Even President Obama himself has made no secret of his intent to politicize last week’s tragedy in Roseburg, Oregon. He declared as much last week in his first comments about the shooting, just hours after the victims were struck while people were still reeling from the shock.
Today, as he heads to Oregon — where some families of victims have declined his invitation, saying they don’t wish to be used as “political props” — Obama claims the focus will be on condolences, not politics. (Oh, and also on the fundraising stops in Oregon and San Francisco that were already planned — for which he can now get us taxpayers to foot the bill.)
Given Obama’s professed care for the victims and their families — beyond his own political agenda — Obama must be planning a similar visit to his hometown of Chicago soon, given what just happened there.
Chicago reached 59 murders and 362 gunshot victims in September, marking the Democratic-run city’s deadliest month since 2002, according to analysis by The Chicago Tribune.
The last month of summer featured more homicides than any other month this year, and more than any summer month since the prior decade.
According to the Tribune, September ended with two consecutive weekends during which more than 50 people were shot. There more than 40 shootings each weekend in August.
September ended on a deadly note not just for the city in general, but for one South Side family in particular.
On Sunday the 27th, a Chicago family was gunned down as they were returning home. One of the family members shot was an young boy, who was rushed to hospital by a Chicago cop, likely saving his life. But the boy’s grandmother and mother were killed at 7:30 PM, when the five family members were fired upon after arriving home that evening.
When officers arrived they found the severely injured boy and instead of waiting for an ambulance they made the snap decision to drive the child to the hospital on their own. “The officer saw a seriously injured 11-month-old child and made a decision to transport that child immediately to a hospital,” Chicago Deputy Chief Eugene Roy said. “He made the right call, and he is somebody we are very proud of.”
Police think that the targets were two men of the family who were both wounded in the drive by shooting. It is assumed the shooting was gang related.
Last Friday, Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy laid out the CPD’s plans to attack illegal guns, including a new program that assigns a dedicated detective to gun cases who will track the “origin and flow” of the firearms involved.
Notice the focus on illegal guns. Under some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, Chicago’s gun violence highlights the fact that laws don’t necessarily stop those people most likely to commit crimes. And even liberal rags like the Daily Beast acknowledge that there’s much more than guns to point at in this issue: troubled individuals — and communities even — are behind the guns that kill, citing interviews with Chicago residents and activists working to address the problem.
Tio Hardiman, president of a non-profit that works to prevent minor beefs from turning into mass shootings says, “They’re killing babies, shooting mothers, shooting kids… The mentality is, ‘If I don’t like myself there’s no way I’m gonna like you.’”
Community organizer Askari Ali puts it more bluntly.
“They don’t appreciate life because they feel like their life not shit,” said the 26-year-old of kids coming up now. “So they got no problem taking your life.”
Both Hardiman and Ali suggested a slew of fixes for the systemic violence plaguing their communities, which neighbor one another on the city’s West Side: jobs programs, community centers, intervention from people who can speak the same language as the 13- and 14-year-olds with no hope and easy access to guns, drugs, and street life.
“A lot of these young people, all they have is their respect. They have nothing else,” said Davis. “And if someone disrespects them, they settle the score with guns.”
But weren’t things for blacks supposed to get so much better under Obama, our first black president? It’s no wonder President Obama doesn’t want to “politicize” what’s going on in Chicago; it certainly doesn’t fit his agenda. Moreover, it lays bare his failure to address the root issues in the black community, even in his own hometown.
Even so, if we’re to believe the president that he’s not just about politics — he ALSO cares about consoling victims and their families — surely he can swing Air Force One by Chicago on his way back from the West Coast, right? Granted, he would have to rent a hotel ballroom to fit all the victims and their families from the 59 murders and 362 gunshot victims in September alone.
I guess maybe he couldn’t whip up enough Democrat fundraisers to make his trip worthwhile.
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]