Who are we to blame for the year getting off to such a bloody start?
As of Jan. 5, 10 people had been murdered and 47 others had been shot in the city.
On Tuesday, two teenagers in the Grand Crossing neighborhood were killed and a third was wounded when someone jumped out of a vehicle and started shooting.
Donta Parker, 16, was shot in the head and Sakinah Reed, 17, was shot twice in the chest. Both were pronounced dead at local hospitals.
To their credit, young African-American activists are expending a lot of positive energy focusing attention on police-involved shootings.
Yet it is killing as usual in the neighborhoods where many of these protesters live.
Jonathan Jimenez, 25, was killed in Brighton Park on Tuesday night in another drive-by; Ronald Jerome Clark was fatally shot when he got into a fight in an apartment in the Back of the Yards neighborhood.
Other homicide victims thus far in 2016 include Antwan McBee, 16, and Deandre Holiday, 24. McBee was killed when someone pulled up alongside the car he was in and began firing. Holiday was the city’s first homicide of 2016.
I’m too old to be naive. I know that Chicago isn’t Mayberry, U.S.A.
Even if the city dramatically increased the number of uniformed police officers in these crime-scarred neighborhoods, someone is still going to get killed. Cops can’t be on every street corner.
But the number of lives lost in Chicago is staggering.
When you factor in the controversial police-involved shootings, it is literally like living between a rock and a hard place.
But until young activists put the same level of energy into fighting street violence as they put into fighting police violence, little will change.
President Barack Obama did his part by signing orders to close some gun sale loopholes.
“Every time I think about those kids it gets me mad. And by the way, it happens on the streets of Chicago every day,” Obama said Tuesday during his emotional remarks before signing the executive orders.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has tried to tackle the gun violence by advocating for stricter gun laws, and investing in mentoring programs like the “Becoming a Man,” or “BAM.”
Despite the calls for his head now — a backlash for the inept handling of a video showing Chicago Police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting Laquan McDonald 16 times — Emanuel made saving young black males the centerpiece of his second inaugural address.
“The faces of these lost and unconnected young men are often invisible — until we see them in a mug shot as the victim or perpetrator of a senseless crime,” he said.
“We all need to do more for our young people who are economically and spiritually hungry. And we must come to realize that this is not just a problem for certain communities.
“Anything that stunts the hopes and opportunities of thousands of young Chicagoans undermines our entire city’s future,” Emanuel added.
I have no doubt that his effort to reform the police department will yield results, frankly, because this issue will be under a spotlight for years.
But ending the street violence is going to take a lot of self-reflection on the part of a lot of people, starting with the one in the mirror.
Because when young people are killing others and are being killed by other youth, we don’t have to look far to place blame.