New Year…3 Dead In Chicago…Still No UU Response…

I’ve been waiting to see other UU blogs talk about the continuing tragedy of gun deaths in Chicago. Doesn’t seem to be coming. (Bill Baar, I don’t mean you)

Here are the facts: 506 people died because of gun violence in Chicago during 2012. 121 of those were CHILDREN. 6 Newtowns happened in Chicago and there was no national outrage or concern about it. And no UU mention of it.

And since 12:00 a.m. yesterday, 3 people have been shot and killed in Chicago. None of the three were children–they were young adults—but they are dead all the same.

Then yesterday, I read this in the New York Times,

Could it be that the laxity of the nation’s gun laws is tolerated because its deadly costs are borne by the segregated black and Latino populations of North Philadelphia and Chicago’s South Side?

which has been talked about openly in many of the circles that I run in.

There’s a whole lot of hot air expelled in UU-dom about social justice work. All that talk seems to ring hollow in the face of what’s going on. But maybe that’s the real issue. It’s NOT going on where most UU churches are. In fact, most UU churches ran away from where this is happening. (Ron Robinson in Turley-North Tulsa and Don Robinson in SE D.C. are the notable exceptions)

So UUs can you all stop talking about “social justice” until you start talking about the children of North Philadelphia and the South- or West- side of Chicago the same way you talk about the children of Newtown.

4 thoughts on “New Year…3 Dead In Chicago…Still No UU Response…

  1. But doesn’t it seem that Newtown has finally brought well-to-do white Americans into uncomfortable awareness of gun violence, and that this awareness is bringing renewed attention to gun violence in urban, poor, and non-white areas? Since Newtown, Mother Jones, Slate, the Atlantic, and the New York Times (to name a few publications I follow along with no small number of other white liberals) have turned a lot of attention to the way gun violence isn’t largely about massacres or leafy suburbs. Slate is keeping a running tally of deaths by gun violence (393 since December 14) with basic info about each death; Ta-Nehisi Coates at the Atlantic is writing some great essays about guns, racism, and American culture; and the Times is publishing articles like the one you point to. People are parochial, sure, but there’s an opportunity to link the ongoing calamity of gun violence in cities like Chicago to the gun violence that is now harder than ever for privileged people to ignore.

    • hey Philo!!

      I guess what I’m wondering is why the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords didn’t do it. Or why the school shooting early in 2012 in the exurbs of Cleveland didn’t do it. Or the shooting in Aurora (of which there was another one today). Or Virginia Tech (granted, those were college students, but still…).

      If this is really because this was about children, then the story of the 7-year-old girl who was shot and killed, while sitting on the front porch, the day before school started in Chicago should have made national news. It didn’t.

      As a member of the Horde, I love that TNC is writing about guns (did you read his exchange with Jeff Goldberg?), but he’s written about it before. What’s different this time? (at least about the responses) But that may be part of my point too; those publications that are read by liberal well-to-do whites have fallen into the trap of only writing about it when it happens where it isn’t “supposed” to; ignoring not only the fact that these mass shootings almost always happen in those places (as endangered as urban kids are going-to school or going-from school, schools in urban neighborhoods are remarkably safe), but also the facts about guns and gun deaths when there is a gun in the home.

      Forget for a moment that 121 children were shot and killed in Chicago in 2012. The total number of violent gun deaths is 506. That means nearly 10 people per week were shot and killed in Chicago. Why wasn’t that news in-and-of itself?

      • I suspect several things at play.

        The first is that this was a large massacre. Not one. Not three. Not eight. A large enough number to give pause.

        The second is that they were children, most of them.

        The third is that they were white.

        The fourth is that they were privileged (see the third point).

        (Yes, there’s some fuzziness; how white were they, how privileged… were they all? Doesn’t matter in the analysis of our response.)

        The fifth is the most inchoate of them, the random avalanche trigger. Not this flake, not that slump, not those flakes, not… but *something* finally is the trigger. Could have been the last one, or the next one. We’ll never quite know.

        And that’s not sure, yet. Not every avalanche builds and rolls down the mountain taking out what’s below it, and everything on the slope in its path. Sometimes they only go so far, just a ways, and stop. We’re waiting to see if that’s the case here.

        And to be fair, a lot of it is the media attention, and how the media pays attention. Gifford’s would-be assassin was truly a deranged individual. It made it easier to sideline the discussion. As did the ability to focus on her survival and recovery (not that I’m begrudging that, at all. Just noting how the media works). Plus it was in the hyperpoliticized environment, so it could and did devolve into a right versus left, not just a gun versus gun control debate. We had a couple other shootings that got media–Aurora, the Sikh temple…–and yes, the media paid essentially no attention to the drumbeat rolling out of Chicago; shooting after shooting. So most people didn’t even know. And they weren’t (generally) white. Or privileged. So that discounts everything, in the American media.

        I’m hopeful that people are *starting* to note these. The avalanche hasn’t petered out. We all might get somewhere….

  2. Has First Unitarian Chicago closed or moved? 😉

    I too have been unhappy with the focus on semi-automatics and mass shootings – they are a small proportion of gun deaths. But juvenile gangs shootings are, too – and even though young black men are much more likely to die of gun violence, half of gun murder victims are white, and most gun deaths are in the course of arguments, most of them not involving love triangles. We need to look at all the situations, and fix each of them appropriately. Available mental health care, including in-patient, for the seriously disturbed (and some work on why more seem to be seriously disturbed); economic and equity solutions for the inner cities. A friend is suggesting registration for all guns and required insurance, so that there is traceability and responsibility, which might help with gun theft, the source for most crime committed with guns. But that still leaves half of gun murders, which are just people getting pissed off with other people and shooting them, mostly with their own legal guns. And the other half of gun deaths, suicides.

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