The 4th of July weekend used to mean backyard barbecues and sidewalk fireworks.

But this year, I passed up invitations to gather with family and friends because I didn’t want to risk “becoming an unintended target.”

That’s where we are now.

You don’t have to be gang or drug-related, or be involved in an explosive domestic partnership, or even be the target of robbers and carjackers to get shot.

Too often, the people who end up taking a bullet are like the woman who was one of the Chicagoans wounded by gunfire over the holiday.

The woman was climbing the stairs to her Far South Side home, when a stray bullet grazed her head.

By 7 a.m. Monday, 11 people had been killed and at least 60 others wounded in holiday weekend shootings across the city since Thursday night. Two more were shot dead by police.

 That’s despite the “Put The Guns Down” campaign that Mayor Rahm Emanuel launched before the Memorial Day Holiday, with the help of popular local radio DJs.

Although there was at least one shooting in Uptown and in the Irving Park area, most of the carnage was confined to neighborhoods on the South and West Sides where law-abiding citizens are trapped behind enemy lines.

Emanuel called the number of shootings “simply unacceptable.”

“The solution does not just include policing…. We also have to give our young people alternatives to the street, and as a community we need to demand more of ourselves and our neighbors,” the mayor said in a statement.

I agree. 

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