Saturday, in the Roseland neighborhood on the south side of Chicago, a memorial to children murdered by gang violence-built in a vacant lot-was dedicated.
Mayor Richard Daley was there, expressing his disbelief over the "acceptance" of gun violence not only in his city, but in all of America.
I wasn't there. I haven't seen the memorial, but I'd wager that each and every child memorialized is of a minority representation.
And it makes me angry that none of the people who spoke at the event will cross the line that needs to be crossed: a majority of the citizens in the US who are being slaughtered by guns are from urban, minority neighborhoods.
Daley complains about the assault weapons ban being overturned but he is missing the point. Sadly, he knows what the point is. He just can't acknowledge it, because it wouldn't be politically savvy.
What he should have said today was this:
"Look around you. Look at the faces on this memorial. Look at the faces of the people here who mourn their children. Realize that in our society, violence is skewed towards urban minorities. Now get angry. Use your anger positively: ask your leaders, your elected officials, why they find it acceptable for this to happen. Ask them why they are OK with this slaughter, because we all know that if this level of death and violence occurred suddenly in affluent areas, there would be steps taken to ensure that it stopped. Tell them that you will not tolerate this any longer, that attention must be paid to those less fortunate."
Can you imagine this? I'm not one to believe that race should be injected into societal debates as often as it is, and am loathe to see the usual suspects jump in front of the cameras at the very hint of injustice, but this is different. The facts are clear: if one is going to die at the hands of a bullet in this country, the odds are overwhelming as to where it will be.
Why is it tolerated?
3000 people died on September 11, 2001. Ten times that amount died from gunshot wounds that same year in the US.
Number of people killed in America by terrorism since 9/11: zero (fact).
Number of people killed in America by guns since 9/11: 210,000 (estimate).
We have abandoned the principle that all men are created equal in this country.