I have a soft spot in my heart for the city of Boston. I lived in Nantucket for two summers so I ended up spending a lot of time in Boston and meeting a ton of great people out there. I still wear my Nantucket Red shorts that my kids think are pink. My best friend and I ran the 100th Boston Marathon and embraced every step of the way. The crowd across the course could not have been any better. It was the sporting highlight of my lifetime.
But as I reflect on the terrible, senseless bombings, I can’t help but wonder what it would take for the violence in Chicago to receive more than a yawn. I’m not talking about the punks on the CTA or Michigan Avenue that harass everyone. I’m talking about the gang bangers who have killed around 100 people so far this year, a number that is surely to sky rocket as the weather gets warmer.
If instead of Latin Kings or Gangster Disciples the thugs in Chicago were called the Jihadists or committing crimes in the name of Allah or to protest America’s war in Iraq or if they were regularly shooting and hurting rich people, the National Guard would come on in and destroy them.
But most of these killings are in poor neighborhoods where it’s apparently acceptable for kids walking to school or sitting on their porch to die. How are these kids any different than eight year old Boston bombing victim Martin Richard. He was tragically murdered while just trying to cheer on his Dad and live life. As a parent, that loss is unimaginable. But why does that killing or those in Newtown spark rage and action when the killings in Chicago barely give a shrug. Why isn’t the FBI pouring over all of the video evidence and shutting down parts or all of the City to catch our killers?
The answer, other than the color of the victim’s skin and their social-economic status is that it’s always been done that way. Only something “unusual” brings us together or creates a tipping point moment.
None of that excuses the lack of leadership at the local, State and Federal levels, both now and with previous administrations, for failing to take action and value these lives.
Al Qaeda is an enemy of America, but all of these street gangs are too.
Perhaps most maddening is that you knew after the bombing that it would only be a matter of time before the scumbags who did that crime would be identified. There hasn’t been a major crime in recent history that hasn’t been solved by our brilliant FBI when they want to. Chicago is so compact that if the FBI or police really wanted to take these killers off the street, they could and certainly could greatly reduce the harm they inflict on our City. Chicago deserves all of the attention and help that Boston got and more.
We can only hope that one of these gangs emulates Al Qaeda in some way. Because only then will they be seen as a terrorist organization and only then will stopping them become a security priority.
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