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Editorial: Gun-control debate is personal for Chicagoans


Hadiya Pendleton

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Updated: March 2, 2013 11:38AM

In Washington, the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday held the Capitol’s first gun-control hearing since 20 children were shot dead in Newtown, Conn.

But here in Chicago, we were thinking of Hadiya Pendleton.

Just a week after she performed as a majorette at inauguration ceremonies in Washington, Hadiya, 15, was shot in the back and killed in a park in the 4500 block of South Oakenwald Avenue. That’s about three blocks from King College Prep, where she went to school, and less than a mile from President Barack Obama’s Kenwood home. She wasn’t the gunman’s target.

We’re thinking of Tyrone Lawson II, 17, who attended a basketball game two weeks ago near Chicago State University’s gym — a place his mother thought would be safe. Tyrone was shot and killed near a parking lot outside the gym.

We’re also thinking of Kimberly Common, who lost a second son to gun violence on Tuesday, and Shirley Chambers, who lost a fourth child to gun violence on Sunday evening.

We understand that, living in Chicago, we might not fully understand how people in quieter rural areas see the gun debate. To them, it might appear to be an unnecessary threat to firearms and a way of life they cherish. In discussing how to ease our nation’s scourge of gun violence, we need to respect that point of view.

By the same token, we would ask them to reflect on what it’s like to live in urban areas, where the free flow of guns puts thousands of people in jeopardy every day. We would ask them to think about all the innocent children whose lives have been snatched away by gunfire and grieving families whose loved ones will never return.

When those who live far from our big cities weigh the arguments for gun control, they, too, should be thinking of Hadiya.

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