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When will all this bloodshed end?

Updated: December 30, 2012 3:43PM



News item: On Monday afternoon, a gunman opened fire at a South Side church where funeral services were held for a slain gang member, killing one and critically wounding another. That evening, in a separate incident, a 15-year-old girl, an apparent unintended target, was fatally shot while outside talking with friends.

Chi-raq.

Cold, cold city. Of no mercy and no pity. Of no decency or respect, even as they mourn their dead. City of dread.

Oh, Chicago.

There’s another side of you I have come to know. Where the cold wind blows colder and where young gunmen grow bolder. Where the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre now looks like child’s play.

Where the Grim Reaper rises, even on sun-drenched Sunday mornings, leaving red, bloodstained corners and cold-blooded killers wandering free to kill again and again.

And again.

So that even as the preacher eulogizes, a killer strategizes — casts a deadly spray inside the house of God. So the death bell tolls again in this ceaseless, senseless murderous plot.

Chicago.

“Hog Butcher for the World,” Carl Sandburg once called you.

Now butcher of little girls. And boys. On the other side of the railroad tracks where poverty and lack and disdain for life amid social strife resists any elixir. It is a sad, sad picture.

Chi-raq.

Still butcher for this world. Widow maker. Stacker of dead bodies.

“Stormy, husky, brawling,” Sandburg says. “City of the Big Shoulders.”

Now appalling.

Can you hear your children calling?

The cries of Porshe Foster, 15, your daughter? Or the countless others fallen to the earth like dead brown leaves after the last breath of summer?

I have seen them. Watched the numbers rise high like intoxicating blue skies. Heard politicians and police officials pontificate and foster lies. Seen far too many bereaved mothers cry and far too many of our children die.

I have written the epitaphs of boys and also men. Witnessed the carnage — this spilled blood and sin (at least 470 murders so far and still a month before year’s end.)

And yet, I cannot help but wonder what else is there for this writer to say. Whether anything I might say could help change things anyway.

Since 1989, I have penned the tales of children slain. Even from across the country over a journalism career of 23 years, and back again. And yet, the headlines remain the same:

“15-year-old girl shot, killed during sleepover.”

“Horror on steps at funeral: Mourners see 2 gunned down.”

Still, I can’t help but wonder what would happen if these killings were in another part of town. Would all of Chicago then fall down?

Would she at long last rally to cure this inhumane tally? If the victim’s name wasn’t Porshe but Sally?

This much I know: That this icy death wind still blows. And that the answer to what ails also lies near where the young killers grow like a wild weed to consume the seed of promise and prosperity.

That black and brown folks must also take responsibility. For it is our own sons who are killing in these streets. And that Reverends Jesse and Al Sharpton can’t save you and me.

Chi-raq.

“They tell me you are wicked . . . ” Sandburg says.

“And they tell me you are crooked and I answer: Yes, it is true I have seen the gunman kill and go free to kill again.”

And I ask: When will it end?



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