"The sun hadn't yet set on the traditional first night of summer before the anguished cries of a mother pierced the air, and Chicago faced another senseless act of violence against a child."
"Gresham rushed to the car and found her daughter in a pool of blood. Jacele writhed in her arms as Gresham screamed her daughter's name."
"We got a beautiful city, but it has some evil people..." (Chicago Tribune)
Those lines could be ripped from a crime novel or script for an urban crime movie. Unfortunately, it is non-fiction. It is real crime. True crime.
This time the victim was a little girl, 4-year-old Jacele Johnson.
The little girl was shot in the head during a drive-by shooting on Chicago's South Side.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the little girl was in critical but responsive condition as of Saturday night.
A little girl.
Chicago, it is time to wake up. It is time to stop putting comfortable labels on crime. Black violence, gang violence, youth violence, gun violence, drug violence, urban violence.
Those labels are designed to make you feel good. To make you feel safe. To let you know violence happens to other people, not you. You, who live in your middle or working class neighborhoods. You, whose little girls can play outside in relative safety.
The appellations are created to blame something other than those responsible for the problem.
Let's just call it what it is. Violence. Chicago has a violence problem. It is out of control.
It is way too easy to blame the mayor, the police, the gangs, drug cartels, and their wannabe teenage minions.
"J'accuse," the old French cry to condemn injustice applies in Chicago. Look in the mirror. Point your finger. "Say, J'accuse".
Every Chicagoan, from the Gold Coast to the ghetto, rich to poor, powerful to weak, the boardrooms to the alleys, is responsible for the plague of violence and violent people in this city. Each and every Chicagoan.
You read or watch the news. You might feel mad or sad. Then, life goes on. You get a text, tweet, sext, or poke on social media. Your favorite television series or movie is coming on. Your favorite celebrity, who you will never meet, is trending on social media. So, you forget and get on with your lives.
Violence does not happen to you. Not in your neighborhood. Not to your family.
Violence happens to them. Their children. It is not your problem.
Violence is always someone else's problem.
Jacele Johnson should be national front page news. The overpaid baffleblabbers and gasbags on television news should be screaming talking points. Experts with no expertise should be expounding their uninformed opinions. The bobblehead news readers should be nodding their heads sagely so people can keep believing they are the "most trusted persons in journalism".
None of that will happen. What else will not happen? There will be no major protests. No shutting down the Loop or North Michigan Avenue. Protesters will not take over L stations or train cars chanting or singing their silly ditties.
Social media will not explode. The internet will not be broken, ala Kim Kardashian's triple bar stool booty.
Chicago cannot police its way out of its violence problem. It cannot buy its way out. It cannot tax its way out. It cannot legislate its way out.
Chicago cannot protest its way out.
This is not a liberal, conservative, progressive, radical, Republican, or Democratic problem.
The violence is our problem. Each and everyone of us is responsible.
The only way Chicago can end the violence problem is to vote its way out. There, my dear fellow citizens, you are unmitigated failures. You keep electing the same aldermen, state legislators, and congressmen. Career politicians who do nothing and did nothing for decades.
Politicians love poor people. Politicians love them so much, they keep them impoverished. They, and their enablers in the ministry and activist organizations, created this aura of nobility in poverty.
It is noble and honorable to be poor. You, the people, fall for it.
You pity the poor. You demand more programs, social safety nets, and other things to help the poor stay poor.
You never demand the one thing that lifts the poor out of poverty. Economic development which creates jobs. You never demand politicians bring development to the vast swaths of vacant former commercial, industrial, or manufacturing land in impoverished areas.
You only cheer when jobs come downtown or to your section of the city. You only care that your kid gets a job after they get that expensive piece of paper announcing they completed a course of study in college.
Why is this your problem? Because those wards, state legislative and congressional districts overlap. Many of those people represent you too. So keep reelecting your lovable aldermen. Keep voting for Danny Davis, Bobby Rush, Robin Kelly, Mike Madigan, Toni Preckwinkle, Joe Moore, James Cappleman, Rodrick Sawyer, or Tom Cullerton, to name a few.
You elected these do nothing politicians.
Keep respecting the enablers like Jesse Jackson, Father Pfleger, Karen Lewis, and the so-called community or activist organizations whose leaders profit from city, state, and federal grants.
Chicago is a beautiful city, "but we have some evil people". They are politicians and the voters who keep electing them.
You and they are responsible for a little girl who was shot in the head.
Be proud Chicago.
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