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President Obama, gun violence and hypocrisy

Rev. Rasheed Baaith

President Obama, gun violence and hypocrisy

    “For death has come up into our windows; it has entered into our windows, cutting off the children from outdoors and the young men from streets.” (Jeremiah 9:21 AMP)

By Rasheed Baaith

     Hadiya Pendleton is someone you may or may not have heard of.  She’s all over the internet for a couple of reasons, one, she had just been a part of the Second Inauguration of President Barack Obama, marching with her high school band from Chicago; and two, she is now dead, shot down in a park in the President’s hometown of Chicago; actually not too far from his Chicago residence.

    No, she wasn’t in a gang; she wasn’t even in a part of town where that kind of senseless violence is expected.  There is no rhyme or reason for her dying but it is our fact and her reality. 

Despite Chicago being the hometown of the President, it is a city where children die every week, sometime every day.  Up to this point, he has said nothing about guns and Chicago. There were 530 young people killed by guns in Chicago last year, more than any other city in America.  Eighty percent of those young people were either Black or Latino. There were at least 62 young people 18 years or younger murdered by gun violence in 2012.

Here’s the list:

     18 years of age – 15 killed ; 17 years of age – 16 killed; 16 years of age – 16 killed; 15 years of age –  6 killed; 14 years of age –  4; 13 years of age – 2 killed; 12 years of age – 1 killed; 7 years of age – 1 killed; and 6 years of age – 1 killed

     There were at least 446 school age children shot in Chicago last year, here’s that list:

18 years of age – 110; 17 years of age – 99; 16 years of age – 89; 15 years of age – 62

14 years of age – 39; 13 years of age – 21; 12 years of age – 10; 11 years of age – 2

10 years of age – 3; 9 years of age – 1; 7 years of age – 3; 6 years of age – 2; 5 years of age – 1

4 years of age – 1; 3 years of age – 1 and 1 year of age – 2   Source: Crime in Chicago Blog

     I’m still waiting for the President to break down in tears when he talks about the number of our children who are dying on the streets of that city, still waiting to hear him say how the day of Hadiya Pendleton’s death was the worse day of his life or his Presidency or something. He did say he was praying for her. A petition is circulating asking him to attend her funeral and speak to the madness if Chicago, I don’t see it happening.

     And I’m trying to understand why there was no Congressional Panel on gun violence before Newtown.  Was it because no one was troubled by the number of young children being shot on inner city streets all over America?  Or was it because while it may have been disturbing, it did not meet the standard of a crisis as the President and Congress define crisis?

     Politically speaking, the President’s lack of concern over these murders is our fault. Never have we given so much support to someone and gotten so little in return. Not only that, but when the discussion arises about what the President has not done for us, many of us defend his view of our issues as trivial with vehemence. The favorite line is “He is the President of all of America, not just Black America.” That’s exactly the point, he is the President of all of America and that includes Black people.

     He will talk about the need of equality for women, gays, immigrants, and Latinos but the concerns of our community and the words “Black or African-American” never cross his lips. But most of us don’t seem to care. 

     That may be why he’s unconcerned. You decide.


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