An Open Letter to Jonylah Watkins' Killer: Turn Yourself In

Dear Murderer:

I live in the City of Chicago.  I was born here to a mother who didn't speak English when she came to this country and to a father who served this country in the military.  I have raised children here and I am now raising a 13-month old daughter here.  I feel that I can and should speak out on the fact that you shot and killed Jonylah Watkins, a 6-month old baby on the streets of my city.

Yes, you are the person who did just that.  You pulled the trigger of a gun enough times to shoot a six-month old baby and kill her.  For the sake of the baby that you shot and killed, for the sake of her mother and the rest of her family, I implore you, turn yourself in.

This city does not need another manhunt.  This city does not need another two weeks or even two days of debate over gun control or concealed carry laws.  All that talk is irrelevant.  Jonylah could not have defended herself if gun laws were strict or if everyone in this city were permitted to carry a handgun wherever we go.

You, as the shooter, have defied all realm of logic and reason in your actions.  You have done the indefensible.  You shot an innocent baby.  In other gang shootings, people can at least stretch reason and create rationale for what happens on the streets.  Chicago's streets have been and are commonly compared to the "wild west."  Men standing up for their "rights" or their manhood or their property (drug turf) have no choice but to shoot each other in order to survive.   I can understand that logic and in some cases turn the other way when news reports address "another gang shooting."

This is different Mr. Murderer.  Although you may have shot a rival gang banger -- two times, as the Chicago Tribune reports on March 13:

On Tuesday, [Police Superintendent] McCarthy said the shooting had "very strong gang overtones." Watkins [Jonylah's father] has gang ties and an extensive criminal history, he said, and was clearly targeted in the shooting.  Court records show his criminal record dates to when he was 17 and includes three felony convictions, two drug-related and one for a weapons offense that resulted in a three-year sentence in prison in 2008.

You shot the alleged gang banger's daughter THREE TIMES.  Let me reiterate:  You killed a six-month old baby.  You shot her three times at least.  You should also know how she suffered and how hard people worked to try to save her.  According to the Tribune story and the doctor at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, one of many health professionals who worked on this baby for 17 hours to try to save her life,

Jonylah's temperature had plummeted, and her blood had become acidic and was failing to clot. Those factors would have to be stabilized before doctors could safely perform additional surgeries needed to repair her injuries.  It's called the triad of death," [the doctor] said. "Basically when (these) three things go wrong, a patient does really badly."

"The triad of death."

You didn't just shoot a rival gang banger, Mr. Murderer, you inflicted the triad of death upon a defenseless six-month old child.

You have a brain.  This fact is evidenced by your conscious decision to pull the trigger of your gun and inflict pain and injury upon another person.  But, do you have a conscience?  If, by some remarkable chance of fate or by the reasoning that may be imparted upon you by someone who is capable of getting through to you, a flicker of light appears within a conscience buried somewhere deep inside your brain, maybe you will do this city a favor and turn yourself in.

Release your fellow citizens from the strains of "snitches get stitches" and all of the associated bad-ass bullshit that goes along with failing to tell police who committed a crime.  You, Mr. Murderer, will be more bad-ass than bitch if you turn yourself in and say, "Yeah, I did it."

Yeah, you did it, but you at least recognize that fact and are willing to stand up, like a man, and take the heat.

I hope that you didn't mean to shoot a six-month old baby.  I hope that all you "meant" to do was defend your turf or avenge some perceived slight or disrespect inflicted upon you by Jonylah's father or people associated with him.

The City of Chicago is tired of crime and shootings in our streets and we hope that you, along with that beautiful baby that you shot and left dying in a car while her diaper was being changed while you ran way, can become symbols of a new City where babies are safe and murderers like you think twice before pulling a trigger.

Because, at this point, it seems like hope is all that's left.

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