It’s a day every student at Englewood’s Urban Prep Charter Academy eagerly anticipates, including 17-year-old Deonte Hoard.
On Friday all seniors admitted to college are honored during the school’s august “On to the Next One Ceremony.” It’s a beautiful, moving event.
Hoard won’t be there.
Instead of reveling in his success — Deonte earned multiple college admissions letters — his family is mourning. Deonte is Chicago’s latest agonizing and senseless shooting victim. He was killed Monday on his block in the South Deering neighborhood, shot after someone in a black SUV opened fire around 7 p.m.
It was the first death at the nine-year-old South Side all-boys school. We can only hope it will be the last.
But hope isn’t enough.
Chicagoans want more than that flimsy dream — and we should demand it from our police, our schools, our neighbors and our politicians. And in this election season, we should all demand it from the city’s mayoral candidates.
We don’t yet know the details of Deonte’s death, in particular if the killer used an illegal gun. But based on how things go in Chicago, it’s a pretty safe bet. If Chicago’s next mayor — be it Rahm Emanuel or Chuy Garcia — wants to limit these maddening deaths, slowing the flow of illegal guns into Chicago must be a top priority.
Chicago’s next mayor should use his bully pulpit much more to push through better gun laws, especially in Springfield. As we said before, Chicago and Illinois need a vigorous champion of common-sense gun control, someone as willing to be as identified with the cause as former Mayor Michael Bloomberg was in New York.
There’s not shortage of smart ideas to reduce the number of illegal guns. Illinois should license gun dealers and create stronger penalties for people who fail to report lost or stolen guns or disregard the state’s new background check law. Congress should require universal background checks, nationwide, and crack down on gun trafficking.
The mayoral runoff campaign is in full swing. Talk of more police officers, summer jobs and better policing strategies abound. All important, all worth discussing.
But who’s going to take the lead on slowing the flow of guns — on preventing another shooting death just like Deonte Hoard’s?