The back seat.
A death seat; a child’s seat in the back of a car.
Last week, it happened again. A space designated the safest place for a child in a car seat was violated by the trajectory of another bullet.
This time it was another 1-year-old, Kayden Swann, the victim of alleged road rage involving a gun while sitting in the back seat of a car driven by his grandmother’s boyfriend on Lake Shore Drive.
Last June, it was 1-year-old Sincere Gaston, who was shot in the chest in the back car seat while riding with his 22-year-old mother, who was grazed in the head, while driving in the Englewood neighborhood.
Someone had pulled alongside his mother’s car and fired seven or eight times.
Or Mekhi James, 3, who was killed last June on the West Side while sitting in the back seat of a car driven by his stepfather.
Or DaJore Wilson, 8, who was shot last Sept. 7, when a light turned green and a gun unloaded a barrage of bullets into the back of the SUV she was riding containing several family members.
And although Stacey Jones, 35, was found shot and unresponsive on a South Side street last October, her prematurely delivered “Baby Boy Harrison” only lived for four days.
In 2020, there were 47 children who were 17 years old or younger killed by gun violence in Chicago.
In 2021, we are already ahead of the grisly game at 11.
America is forced to ask itself once again — where is it safe for a child in this world of guns and the death they spawn?
By now we know there is no place safe for our children, not a school or schoolyard or street corner or birthday party or back seat of a car.
We ask and ask and ask and then tsk tsk tsk when no laws ever seem to protect our children from the violence of a bullet; projectiles of death never familiar in a sonnet.
Although Kayden is still fighting for his life at Lurie Children’s Hospital, Gaston never left St. Bernard Hospital alive.
It drew an emotional response from then Chicago Police Department Chief of Operations Fred Waller, who has since retired:
“When is this gonna stop?” Waller demanded at the time.
“I don’t even have the words — the tremendous emotion, the tremendous strife that they [the family] were going through,” Waller said.
“And we’ll catch them. We will no doubt catch the person who did it. We’ll catch the person who killed this kid. But that’s not gonna bring that kid back. And that’s not gonna satisfy that family. When are we going to say enough is enough?”
It all seems unimaginable.
Is it within the realm of reality that pandemic shields being used to slow the spread of the virus now might morph into bulletproof back-seat shields to protect our children?
Is the quest for a solution like a merry-go-round leading nowhere?
On page 319 of author Robert Kolker’s brilliant book: “Hidden Valley Road,” he quotes a researcher describing a similar dilemma, but in that case he was referring to studying schizophrenia.
“It’s like riding a merry-go-round. One chooses the horse. One can make believe his horse is leading the rest. Then when that particular ride is finished, one can step off ... only to observe the horse has really gone nowhere.”
God help us.
A royal note . . .
The funeral of 99-year-old Prince Philip of England, Queen Elizabeth’s husband who dutifully always kept two paces behind his wife, will probably be a humdinger.
If not because of the pomp, it could be the circumstance.
It’s a punter’s bet when the Brit press shows up for Philip’s private funeral, their cameras will be pointed in the direction of his outspoken grandchild, Prince Harry. He is expected to attend even though he and his pregnant wife, Meghan nee Markle, tossed a few Brit barbs over the palace transom from their California encampment via an interview with Oprah essentially quitting the royal family.
Philip was in the hospital at the time.
The Brit tabloids wielded rapiers. Meghan’s pregnancy may be a reason not to attend the funeral.
History will attend to Philip’s legacy, but amazingly, the royal consort dutifully attended 300 public functions a year until his retirement five years ago; answered his own telephone in the royal residence; and mixed his own cocktails.
Sadly, Philip thought his young son, Charles — who will become the heir to the British throne — was a “bit of a wimp.”
Condolences to the queen.
Sneedlings . . .
Saturday birthdays: Shay Mitchell, 34; Mandy Moore, 37; and Steven Seagal, 69. . . . Sunday birthdays: Alessandra Ambrosio, 40; Summer Walker, 25; and Michelle Phan, 34.