(Newser) – Thirteen people were shot in a park on Chicago’s South Side around 10:15pm last night, including a three-year-old boy who was reportedly shot in the ear. The victims have been hospitalized, with three—the toddler among them—in “serious-to-critical” condition; the Chicago Tribune reports the boy is in the worst condition. The shootings, which occurred on a basketball court in Cornell Square Park, drew some 60 police and a series of ambulances, the Tribune reports. The victims also included a 15-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl; the rest were adults.
Witness Julian Harris, 22, tells the Chicago Sun-Times that gunmen with dreadlocks shot at him and his 3-year-old nephew, Deonta “Tay-man” Howard, on a street corner. The attackers were in a car that then turned toward the park. “They hit the light pole next to me but I ducked down and ran into the house,” Harris says. “They’ve been coming round here looking for people to shoot every night—just gang-banging stuff. It’s what they do.” Authorities confirm the incident appeared to be gang-related. Tough side note: Family members tell the Tribune the 3-year-old’s uncle was killed in a Labor Day shooting.
So I’ve been wrestling with how to address this all morning. Obviously we’re not in the business of talking about bad news here at Barstool. We’re a place to get away from the every day shit that brings people down. But 13 people shot in a park is a big deal, a really big deal. Which I realize speaks to how routine violence in Chicago has become, the fact that it takes 13 people for anyone to really notice, not just fake notice. So like I said, I have no idea how to address this. It’s tragic, it sucks, its awful, and yes, I may be a white guy sitting on the North Side seemingly worlds away from where this happened but its still my city, our city.
I don’t know what the answer is, I don’t think anyone really does. If you haven’t listened to the episode of This American Life where they spent a year at Harper High School on the south side (Link), you should. Gang violence in Chicago is a giant snake, and the snakes head was cut off when all of the upper level gang members were arrested and incarcerated. Now it’s just a body slithering around, aka a bunch of kids shooting each other for no reason whatsoever. In that episode a police office even admits that if you’re a kid on the South Side you have a zero percent chance of staying out of a gang. It’s just where you’re born. If you’re born on Street X you’re part of X gang. Simple as that. You have no say in the matter whatsoever. So again, I have no answer, but I think part of getting there is for people to educate themselves on how the problem has evolved and where it comes from. Saying it’s just blacks killing blacks is stupid and racist. A 3 year old was shot in the ear last night, that happened, and I don’t care what skin color you are, that’s absolutely tragic.