Chicago Teen Fatally Shot After Obama Gun Violence Speech


Patrice Ellerbe, Staff WriterLast Modified: 12:53 p.m. EDT, 21 February 2013

Chicago Child Mourns Gun Violence Victim, Photo by Ashlee RezinCHICAGO, IL. - Hours after President Barak Obama gave his Inaugural speech, in which he pushed for tighter gun control laws; a young woman was fatally shot only one mile from the President’s Chicago home.

The victim was 18-year old Janay Mcfarlane. Earlier that day, McFarlane’s 14 year-old sister witnessed the President’s Inaugural speech, after he was sworn in on 21 January 2013.

Mcfarlane was shot in the head at approximately 11:30 p.m., Friday, 21 January 2013, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

The victim had a 3-month old son, and was visiting friends and family in a North Chicago suburb. McFarlane’s mother said the bullet that killed her daughter was meant for a friend.

Police are questioning two suspects who are believed to be in connection with McFarlane’s shooting; however, charges have yet to be filed. Media spoke with Mcfarlane’s mother, Angela Blakely, as she grieved for her daughter, expressing, “I really feel like somebody cut a part of my heart out”.

Just one month ago, another fatal shooting involving 15-year old Hadiya Pendleton shook Chicago residents. The honor student was killed last month in a South Side Chicago park. According to Chicago police, it was a case of mistaken identity, and two suspects have been charged. Not only have there been more than 40 homicides in Chicago during the month of January alone, this makes the death toll the highest in 10 years.

Mcfarlane was affected by Pendleton’s death, as she often expressed to her mother how she felt bad for the victim’s family. Little did she know, she would also be a victim of gun violence. This case, as of many, is still open. Each day action is not taken regarding gun laws, the United States must hear another story such as this one. The media is focusing more on the fact that Mcfarlane’s sister was at President Obama’s gun violence speech. In order to stop reporters like me and others from having to write stories out like this, more than platitudinous speeches need to be delivered.

The fault does not lie entirely with President Obama, but with a society that believes that the right to bear arms/guns, especially those which exceed what is required for protection, such as automatic assault weapons, trumps all other concerns. This thinking, coupled with the powerful and deep pocketed lobbying on behalf of the National Riffle Association (NRA), makes the task of addressing this problem at a granular and thus meaningful level nearly impossible despite evidence that tighter gun control laws do result in decreased rates of gun homicides.

In the United Kingdom firearms are tightly controlled by law and it has one of the lowest rates of gun homicides in the world with 0.07 recorded intentional homicides committed with a firearm per 100,000 inhabitants in 2010 compared to the United States' 5.1 (over 40 times higher). (Source: Wikipedia)

The numbers speak for themselves, and if we hope to one day stop reporting on this type of violence that unfortunately appears to be on the rise in the U.S., then each American must take a hard look at our values, our voice, and our responsibility. There are hundreds of thousands of Mcfarlane's across America, and but for her connection to President Obama's speech, she would be just another anonymous victim of gun violence in a poor, urban area. Our hearts and prayers go out to her family.

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