Fifteen-year-old Hadiya Pendleton was an honor student, volleyball player and majorette who one week earlier was performing with her high school band at President Obama’s inauguration ceremony. On Saturday, first lady Michelle Obama flew to Chicago to visit Hadiya — paying respects at her funeral.
The King College Prep student was one of 42 homicide victims in Chicago during the month of January. Pendleton’s story is an all-too-common tale in the Windy City. You wouldn’t know it, though, due to the media and political efforts to control the conversation — using this deadly epidemic for the national cause of gun control instead of actually making life safer back in Chicago.
Last year, more than 500 individuals were murdered in Chicago. The public perception is that the violence is always gang related — criminal killing criminal. Gun control advocates use this point of view to combat critics who claim that Chicago, which has the toughest gun laws in the country, is an example that gun control doesn’t work. What Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel don’t want to discuss is that gang related or not, innocent children are being buried in their own backyard.
Fifty-six children — under the age of 18 — met violent ends last year in Chicago, while 133 individuals — nearly one-third of all the murdered victims — never saw their 21st birthdays. Still, the city and the state don’t want to talk about the nightmare that Chicago’s African-American and Hispanic neighborhoods have become. Nobody is asking how the disastrous economy of Illinois is contributing to violence on the streets of Chicago.