Saturday, September 21, 2013

What should we think – 13 shot, 0 dead

Should we be outraged about the gang-related shooting incident in the Back of the Yards neighborhood that managed to see 13 individuals get hit by gunfire?

Back of Yards, Englewood ignored too often
Or should we feel blessed that this outburst doesn’t add a single digit to the Chicago murder tally for 2013 – it seems that no one has died, and doctors say they expect all to survive.

SHOULD WE THINK of this as an outrage and evidence of the depravity of urban life – literally the worst violent outburst in Chicago since the St. Valentine’s Day massacre (I literally stumbled across someone on Facebook who made that comment)?

Or should we view this as the fluke incident that it would appear to be – usually when we get a dozen or so people shot in a single day, it’s because there were 10 or so incidents that were all completely unrelated. Except for the fact that they all occurred on the same day?

Is this incident going to provoke another outburst of people urging their political people to push for tougher restrictions related to firearms? Which will tick off the firearms fanatics and create another burst of partisan nonsense!

Or is this incident, combined with the shooting incident earlier this week at the U.S. Naval Yard, going to be the motivation that kills off the “gun control” movement once and for all.

YES, I HAVE read that theory put forth on the Internet as well. There’s a whole lot of nonsense that gets written up by people with too much time on their hands.

And now, we get to take into account the latest incident that put Chicago in the national news Friday morning – to the point where it was detracting from the partisan rhetoric emanating from Capitol Hill to try to kill off health care reform by holding the rest of the federal government hostage.

I’ll bet the guy who pulled out a high-powered rifle at a pickup basketball game at Cornell Park on 51st Street and opened fire – hitting a 3-year-old boy and 12 others – never realized he could have such an impact upon our society.

If it weren’t for all the bloodshed, a part of me would be inclined to thank the guy for taking attention away from the conservative ideologues who probably will defend, to their deaths, the right of that guy to have a military-type weapon with him on the playground!

PERSONALLY, I’M INCLINED to think that Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy hit the right tone when he described the late Thursday incident as a “miracle,” as in no one was killed (although as I write this commentary, that 3-year-old remained in critical condition at Mount Sinai Hospital).

Put this incident into perspective – an auto accident at 56th and Morgan streets (just over a mile from the park early Friday in the Englewood neighborhood) killed a 2-year-old girl, giving it a higher death tally!

But the fact that the Chicago Sun-Times found people who said it is not uncommon for people to show up around the park and fire off gunshots (“Just gang-banging stuff. It’s what they do,” is how one person described it to the newspaper) is a sad comment on where we have gone as a society.

As for those who want to believe that, somehow, we’d be better off if more people would be armed, I’d think this incident shows the nonsense level of that line of thought. Would we be better off if someone in the park had been able to pull out a pistol and fire back? Or would we merely be talking about 16 or 17 people shot, instead of just 13?

ALTHOUGH JUST A little bit more legalese written into the law concerning firearms isn’t going to change things all by itself. It’s going to take serious attention paid to these urban neighborhoods to try to raise their overall expectations from life.

Instead of our current status, which is that most of us ignore such neighborhoods. Seriously, when was the last time you were anywhere near 51st Street and Western Avenue (just two blocks west of the park)? When was the last time you even thought about going out there?

That sense of being ignored by the “other” Chicago is what creates an atmosphere where some people think it’s no big deal to shoot up a park. They probably figure that no one who gets wounded or killed would be missed.

That’s the tragedy!


No comments: