In a front page and above-the-fold story for Thursday’s print edition, The Washington Post Learn more a reality that dozens of people are shot and killed every week and weekend in Chicago, Illinois, but there’s barely any national attention given to the plight of Chicagoans in contrast to the equally horrifying mass shootings in suburbs and other more economically prosperous areas.
Robert Klemko, a reporter, wrote the headline for the printed edition. “Toll on South Side eclipsed suburb’s, but drew no furor” (and “With little outcry, Chicago’s bloody weekend eclipsed Highland Park toll” online) that gave away the media game of fixating on certain acts of gun violence, but not others.
Klemko had a sobering open:
No new counseling resources were announced this week on this city’s impoverished South Side, even after a man was shot to death in broad daylight, feet from a playground, days before July Fourth.
There are no crowdsourced charity drives raising millions for victims’ families in Chicago, where the holiday weekend death toll reached at least 10 with 62 injured — numbers that exceed the toll from a July Fourth parade shooting in nearby Highland Park, Ill.
The violence in this affluent suburb on the lakeside was an exception. This is where it’s a very common occurrence.
Klemko then quoted “community activist and organizer” Bobbie Brown, who saw “the nationally televised law enforcement response and community outpouring” Highland Park “from her home in the Englewood neighborhood” Nearby a murder in a playground on Friday afternoon. “[o]ur babies see people get shot while they’re at a playground, and there’s no counseling.”
Despite the fact that “Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) has significantly boosted mental health funding for communities affected by violence,” Klemko explained “residents touched by the weekend’s violence said the need for help far surpasses what is available and easily accessed.”
The privileged group of The Post, Klemko relayed how even the idea of attending a parade on the South Side of Chicago would be tempting fate in an area with a median household income of $118,000 smaller than that of Highland Park (click “expand”):
Champagne Gardner, a 29-year-old nursing assistant, said she was sleeping at her mother’s home in the Grand Crossing neighborhood early Sunday when her mother decided to call the police about the noise coming from a party on her block. Her mother called dispatchers and walked outside to find the address. Her mother heard gunshots as she stood at the venue hosting the party.
Gardner states that law enforcement took 45 minutes to arrive despite only being one-mile away from the nearest station. Police said that a 24-year-old male was declared dead on the spot, while two females were transported to hospital with bullet wounds. Chicago police refused to respond to my request.
“It was sad to hear about Highland Park,” Gardner said of the suburb where the median household income is $147,067, according to the 2020 Census. “But at the same time, we’re used to that kind of stuff here. There was a shooting at that same house last year.”
Gardner’s family doesn’t let their young children play beyond their fenced-in backyard in Grand Crossing, where the median household income is estimated at just over $29,000. Shermiya (35-year-old mom of three) asked for anonymity out of safety reasons. Taking her children to a July Fourth parade — or any large gathering — in her neighborhood would be unthinkable, she said.
Her home is located at the corner of South Evans Avenue and 6600 South Evans Avenue. Police responded to an emergency call Tuesday morning regarding gunshots. An ambulance was called to transport a 31 year old man who had been shot six more times. He was later declared dead at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Gunshot wounds were also treated by two other patients.
Klemko was told by Shermiya, a mother going under the same name as Shermiya, that there is another truth to mass shootings.
“It was on for hours and hours,” Shermiya said. “And it’s like, people are getting shot every day around here, around the corner, up the street. But they still don’t cover it because it’s not enough White people down here.”
And because she and fellow Chicagoans been ignored, Klemko said Shermiya believes “the poverty of the inner city and its consequences are intentional.”
The PostStory ended with sad comments about South Side residents’ inability to distinguish between fireworks and gunfire.
Brown was speaking on Tuesday afternoon when leftover fireworks rang out in the streets. She didn’t flinch. Highland Park witnesses reported confusion at the beginning of the shooting, when many thought the shots were fireworks. However, this is not the case here.
“When it’s a gunshot,” Brown said, “there’s a little bit more oomph to it.”