Sunday, June 05, 2016

A Weekend in Chicago: Where Gunfire Is a Terrifying Norm

JUNE 4, 2016, NYT

Three days, 64 people shot, six of them dead: Memorial Day on the streets, and the violence that has engulfed families and neighborhoods.

“The Newlywed Game” is on the television. Julia Rhoden, 53, is sitting on her bed, exhausted from another long day at the health care center where she works as a nurse’s aide. There is a loud boom and then another and another. She feels a sting as a bullet enters her back. “I been shot! I been shot!” she cries out to her children in the next room, as blood soaks through the summer dress she wears as a nightgown.

That same night, 15-year-old Veronica Lopez is hit as she rides in a Jeep that is speeding along a waterfront drive. “Babe, they shot me in the stomach,” the girl tells a friend, who later says he covered her body with his own as the gunfire continued.

“Help, I’ve been shot!” another teenager screams as he limps down a darkened street, a bullet having torn through his leg.

It is Friday night in Chicago, and the Memorial Day weekend is just getting started. The Police Department plans to deploy more than a thousand extra officers to deal with the violence they fear will intensify with the unofficial start of summer.

There is no stopping the gunfire, which comes in bursts and waves, interrupting holiday barbecues, igniting gang rivalries, engulfing neighborhoods, blocks, families.

From Friday evening to the end of Monday, 64 people will have been shot in this city of 2.7 million, six of them fatally. In a population made up of nearly equal numbers of whites, blacks and Hispanics, 52 of the shooting victims are black, 11 Hispanic and one white. Eight are women, the rest men. Some 12 people are shot in cars, 11 along city sidewalks, and at least four on home porches.

(More here.)

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