L in the Southeast

L in the Southeast
Atlanta, Georgia, United States
November 04
Retired PR Director
I am a retired Public Relations professional who now writes purely for fun and catharsis. I covered most of my memoir-type pieces in the first three years here. Lately I have dabbled in politics, current affairs, pop culture and movie reviews. Life is my muse.


L in the Southeast's Links

JANUARY 30, 2013 12:56PM

Tears Burn My Eyes

Rate: 21 Flag

Chicago murder victim hadiya-pendleton


Isn't’ she cute?  Meet 15-year-old Chicagoan Hadiyah Pendleton. 

This King College Preparatory High School student had the thrill of a lifetime when, as head majorette, she led the school’s marching band past the reviewing stand where the President of the United States and his family cheered them on.

King high is one of Chicago’s eight selective enrollment secondary schools, which means the 900 students who attend had to apply for admittance and were accepted based on their academic achievement and test scores.  It is located in the Kenwood neighborhood on Chicago’s south side – less than a mile from the Hyde Park residence of Michelle and Barack Obama.

Yesterday, King dismissed Pendleton and her 16-year-old friend because of exams, so they decided to spend the unusual free time at a nearby park.  That’s where Hadiyah and the boy she was with were caught in the crossfire of two gangs shooting it out in broad daylight, right there in the open.

The boy was seriously injured.  Hadiyah is dead.  Dead. 

I lived in Chicago for for many years.  I lived in Hyde Park where my son attended pre-school and his first three years of elementary school.  The dominant influence in that area is the renowned University of Chicago.  Many of Hadiyah’s classmates were probably children of members of the faculty. 

This is a tragedy that should smack the gun lobby upside their stubborn heads.  Even they should be able to understand the unbearable irony of this child’s loss of life.  Even though Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel has pulled all investments in gun manufacturers from the city’s pension fund, nothing seems to keep the illegal handguns out of the hands of society’s miscreants.

I have always believed that the only solution is to outlaw the manufacture of handguns marketed to the general public.  I can’t tell you how many of my like-minded friends – i.e., likeminded in most things – have told me “that will never happen.  It just won’t.”

But I know what’s true.  Even if we wised up and stopped gun manufacturers from producing Saturday Night Specials and similar weapons, they would be made elsewhere and smuggled into the country the same way drugs are today. 

Tears keep burning the backs of my eyes.  Children are dying in parks at 2 p.m.  Children are dying in their classrooms, seated at their desks.  Our jobs as adults are to protect children from these dangers.  We are failing.  Miserably.

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Oh, Lezlie. We are failing to protect our children, over and over and over again.

I agree with you about the manufacturing. One huge reason our country is so gun-hungry is because the manufacturers are relentless in their advertising and lobbying. They are fueling a desire and need and habit that wouldn't exist to this extent otherwise, as with cigarettes 50 years ago. As with cigarettes, we're exporting this cause of death and injury all across the world, too.

Rest in peace, Hadiyah Pendleton. May God help your family and loved ones.
Oh my God. I didn't see that coming. And I should have. It's happening every damn day. ~r
clay ball: Every one of our social problems goes back to greed among those who are willing to create victims so that they can prosper. It is so discouraging. I'm getting short on hope.

Joanie: That's why I wrote it the way I did. I wanted it to startle the reader.
I challenge everyone who reads this to email the link or story to their Congressperson as I did. It is a wonderful piece.
Chicago Guy posted about this a little while ago on Our Salon, Lezlie. It's maddening. I asked him what new law he might suggest that could have prevented this tragedy. I intended the word "practical" to be implied.
if you will do nothing about poverty and drugs, i don't have much sympathy when the occasional middle class white kid gets caught in the cross-fire.
This story is so sad.

However, it's probably an illegal gun in the hands of an unregistered (and possibly illegal) owner that killed this poor girl.

As such, I equate the argument to stop the manufacture and sale of guns (to legal citizens) the same as advocating to disarm police. Who would want that?
We glorify gangs in the US. The authorities know their names, where they live and what crimes each of them has committed. Nevertheless, they still exist and commit murder and rape everyday especially in inner cities. Who is protecting gangs and why is seriously beyond me; may be this is one way for the owners of the country to keep the peasants down.

TAKING guns (by force if necessary) from violent criminals should be the cornerstone and first step of gun control; it only makes sense. Because any new gun control laws only give criminals MORE monopoly on guns. I wish it weren't so. I am so sorry for this grave loss. R
The 119 children murdered by drone strikes were "cute" too.

I guess they don't count though... they weren't Obama supporters.
Heartbreaking. There is no other word. I wish I had an answer. I would support anything, including a constitutional amendment, to wring these instruments of destruction from our society. Maybe it will take a major push by parents, like MADD accomplished, to make something happen. R
I was taking crime photos in Oakland for Berkleyside. The average age was 15. Fifteen years old and no future.. Except for guns, drugs and god knows what else.
What a loss!
Matt: If the guns aren’t made, at least not in this country, it will make it more difficult for these punks to get them. Will they get them elsewhere? Probably. I don’t know the answers. I just know we are failing.
al loomis: Huh? This was not a middle-class white kid! Look at the picture.

Joisey: I said as much in the piece.

Thoth: Remember back when “law and order” were the watchwords of the right? Now they don’t want to hear it or fund it. And they don’t seem to care who the innocent victims are.

Gerald: There are groups like that already. They have not been able to match the power of the gun lobby yet. Perhaps the time will come…
[r] political grand-standing while the media spotlight shines, meanwhile sweetheart deals or surrender to NRA. Assault rifles and military guns can't even be controlled. Handguns not even being addressed even though the statistics on them are incredible especially in our cities. Rahm in Chicago sure hasn't helped murder statistics. Meanwhile we have a violent government and president role-modelling killing and being defended by the vast majority of the citizens. You can't channel surf without being treated to multiple scenes of shooting, knifing, raping, etc. News shows report carnage and only for propaganda purposes do they come close to making moral judgments, more like demonizing the side the ruthless US government is for the minute not on.

Let me know when our politicians and citizens begin to get serious. Human lives lost, especially children. SO NOT A BIGGIE!!!

Obama addresses gun control for the minute cuz of media and because it distracts and gives people hope while he does VILE things like killing and droning and sanctioning and giving monster tax breaks to the rich despite the bullshit he spouts at election time.

best, libby
US responsible for 75% of arms sales in the world. We want wars, especially civil wars. Softens up countries for the ultimate regime change kill by the so not democracy bringing avaricious corporate-controlled US and allies. Gangsterism isn't just in teenage gangs!!!
Libby, if you can make it not about President Obama, I'd like to hear what you think the solution to the handgun problem in the U.S. should be. I already know you despise him, but he is not a monarch, nor can he ignore viable threats to the safety of Americans. What do you think he should do?
Dear God, L, I have been giving facts and statistics backing up my disgust with Obama AND Congress AND the friggen' corporatists who pimp out all three branches of our government for a very long time on os in my blogs. You make it sound like this is just a personality clash. It is personal because I am emotional about the colossal pain he is causing here and abroad.

And if people would quit playing ostrich and dig beyond the CORPORATE media hype they might find out some disgusting things that would make them as outraged as I with our executive and his branch as well as the corruption-links to military and other branches. Then again, many don't give a sh*t or believe might makes right as long as they are the winning side or are just lost to a dangerous loyalty to someone who doesn't deserve it.

It is you who are cherry picking around Obama calling me out. Poor Obama. What can he do? Who is making him make the kill lists. Who is making him drone infants? Poor Obama. Obama talking about the gun crisis, I recall him not voting for banning automatic weapons. Where was he then? It wasn't convenient for him then. You might say pragmatism, I call it lack of a moral compass. Talk is cheap and Obama will talk the talk as long as he doesn't have to seriously walk the walk. Or he will give us a crumb to point to to prove he is not out-Republicaning so many Republicans.

As some have said including me, Obama gets to so often play the "good cop" when "good cops" and "bad cops" play a con game to manipulate their "subjects". They are on the same side don't you know? Especially with Mr. Bipartisan Grand Bargain.

It is crazymaking trying to communicate with people locked in cronyism and truthiness and who are amazing in giving Obama so little responsibility for what has happened. Ramping up the Bush obscenities? So not his fault. Cheney couldn't take it as far as Obama has in terms of war crimes.

I don't mention Obama in my last blog but you can bet he is enabling those 80 rat bastard CEOs who are spending $60 million to convince us that it is a wise thing to gut social security and medicare so they can get more profits and lower wages and outsource. You don't think Obama is on board??? Damn.

Cronyism, and we all are guilty of getting enmeshed in it at times, is alive and well, especially among Obama apologists.

But so sorry. Won't sully your thread if you would prefer with my honest feelings and thoughts. I do blame the enablers of Obama almost as much as I blame him.

You know it is all connected, this corruption and national governing sociopathy! Very much including Obama. How has it gotten this bad if there has not been so much saturated corruption.

There must be a modern word for teflon re Obama. He out-Reagans Reagan.

Easier to go after me than the perpetrators of evil domestically and globally. Sorry to disturb your comfort zone and that of your abundant cronies who are prolonging suffering not fixing it with their continued minimizing and excusing Obama and his policies.

I'm with Safe_Bet's Amy on this one and libby.
It was the DC attempt to ban hand guns iirc that Obama flip-flopped on as he ran on rhetoric.

Now Obama ADMINISTRATION is enabling so many weapons going to the anti-human rights Saudi Arabia. SO MANY WEAPONS. Weapons from SA now in the hands of al-Qaeda-linked jihadists destroying Syria and elsewhere, that destroyed Libya, wanting the same regime change. But that is his administration I guess and that is SA. Not Obama I guess people who don't connect dots will say.
When guns are outlawed, only the outlaws will have guns.
As a salesperson I'm offended by how inept these efforts are.

You don't get people down a path with a club. If you try that, they'll just think of you as that crazy violent person with the club. You show them something, then say: "What conclusion does that make you reach?" Then you do that with the next step.

Your jury isn't sitting still, and you can't alienate them. Yelling at them doesn't work. They'll just leave.

I'm over on my blog having a different version of this Obama argument in two places. I haven't used the salesperson angle yet, maybe I need to try that.

You know, I was in college during the late days of the Vietnam War. I was in one of the most liberal colleges in the country (still is) and one day the Communists came to town. They had what should have been a sympathetic audience. Instead, they talked about Paper Tiger Running Dog Imperialist Lackeys and we all thought they were cretins.

It would have been easy:

Do you think it's fair that some people inherit loads of money while others starve? Did they earn it?

What is wrong with sharing? Even in your religious tradition (which, of course, the Communists would have vilified rather than using), isn't taking care of the least among us a requirement?

Why should workers suffer because their bosses want to get rich on their backs? What makes their bosses entitled to this? What makes them better than the people they're over? Why is it right that we allow anyone to suffer?

Wouldn't the world be a better place if we could actually replace greed? Do you realize just how much evil in the world comes from greed?

Isn't equality something you value? We're the most egalitarian people out there. Why is it right that someone should have better access than you do to, say, education, because of who their parents are?

Sure, there are answers to some of this stuff, but these questions would at least have gotten some people thinking, rather than demonizing reflexively. All I see here are people screaming about Paper Tiger Running Dog Imperialist Lackeys and not having a clue why people are so fundamentally immoral as not to listen.
Libby, I don't care about your disgust with Obama. What I wanted to know and you haven't yet answered is what you want to see happen from this point forward. What do you think the solutions to all this American domestic violence should be going forward?
Christine: What are you agreeing to? That everything is all the President's fault? I write about illegal handguns in the United States and it becomes a discussion of foreign policy? Help me out here.

Kosh: Yelling at me does nothing but cause me to stop listening. I am very tired of the profane language. I am very tired of the refusal to answer legitimate, direct questions. I will never stoop to the level of name-calling or screeching. I don't get anything out of invective. If this is their idea of a conversation, I'll opt out.
One of my first jobs was selling guns. Everyone who came in wanted to tell me why they needed a gun and not one of them mentioned target practice. I really love the buy-back programs that churches sponsor sometimes. If I were Trump or Gates, I'd fund those in every town. Turn these swords into plowshares. Excellent post - I'm glad you were able to write.
You know the story about King Solomon and the baby. Two ostensible parents could not come to an agreement as to who owned the baby, so it was recommended that the baby was split. Before the baby was killed, one relented, and the baby was spared and goven to the less belicose baby.

This time in civilization is like that, but we have moved on to killing the baby...over and over and over. We decide that either, guns are a right, so a baby must die. Or, take his gun, and not mine, and a baby dies. Or it's Obama's fault.

The fact is, guns are finite. There are a lot of them, but they are not infinite. The flow of them can be stemmed. And the supply can be diminished. It has been done elsewhere, and it can be done here. The Feinstein plan is about stemming the flow and reducing the number. It is a reasonable, real world plan. Doing nothing will result in more babies dying. Blaming Obama is the same as doing nothing, only more flamboyantly.
Start a conversation about guns and out comes the anger and the inevitable rationalizations. It's not about ideas or beliefs or race or social strata. It's about hard, cold numbers. We have the most domestic gun deaths of any civilized nation in the world. By a huge margin. Our country's gun manufacturers spend more money on political campaigns and lobbying to protect their profits than any other corporate entity. By a huge margin.

And children keep dying. Even one child's death is too huge a margin for me.
yes, a miserable fail. a timely, well-written piece.
Why direct your attention at the gun manufacturers and not at the children who fired weapons so recklessly and callously, as well as the parents of these shooters? Why always turn to government? -- Is it to avoid personal responsibility?

Why is it that our governments' failures to win victories over drugs, guns, poverty, health care costs, or blight doesn't impress upon you the conclusion that the answer here lies somewhere else?
Exactly how much more tax money do you want to spend, or how much additional regulation do you seek to impose, to make no discernable difference in the rate or character of homicide by firearms?
Bill: This President seems to have a lot more power than other’s have, or at least that’s what the Obama-bashers seem to be saying. Yet none of them will ever answer the question “What would you do instead?”

Sally: I’ve been watching a lot of historical documentaries these last few months and the American love affair with firearms is deep-seated. Another child was shot at an Atlanta middle school by a classmate today. The school has metal-detectors and guards and still a kid brought a loaded gun on campus and used it.

maria: Thank you.

UncleChri: I direct my attention to the gun manufacturers because they are the ones who make the guns! And they are the ones who are funding all the pro-gun resistance to getting a grip on these ILLEGAL guns used in everyday crimes like this one in Chicago. You insult me by implying that I don’t understand all the elements that feed the country’s abundant social problems. Perhaps you can tell me what you think should be done about the violence and child gun deaths starting today. Where exactly do you think the answer lies?
Why direct your attention at the gun manufacturers and not at the children who fired weapons so recklessly and callously, as well as the parents of these shooters?

Is it to avoid personal responsibility?
UncleChri: Ah, I see. Too much trouble to answer a simple question like what would you do? That's what happens every time I ask that question to those who would like to live without government. Not too much communicating going on that way, is there?
"Personal responsibility" would involve using your powers of self-government to stem the flow of guns used in crime. Citing the abstract "personal responsibility" is a cop-out from ideologues who want or need to avoid approaching possible solutions because they can't think well enough to be involved at that level. In Chris' case, it's his canned answer to most anything, and an attempt to make an argument without having to present one.

When raising children, "personal responsibility" applies. It does not and can not be applied to populations in most questions of governance. You can "personal responsibility" in one hand and defecate in the other and know from the smell which one fills first. It changes nothing, influences nothing. It's insipid to suggest such concrete problems can be addressed successfully by bleating "personal responsibility." It's a non-starter. It's ridiculous. Impotent. Irrelevant. Downright goofy. But it's easy, so that's why so many slogan-chanting ideologues use it.
Action comes from reaction. WE have to rise up and stake our lives on what we believe at times. Take steps, real - live - steps to get the stalled-out train moving again, and in the proper direction.

The gun manufacturers can and will be overcome, outshouted, and drummed out of the halls of our legislatures and Congress with our efforts, our voices, our votes, and our protests.

Who thought Big Tobacco would ever die? Yet, here we are with President Obama co-sponsoring tobacco regulation legislation when he was in the Senate, and his Presidential administration is demonstrating an ongoing commitment to tobacco control. Many of today's top leaders in Congress are also strong tobacco-control advocates (the lagniappe with all of this is that many of them, like the President, are smokers). The tobacco lobby was second to none in the history of lobbying.

It CAN and it WILL be done with tobacco and because we are a great people, with great ideals, and great commitment to the things of this world that are good for us all - it will be done with guns as well.

Sometimes we know what is good for us, in spite of ourselves.
Seer: I have yet to get an answer to that question from ANY commenter on this site or on OurSalon. Knowing what the answer isn’t is synonymous with not knowing at all.

Paul: “I want what I want when I want it!” That’s all it’s about. Selfish, single-focused, me-first-screw-the-rest points of view.

Gabby Abby: Wow! Great comment. I was thinking about the tobacco lobby myself yesterday. We, the people, win when the majority of us become educated enough about the REAL facts to demand and end to the greed-driven production of deadly products. Thanks!
I wish there were some solution for this. I wish it so much. When I heard about this death, I was heartbroken, too. "Tears burn my eyes" - you put it so well. For now, all we can say is Rest in Peace, Hadiyah.
Thank you. I hurt for you, for her, for my children... Tears burn my eyes too.