old on the ground, bleeding profusely from a gunshot wound to his throat.

OCTAVIUS DONTRELL LAMB wound up being rushed to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Police as of Tuesday morning didn’t have a suspect, or any idea what provoked this particular shooting death – which in all likelihood will only be noted because it was Number One for 2013.

If anything, it reinforces the attitude I expressed last week upon learning that Chicago Police Department officials were trying to keep the homicide total for 2012 under 500.

To the point that a previous killing was reclassified from “homicide” to “death investigation.”


That killing eventually was shifted back to homicide, and there were five more slayings in Chicago during the final weekend of the year – including three on Sunday.

Although oddly enough, none on Monday.

So the death-by-homicide tally for 2012 tops out at 505 – unless someone who has been lingering in a hospital winds up dying in the next few days. In which case, the ’12 total will inch up all the more.

NOT THAT IT really matters that Chicago had more than 500 homicides for the first time since 2008. Death is more about the individuals than the raw numbers – which are an ongoing cycle.

Like I cited before, we’re already at “1” (and counting) for the current year. The “505” figure is now just a line in the record books – for those individuals who feel compelled to count such things.

So let’s hear it for Aydan. Here’s hoping the new resident of the Little Village neighborhood winds up having a lengthy and healthy life on this planet – and that his birth won’t be the only time his existence comes to the public’s attention.

Just as the real shame of Lamb’s death is that his life came to its end before he could accomplish much of note. What a waste!


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