[pullquote]There should be indignation over Isaiah’s death and others whose lives have been senselessly claimed. When we accept violence of any sort as the norm, we not only surrender a piece of our humanity, but belittle victims and disrespect the families that love them.[/pullquote]Sandy Hook Elementary has now joined the infamous ranks of Columbine, Aurora and Virginia Tech – all scenes of horrific acts of gun violence that left many dead and families shattered.
Understandably, the nation’s collective interest is piqued and heartstrings pulled when such senseless acts of violence are committed – especially against the young and innocent. But let’s spread the outrage around a little.
Gun violence is a reality in American cities and towns each and every day, though it may not garner international headlines. The Windy City, for example, has become the Bloody City. The murder rate in Chicago is staggering. This year alone, nearly 500 murders have been committed. Many of the victims have been kids like 15-year-old Porshe Foster, who was fatally shot earlier this month as she stood in a friend’s backyard during a sleepover.
During the weekend before the Sandy Hook tragedy, eight people were killed and more than 30 were injured in Chicago as a result of gun violence. Are their deaths less newsworthy because they did not occur in the same place as a result of the same gunmen, or because these victims lived in the inner-city and not the suburbs?
While last week’s school shooting in Connecticut was jarring to all of us, we are not immune to senseless violence here in our own city. Police still have made no arrest in the nearly seven year old murder of 13-year-old Isaiah Brooks. The local honors student was found shot to death on a driveway on Machine Street.
During remarks he made over the weekend at an interfaith prayer vigil in Newtown, Conn., President Obama said of the Sandy Hook massacre, “We can’t accept events like this as routine.” Sadly, though, we have become immune to violence in this nation – the gun capital of the world. Acts like the one that occurred at Sandy Hook still rattle us – at least temporarily – but the everyday gun-related deaths barely register with most of us and hardly ever create a national uproar, especially if the victims are black or brown.
There should be indignation over Isaiah’s death and others whose lives have been senselessly claimed. When we accept violence of any sort as the norm, we not only surrender a piece of our humanity, but belittle victims and disrespect the families that love them.
If there is one very narrow silver lining in the Sandy Hook tragedy, it is the very real possibility that lawmakers may finally act on an assault weapons ban. Pushing through such legislation won’t be a walk in the park. The National Rifle Association (NRA) has most conservative members of Congress wrapped around their AK-47-bearing fingers. A ban on assault weapons also won’t solve the problem of everyday violence in the innercity, where handguns are often the weapon of choice. But a ban on such weapons – which were not what those who drafted the Constitution had in mind – is a start.