"He hits the one that hurts the most to lose,” said Chicago Police Officer Damon Stewart, 36, Hadiya ’s godfather. “I changed her diapers, I played with her growing up. My heart is broken.”
Isolated and racially segregated neighborhoods in economic distress. Schools, medical and mental health facilities facing closure. The lives and family situations of thousands of mainly black and Latino youth in disarray and being further destabilized by city, county and state policies and budget cuts. Add in the easy availability of guns and you have some clues about why we're losing so many young people to the violence of Chicago streets.
There were seven murders from gunshots and other causes from 6 p.m. Friday until 12:01 a.m. Monday , according to the police department. Altogether, the city saw 10 shootings during that period, including victims who were wounded but did not die.
“That’s just not the way those numbers usually play out,” Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said Tuesday, "Unfortunately that’s the way it goes sometimes ..." McCarthy says violence is not as bad as it seems. He says the shock of murders doesn’t mean the department’s strategy to curb violence isn’t working. But of course, that all misses the point. Policing strategies, which seem to change week-to-week, come into play after the fact and do nothing to improve the conditions of life in the community.
King was one of the city's high schools that was closed and re-opened as a selective-enrollment school under Mayor Daley's Renaissance 2010 "reform" initiative.
|Hadiya (4th from left) performs at inauguration with King classmates.|
“She’s a huge reader, loves stories and novels and was naturally smart, always on the honor roll,” said her cousin, Shatira said. “She was caught up in the violence of the city.”As usual, the shootings will be written off in the media as "gang-related" and the record-high number of shooting deaths seen mainly as a policing and jailing problem. That takes us nowhere.