Imagine you saw that headline. Imagine you woke up on Monday morning and those words were spread across the top of your local city paper. By the time you read it, the Governor would have already deployed the National Guard. The President would have already made a statement. A curfew would have been set for anyone under 18. Schools would have been closed. Check points would have been set up around the city. Every active police officer would be called into work. CNN, MSNBC and Fox News would all break into their regular scheduled programming for a special report. Just close your eyes for a moment and imagine that fifty-three WHITE people were shot in one weekend in one city by fifty-three different people. Just for a moment, imagine. You can open your eyes now…
Reality. Reality sets in and you realize that fifty-three WHITE people were NOT shot in one weekend in one city by fifty-three different people. Impossible. Not in this country. Not in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Not in the country that God has blessed. We are blessed to realize that this didn’t happen. Not this past weekend. Not the weekend before that. And not even the weekend before the weekend before that. For us as white people, me included, this is not a reality. Not something that even our imagination can dream of. So we go back to sleep and thank God that it wasn’t true.
But for the father of a beautiful seven year old girl who was shot while playing in front of her house on the southside of Chicago, this dream quickly became a nightmare. For the best friend of the playful fourteen year old young man shot dead in his head while eating outside a pizzeria on the northside of Chicago, he won’t be able to wake up tomorrow morning thanking God. For the mother of the thirty three year old US Coast Guard member who was pronounced dead when he arrived at Jackson Park Hospital, she tells the media, “I don’t think the black male life expectancy goes past 25 now. He is 33. I thought I had got him past the hump.” This is reality. Maybe not for us white people, but for millions of black people, this is what every weekend looks like. And this is precisely what it looked like in Chicago this past weekend. 53 shot. 10 dead.
There was no deployment of the National Guard. The President didn’t mention it. No curfew was set and schools stayed open. No check points, no increased police presence and I am pretty sure that Fox News didn’t mentioned it. The response? The Mayor and the police chief gave a press conference and said it’s nothing new, cause they had the same number of shootings at this time last year, but they introduced a new approach to slow down the violence. They were going to go after the liquor and convenient stores where gang members and drug dealers hang out and clean house. And in the words of the Mayor, “we will go after you!” Threats and band-aids. And sometimes band-aids do work and sometimes we need band-aids, but Mr. Mayor of Chicago and to mayors across this country, this is no paper cut. A band-aid may stop the bleeding today, but the cut will require surgery tomorrow.
53 people shot in one weekend is unacceptable for a nation as prosperous as ours. It is unacceptable if the victims were white, black, brown or any other shade of the human complexion. We must do better and we will. If we are to solve America’s problems, then ALL Americans must be part of the solution. Just imagine, in the near future, one weekend when the gunshots are silent.