A child is dead because grown-ups failed to act their age: Mitchell

Written By By MARY MITCHELL Posted: 05/03/2014, 08:35pm

Every homicide, especially one involving a young person, is heartbreaking.

And just when you think you’ve seen the worst scenario that ends up with a life being violently snatched away, another senseless murder grabs the headlines and shakes us to our moral core.

At this point, many of us have simply run out of words and tears.

Those who knew and loved 14-year-old Endia Martin, gunned down in broad daylight last week, are likely still in shock.

But they are not alone.

I believe just about everyone living in the city is still reeling from the senseless nature of this crime.

Endia wasn’t a tragic victim of mistaken identity or an innocent bystander who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

We can make sense of something like that.

No, Endia was a victim of a shocking disregard for human life on the part of the juvenile who gunned her down over a Facebook feud that allegedly started over a boy.

She was fatally shot in the back during a confrontation in which an adult relative of the shooter is accused of providing the gun.

Police officials have rounded up five people who they allege had contact with that gun before the unnamed juvenile fired the fatal shot.

Among those charged was the suspect’s uncle, Donnell Flora, a 25-year-old man in a wheelchair who, police allege, took a bus to bring his niece a .38-caliber revolver.

He was charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder.

Also charged with having a direct involvement in this case was Vandetta Redwood, the 32-year-old aunt of the 14-year-old suspect.

Police allege Redwood knew that the confrontation could have turned deadly and did nothing to stop it.

Other charges in this case relate to individuals who had some contact with the weapon, including a 17-year-old accused of trying to hide the gun.

Robert James, 34, is accused of illegally selling a firearm and filing a false police report when he reported the gun stolen. Floyd Evans, 43, identified by law enforcement as the buyer, was charged with illegal possession of a firearm.

What stands out most in this tragedy is the number of adults who either contributed to this crime or had some personal involvement in it.

Had just one of these adults chosen to do what was right, Endia would be alive today.

That is why Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy’s aggressive policing in this case gives me a glimmer of hope.

Too often, the only people held accountable in these deadly shootings are the ones who pull the trigger.

In this case, a 14-year-old girl described as an “honor student,” and “student leader,” will likely be locked up until she is an adult in part because she obviously lacked the guidance she needed to make responsible decisions.

Indeed, one of the things that outrages me about this latest tragedy is how easily it could have been squashed.

But despite the consistent pleas from activists, churches, community leaders and educators to end the violence, these young people chose this deadly path.

We have adults to blame for that.

As McCarthy pointed out, what would have probably been a fistfight between two 14-year-old girls turned into a murder because one teen had easy access to a gun.

The shocking absence of responsible adults intervening in this case shows why it is so difficult to stop the violence.

Frankly, some of the people who will grieve this terrible loss either encouraged the deadly showdown, or did nothing to stop it.

They will have to live with that burden for the rest of their lives.

Part of the responsibility for this homicide rests on the shoulders of those who gawked instead of acted.

Email: marym@suntimes.com

Twitter: @MaryMitchellCST

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