Saturday, November 14, 2015
It hurts to think about
417 Chicagoans have been murdered by other Chicagoans so far this year. This is beyond sobering. It's heartbreaking.
It is so painful that I don't want to think about it. My neighbors -- people who live within 20 miles of my home -- are more adept at killing than Isis.
What's even more insidious is I fear Isis and Al Queda more than I do my neighbors. The mayhem here is so self contained, so targeted, that I find it easy to avoid. I witnessed a crime in 2004, and haven't been the victim of one since the 1992, so my immediate environment feels pretty safe. But terrorism did cross my mind twice last summer -- first attending a ballgame over 4th of July weekend and then at Lollapalooza.
Am I so anesthetized to the local violence because it's so unrelenting? Every morning, the local news reports on how many young people were murdered over night. I fear I've become used to it.
Every once in a while, a story breaks through and breaks my heart. If you visit this blog often, you know how moved I was by the story of Nailah Franklin.* I'll never forget Yummy Sandifer, the 11 year old gangbanger (yes, you read that right) who committed murder and then was murdered himself back in 1994. Eleven years old.
Most recently, I've been saddened and disgusted by the story of Tyshawn Lee. This 9-year-old was literally assassinated in retaliation for his father's gang activity. This youngster was lured into an alley on his way home from school, shot multiple times and left to bleed out. His beloved basketball was found beside his body.
Lest you think that's as depraved as life can get, let me tell you what makes this story particularly disturbing. Tyshawn lived with his grandmother. His father refuses to help police find his son's killer, going so far as swearing at law enforcement when they approach him. His mother reportedly took the money raised for her son's funeral on GoFundMe and bought a car. "I got it for my protection. That's what my son would have wanted me to do," she said in a video she posted in her own defense.
What the hell? What the hell!
I feel helpless. I feel as though a shell is forming over my heart.
I don't want any of this to be happening.
*Though she was, most likely, strangled. No evidence of gun violence found in that case.