These Stories Shape Our Lives

Two men fighting. They rush into a fast-food restaurant. One shoots. Five are wounded. Two die. One is 16. The other 17.

When I read this story about yet more deaths in Englewood, I am troubled because I know that crime doesn’t fall from the sky. But that’s the unspoken impression I get from what I read.

I know that serious violent crime doesn’t happen every where. In Chicago it haunts  poor black and Latino neighborhoods. And not all of them equally.

And Englewood is one of the most unfortunate.

I know that the violent crime that swallows up youths’ lives takes place, where guns float like hats in the wind. Catch one, you got one. I see that the alleged shooter arrested by police has a history of gun convictions.

I’d like to read more about the charges, more about the guns he used and where and how he got them. I’d especially like to know about the gun that killed and wounded seven on the 6600 block of South Halsted. Where was it bought? What kind of gun was it?

I know that gangs sell drugs, which boosts crime. I’d like to know about the gangs in Englewood and about the drug arrests there too. I’d also like to know about the drug rehab facilities and mental health facilities available in Englewood and nearby.

Englewood’s Torment

I know from the papers that police say there has been a 40 percent rise in murders and 15 percent rise in shooting in Englewood while the same figures are down elsewhere.

Why is this so?

Who are the people killed here?

Who are the victims who’ve lived?

Who are the people who’ve treated the dead and wounded and how has it touched their lives, their work, their daily take on reality?

And who are the survivors.

I’d like to know how many people have been shot more than once in Englewood.

How many have quit high school before graduating. How many are unemployed and how many have been prison or have family in prison or out of work.

I’d like to read or hear these details in the reporting on crimes like the shooting that took two lives and injured five others because it puts the news into context. It helps think about the weight of the problem but the solution as well. It helps dispel some stereotypes because I know that crime doesn’t fall everywhere from the sky. It fails mostly in those people where things have fallen apart. And need to be fixed.

This is what good reporting can do.You may think they are only stories. But they are stories that shape our lives.

And if you want to take part in an effort to bring peace to the South Side, please consider the Black Star Project’s gathering on Monday, Jan. 2

here’s the video they will be presenting:

and here’s their message

Join us on Monday, January 2, 2012, 6:30 pm at 3509 South King Drive in Chicago to “Pray The Devil Back To Hell!!! If the women of Liberia can end violence by praying and acting, so can we!  We must pray and we must act, now!!!  



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