Gang violence and crime in the Windy City have not gone away under Rahm Emanuel’s leadership, though some progress has been made in specific categories of crime. Still, the endemic problems are enough to have altered the lives of many of Chicago’s residents, seemingly in a permanent fashion. The local CBS outlet looked at the effect this has had on some families and discovered some truly heartbreaking stories. In Lawndale, on the City’s west side, some parents report that they’ve become so desperate that they’ve taken to “hiding their children” rather than risking their being injured or killed in the act of simply playing or enjoying a normal childhood.
Neighbors in Lawndale said gun violence is so bad, they have to hide their children inside.
There are calls for help after two suspects fired into a crowd of children playing basketball.
The shooting wounded three children and one adult. People living in the neighborhood are desperate for help and want action from police, the mayor or even the feds…
“I can’t walk the street or my grandkids, can’t walk the street because a bully might come and shoot them. It breaks my heart,” said resident Wanda Mason.
It’s particularly alarming the way the violence has crept into the everyday language of the residents and become a terrible new sort of “normal.” Notice how the grandmother refers to a possible gang member coming back and shooting up the playground again as a “bully.” In other parts of the country, a bully would be a larger kid who shoves another child to the ground or steals their lunch money. On Chicago’s west side, the bullies have handguns.
Take a moment to check out the interviews CBS did with a couple of the residents. They tell the story in a way that you won’t get from a report on CNN.
One boy who looked as if he couldn’t be more than 12 years old described the weekend shooting from the perspective of a witness who was running for his life.
“I pushed a girl for a head start and she started running,” said the boy. “My friend, he was running right by me and then he went across the street to check on his sister and then his sister was across the street and she got shot in her chest. Then he ran over there and he got shot in his ankle.”
That’s no way to live. In the most recent shooting, authorities were able to get photos of two shooters because of cameras installed with “Shot Spotter” microphones mounted in the area. But just catching those two gang members isn’t going to put a dent in the problem.
Residents say that they don’t see enough police walking the beat as they did in the old days and they want more of a police presence. That’s a tall order when the city government spends more time blaming the cops than they do supporting them. Hopefully, the locals in Lawndale can take some tips from the residents of Baltimore who have at least seen some improved relations with the police and more of a law enforcement presence on the streets. But without the full support of City Hall and the resources they need, it’s sadly unlikely that the Chicago PD will be able to gain much ground in this ongoing tragedy.