After literally months of criticism and complaining about no one outside of Chicago doing anything about the horrific crime rate and record-breaking murder rate in Chicago, the criticism finally landed on President Barack Obama. It logically did land on Obama because Chicago is his hometown. Of course, die-hard Obama supporters who feel he can do no wrong – no matter what – excused him and said he is the President of the United States – not a Chicagoan right now. Yet, the criticism and concern about Obama and others ignoring the situation finally got loud enough for the President to react.
And it is about time.
The criticism began earlier in the year when the murder rate was climbing, month-by-month, weekend-by-weekend, day-by-day, and even hour-by-hour in Chicago. I could open up the online Chicago newspapers throughout the weekend and watch the number of shootings and murders increase in the headline. Friday evening a headline would say “2 Shot on Chicago’s South Side”. By midnight, the headline would change to “5 Shot and 2 Dead…” By Saturday morning, the headline would say “12 Shot and 9 Killed”, and so on through the weekend.
In time, the headlines with the increased number of shootings and deaths were expected. When at least some shootings and some deaths become “expected” in the headlines as they are now in Chicago, the violence has gone beyond too far in the big cities of America.
When Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by George Zimmerman last winter, the headlines throughout the nation were about that one murder. While devastating with its overtones of racism in the mix, Chicagoans were saying “but what about us?” Chicago had had senseless murders going on for a time – for the better part of the new Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Superintendent of Chicago Police Garry McCarthy era which began a year ago last May. The horrendous murder rate kept getting worse and worse.
Yet, the likes of another Chicagoan the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the Rev. Al Sharpton, and President Barack Obama only commented on the one shooting in Sanford, Florida. Yes, they had every right to comment on the shooting in Florida, but what about the daily shootings in Chicago, Obama’s hometown?
Finally, this past weekend, President Barack Obama commented on his hometown’s bad crime and horrific murder rate. Unlike the live, heartfelt comment Obama made on March 23 – “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon” – Obama planned and videotaped his comments regarding the ongoing crime spree and murders in Chicago to be viewed on the Bud Billiken Parade broadcast on ABC television.
Apparently a last minute endeavor, it arrived too late to even be used in the broadcast. How discouraging and inappropriate.
For what it’s worth, much thanks to the strong editorial written by Kathy Chaney, the managing editor of the Chicago Defender for the August 1 edition of the paper in which she wrote “I’m still waiting Mr. President on a response to our violence”. It was likely that editorial that finally got Obama to make some type of response to his hometown’s violence.
About Scott Paulson
Scott Paulson writes political commentary for Examiner.com and teaches English at a community college in the Chicago area. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.