Today's post is long, but it's such a necessary to understand the turn of events in Chicago and to understand tomorrow's post.
***UPDATE*** It was TOO long. I broke it up into two posts.
Derrion Albert got beat to death blocks away from Fenger HS. The video posted, went viral, went around the world. I'm going to be honest (because I can do that here), I didn't think it was that bad. Of course, I've seen beatings on Youtube before, I watched all 6 seasons of the Wire and I HEAR about these beatings taking place all the time, they just don't usually come with live video. I, like many other people, am desensitized to the violence. To tap into it would be too painful given how often this happens in the Chi. They also didn't show the most graphic part of the beating out of respect for his family. I could probably find it online if I looked, but I don't want to see it.
When the news hit jaded Chicagoans reminded each other that he wasn't the only kid that had been killed this year, that month, that week and probably not even that day. (Instead of mobilizing to do something). Young unfocused people got together all over the city to talk about what we could do. Older people marched and talked on Sunday televisions shows. CNN aired the clip. Don Lemon and Anderson Cooper asked what's going on in Chicago.
Everyone formed an opinion. It's the schools, it's the lack of police, it's the teachers, it's the parents, it's the church or lack thereof. Everyone was at Fenger HS the next day and the news anchors would say "Why are you here?" and the preachers, activists, aldermen and community leaders would say "To Help." (No action plan, no steps, just "to help").
Mark Kirk, an IL congressman got on TV and said that the GDs are the problem, being the largest gang in Chicago and all. And Derrion got beat because he didn't want to join a gang, he didn't want to pick a side. [not true] The anchor asked him what to do and he said send money to Illinois to take down the head of the gang. Again, does no one watch The Wire? What happens when you take a gang head down... another one emerges. Someone has to see the drugs.
Side note: In Chicago they say EVERYTHING is gang related. It's not. If a kid gets killed by police the news anchors will say "We don't know if this was gang related." Well if you don't know why are you commenting on it. Because people think that gang member get what they have coming. So if you say a child was a gang member it can make people feel better about the fact that a child was killed.