http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree ... nce-deaths
his weekend, I saw an ABC-7 Chicago news report about Shirley Chambers, an African American woman who lives on Chicago's Near North Side, near the site of the now-leveled Cabrini-Green housing project. She, like many African American mothers in Chicago, recently lost her son to gun violence.
Shirley Chambers' son, Ronnie, who was killed Saturday, was the fourth child she lost to gun violence. She was the mother to Carlos, LaToya, Jerome, and Ronnie Chambers. They are all gone.
Carlos was killed in 1995 by another young man with whom he'd had an argument.
LaToya was killed in April of 2000 by a 13-year-old boy who was arguing with her boyfriend.
Jerome was killed in July of 2000 when he was shot from someone in van while standing at a payphone.
Ronnie was killed this weekend when someone opened fire on a van in which he was a passenger.
They are all gone.
The Chambers family should be national news. We should also be listening to Shirley Chambers when she says, "We need tougher gun laws," and when she cries, "I can't take it anymore."
I can't take it anymore.
Those who resist meaningful gun reform, which necessarily must include higher barriers to handgun ownership, demanded of Shirley Chambers the sacrifice of all four of her children, in service to their right to own weapons designed to kill people.
The gun lobby and its fervent supporters would vehemently deny what they would certainly regard as my cruel mischaracterization of their position. But that is the effective result of an obdurate resistance to meaningful gun reform: People will die.
All the soundbites about how it isn't guns who kill people, and all the victim-blaming that has been and will be heaped on Shirley Chambers and her children, and all the rationalizations about people with mental illness, and all the othering of poor black people who live in cities, and all the sanctimonious hand-wringing about "cultural degradation," and all the excuses and justifications and cynical rhetorical flourishes in the world will not change this fact: Shirley Chambers' children are dead. All of her children are dead.
We are expected to regard that fact as an acceptable by-product of the virtually unlimited right to own guns.
Four lives lost, and a mother's life torn to pieces. Collateral damage so the most fearful people in the country — people whose privilege disproportionately insulates them from the very real threats Chambers and her family have faced — can stockpile deadly firearms, and the makers of those deadly firearms can pocket enormous profits.