Archive for the ‘Chicago’ Category

When you interview a group of teenagers who drum away on buckets like there’s no tomorrow, the last thought on your mind is that one of them will end up shot on a South Side street, in clear daylight.

On Dec. 21, Andre Hunter, 19, was allegedly shot five times by 18-year-old Iman Frison. The shooting took place at 2:40 p.m. near the 7700 block of South Stewart Avenue, according to a Chicago Tribune report.

Having left Chicago in 2010, an old friend sent me a link to the news story.

After opening the link, I just sat in my chair, stunned at the news.

In early 2009, I had briefly interviewed and taped Hunter, along with three other “Bucket Boys” playing in the underground tunnel that connects the Red and Blue line stops at Jackson.

It was — and still is — one of my favorite works as a journalist. The boys loved the idea of being interviewed, and I loved the rhythm and passion they put into their music.

I couldn’t imagine something this bad happening to one of them. But perhaps I should have.

One of the first things that caught my eye when I moved to Chicago in mid-2008, was how little room was given on newspapers to shootings and local deaths. It gave me the impression that what was happening was either not that relevant or perhaps it was just so ordinary, it didn’t deserve more than 10 brief lines on page 24.

Perhaps that is exactly the problem.

There are urban areas across the country (and Chicago’s South Side is definitely among these) that can be considered as dangerous as any war zone in Afghanistan or Syria.

Until these deaths — and the deaths of this country’s youngest — are not front and center in the media, no one will pay attention.

Many times in the past, news organizations have supported or brought forth social battles that turned out to improve the nation as a whole.

Perhaps it’s time to take a few minutes away from the default and debt conversations that are hammered in our brains every change of the political season, and dedicate that time to telling millions of viewers/readers/listeners that there is a war inside the U.S. boundaries.

And it’s time to start talking about it seriously.

Advertisements

One of the first things I noticed when I moved to Chicago two years ago was the very low attention gunshot killings received from the local news media.

As I flipped through the pages of the Chicago Tribune, I’d see a few dozen words accompany headlines depicting the murders of young people. Every day there would be a short clip on some violent death. Very rarely did these stories make the front page.

I am certain very few people outside Chicago – but probably even in the city itself – realize the neighborhood war that is undergoing in certain areas of the city.

The filmed death of high school student Derrion Albert was an eye-opener for most people. President Barack Obama was so shocked that he sent Attorney General Eric Holder and Education Secretary Arne Duncan to Chicago to let everyone know the government was going to lend a hand… but has it?
Continue Reading »