Allen B. West

Not again: 15 people shot, but why is media silent?

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Yesterday the nation reeled with the news that three people had been shot dead by a lone gunman in Colorado Springs. Thankfully, the gunman was stopped by police. Little information has been released about the suspect or his victims. It’s being characterized by the media as yet ANOTHER mass shooting, and was top of the headlines for hours.

But did you know 15 people have been shot in Chicago, including 4 teenagers and a senior citizen since Friday? Of course not. It was in Chicago – in a neighborhood where there used to be a $3 million drug operation. The Chicago Tribune says more than 40 people were charged in connection with the heroin ring last June.

But that’s when the neighborhood really went downhill.

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After this weekend’s shootings, the Chicago Tribune says residents agree, “the neighborhood was better when the drug dealers were around.

“When the drug dealers had left, that’s when everything started getting worse on this block,” said Mariah Monae, 16, who didn’t want to give her last name. “But when they was here, they was protecting us. They ain’t let none of that shooting stuff happen.”

About half an hour earlier at 9:55 p.m. Friday, a 19-year-old man had been shot while riding a bike in the 1100 block of South Central Park Avenue in the Homan Square neighborhood. He was hit in the back and taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in critical condition, leaving Mariah Monae and her 15-year-old cousin, who live nearby, to check things out.

“This block is just ridiculous,” she said. “That’s why I stay in the house.”

Before the heroin operation was stopped, “They used to be right here, taking up the whole block,” said Mariah Monae, spinning around to point at the intersections of Grenshaw Street and Central Park. “Ain’t nothing happen over here, everything was cool.”

“Violence was bad for the dealers’ business, they said. Mariah Monae had even seen the sellers break up big groups of people fighting.

“When they left, that’s when everything started acting up,” she said. “People come up here shooting for no apparent reason. … People probably scared to walk through here now. I am.”

I find the selective outrage over shootings disgusting, and it all comes back down to the same thing. Don’t these lives matter? Shouldn’t it be of national importance that we tackle the cultural problems afflicting these urban neighborhoods?

There are no gun stores in the city of Chicago. Whether legal or illegal, every gun in Chicago came from somewhere else. And Chicago’s police department seizes more illegal weapons than any other in the nation — nearly 20 a day for a total of 5,500 so far this year.

So far this year, 401 people have been killed in Chicago alone. After reading the accounts of those killed this weekend (which isn’t over yet) many of the victims were approached by someone and shot in the back, or shot while driving or walking through the streets.

Where is the outrage for this random violence, which far outpaces the mass shooting deaths? Where is the outrage for the breakdown of the black family, the astronomically high unemployment rate of black teens, the low rate of high school graduation, the almost genocidal abortion of black babies?

The nation weeps for the victims of yesterday’s shootings in Colorado Springs, but where is the collective grief for the 401 people killed in Chicago? Why don’t their lives matter?

[Note: This article was written by Michele Hickford]

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