Edwina Grant who lost her son to gun violence holds his picture as she demonstrates with CeaseFirePa at a rally in the Pennsylvania Capital building Wednesday, January 23, 2013, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
In 1995, Chicago resident Shirley Chambers lost her first child to gun violence. Her 18-year-old son, Carlos, was shot and killed by a 16-year-old high school classmate. Five years later, her 15-year-old daughter, Latoya, was killed by a 13-year-old boy. Only two months after his sister was gunned down, Shirley Chambers’s son Jerome was shot and killed outside of the Cabrini-Green housing projects in which they lived. He was 23-years-old. Jerome’s death left Shirley with one surviving child, Ronnie. “I’d pray for God to protect Ronnie and keep him safe day and night,” she told the Chicago Sun-Times. She was speaking to them on the occasion of Ronnie’s death, shot and killed this past Sunday at the age of 34.
Ronnie is one of seven killed and six wounded in Chicago over the weekend. He is one of forty homicides in the city during the month of January. He will be his mother’s last. Over the course of eighteen years, Shirley Chambers has had to bury all four of her children as a result of gun violence.
On Monday, President Obama met with police chiefs from Newtown, Connecticut; Oak Creek, Wisconsin; Aurora, Colorado; and Tucson, Arizona to discuss how to prevent the types of mass shootings these cities experienced recently. Because for all the talk about gun control as of late, the goal has really been fewer mass shootings. It says as much in the press release that preceded the president’s press conference on January 16, where he signed twenty-three executive orders and introduced his proposals for congressional legislation on gun control—the intent behind these measures is “to better protect our children and our communities from tragic mass shootings like those in Newtown, Aurora, Oak Creek, and Tucson.” There is no national conversation on how to end gun deaths like those of Shirley Chambers’s children, or the more than 500 in Chicago last year or the thousands more just like them across the country. Spoken or not, the sentiment appears to be that gun violence is more acceptable in certain places among certain people than it is in others.