What will it take before Mayor Rahm Emanuel realizes that some neighborhoods in Chicago really are war zones?
Many of us thought we had turned the corner on crime in 2013 when Hadiya Pendleton was gunned down in a play lot within blocks of President Barack Obama’s Kenwood home.
And when alleged gang members murdered Jonylah Watkins, a baby still in diapers, most of us thought it couldn’t get much worse.
But now we are seeing a repeat of such tragic stories.
Despite the presence of additional cops in violence-plagued neighborhoods, the garlands of yellow police tape, blaring ambulance sirens and flashing blue lights are still all too common.
What horrifies me most about the senseless murder of Shamiya Adams, 11, was the inescapable nature of the violence.
Shamiya was attending a slumber party in the 3900 block of West Gladys Friday night when some maniac on the street fired a gun, and the bullet flew through an open window and then a wall, striking her in the head.
I’m fairly confident that whoever shot Shamiya will be picked up. Ald. Jason Ervin (28th) has offered an $8,000 reward for information leading to the shooter, and the money will likely encourage someone to make that call.
But even without the offer of a reward, residents in and around this shooting scene aren’t going to stand for armed gangsters killing an innocent child.
It is one thing for gang members to kill one another. Their mothers and fathers will grieve, and their friends will likely continue the cycle of violence.
But when a child is killed, the entire city feels the pain.
No matter where we live, we can’t call Chicago a world-class city when the city’s children are being killed at slumber parties, in the parks, and while jumping rope on the sidewalks.
All that and more has happened to the city’s children since 12-year-old Tsarina Powell was killed in her Englewood home in 2000.
The shooter sprayed the house with an AK-47 assault weapon, killing the pre-teen as she ran from her bed. Michael Barnes was accused of firing at the house because someone living there owed him money for drugs. He was sentenced to 40 years behind bars.
In March 2006, a stray bullet killed Starkesia Reed, 14, as she was getting ready for school at her Englewood home. Carail Weeks, 28, was convicted of the crime and sentenced to 150 years in prison. Police accused Weeks of shooting at a rival gang member. That same month, a stray bullet killed 10-year-old Siretha White at her own birthday party. Moses Phillips was convicted of the crime and sentenced to 75 years in prison,
And in 2010, Tanaja Stokes, 8, was killed at 107th and Indiana, when two young men on bikes with guns started shooting. Stokes was jumping rope with her friends and a cousin.
The killers, Steshawn Brisco and Marcus Cocroft, were sentenced to 75 and 55 years, respectively.
But there have been many other blameless victims whose deaths have gone unnoticed except by family and friends.
Unlike mass shootings, this violence is not something that can be contained by keeping deadly weapons out of the hands of the mentally ill.
It will take an all-out coordinated law-enforcement effort, such as stop-and-frisk, to stop urban terrorists before they pull the trigger.
We have to stop being conflicted and accept this is a war that pits law-abiding residents against their armed neighbors who have no respect for the law.
At this point, it may take the help of Illinois State Troopers or the National Guard to stop the carnage, and the mayor shouldn’t hesitate to ask for that help.
After all, Chicago’s child victims are no less dead than the children who get caught in the crossfire of warring nations.