Dear Chicago | Mother Buries Four Children

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Chrycka Harper, Poet & Literary CriticLast Modified: 22:03 p.m. DST, 05 June 2014

This post is inspired by a DailyMail article, “Tears of a Mother who lost her FOUR Children to Chicago's Gun Crime Epidemic”

Dear Chicago,

Chicago River, North Shore Drive, Photo by David B. Gleason

Its been awhile since we last spoke on the Yard at Howard University, I remember you telling me about your dreams, strengths, and adversaries. Your style is unforgettable Your dialect is amicable Lifestyle and life view of the world deserves much respect. My eyes crinkle in smiles when someone proudly yells “south side” or “north side!”

But the news sees your beauty through grotesque eyes: Gun violence. The artificial newscasters utter shreds of murders and guns and blood and victims, But I know my Chicago is not inherently evil or menacing. I will admit the heart of the city is not pumping efficiently, but Chicago will tell you to not to spoil the body with contempt and hatred.

Shut up about Chicago, and hear its voice. Hear the twang in their step and language. Hear the rich black folks music. Hear the pride and the respect. The winds carrying their voices.... That's your beauty, Chicago!

I will not forget about your mother who buried her last child lost to gun violence. While I realize your feening to mourn, you have to keep speaking about the truth of your history to the world.

Keep me posted Chicago. May the grieving find comfort In the beat of the very heart that will save your city.

Sincerely, Chrycka

Follow Chrycka Harper on Twitter Twitter: @nahmias_report Poet & Literary Critic: @chrycka_harper

Elliot Rodger | The Phenomena of Mass Murder

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Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 00:13 a.m. EDT, 25 May 2014

N04_The RAF promoted violence, Photo by Jago-jiSANTA BARBARA, California – In the early morning hours of Saturday, 24 May 2014, the tranquility and safety of the community of Isla Vista was shattered forever when one of its own, Elliot Rodger, 22, took to the street shooting indiscriminately out of his BMW at innocent and unsuspecting victims.

The Los Angeles Times broke the story based upon information provided by a police official that Rodger’s shooting spree resulted in 7 dead, including him, while seven others were wounded. He allegedly drove through the streets of the Isla Vista neighborhood of Santa Barbara firing from his car and trying to run down pedestrians.

What makes this story more than a human interest piece is the dynamic between privilege versus the ordinary and what this escalating gun violence says about us as a country.

I could revisit the issue of gun control in America, but the NRA and its powerful lobby, along with the Second Amendment to the Constitution which grants individuals with ‘the right to keep and bear arms,’ makes winning this argument about as successful as winning an Olympic Gold metal while running through wet concrete.

Instead, there is the question of why Rodger, the son of privilege and heir apparent to Peter Rodger, an assistant director on the 2012 film “Hunger Game,” would feel the need to take such drastic measures by embarking upon his killing spree.

Mass murders have unfortunately become a too often occurrence in our society which has become increasingly fluid, and the community ties that so closely bound the country in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s dissipated, leaving many adrift in despair and loneliness.

This void has been filled with Internet ‘communities’ where people can ‘friend’ and be ‘friended,’ but ultimately what is needed most – human touch and intimate interaction is unavailable. Couple this with increased economic pressures, changes in social mores, and “do anything to anyone so I can get ahead’ attitudes, further complicates matters.

Many people, but not all, increasingly feel isolated. Some of this can be attributed to the effects of income inequality which retards upward mobility, and for others the lack of access to higher education due to the prohibitive costs, also breeds hopelessness.

Add to this the belief, as heavily marketed and promoted by the media, that you can be anything you desire you just have to take it, leaves many feeling inept and in extreme cases impotent.

This is not an excuse for murder, mass killing, or suicide, but I believe it to be a contributing factor to the desperation and isolation that is the pressure cooker churning out more mass murderers decade after decade.

According to Mother Jones’ article, “A Guide to Mass Shootings in America” there have been since 1982 “at least 70 mass shootings across the country, with the killings unfolding in 30 states from Massachusetts to Hawaii. Thirty-three of these mass shootings have occurred since 2006.

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Published: 25 May 2014 (Page 2 of 2)

Seven of them took place in 2012, and another five occurred in 2013, including in Santa Monica, California, and at the Washington Navy Yard. The first five months of 2014 brought another bloodbath at Fort Hood, Texas, and mass killings in northern and southern California.”

Then last month, April 2014, in Overland Park, Kansas, Frazier Glenn Cross, who also went by Frazier Glenn Miller, a 73-year-old Missouri resident killed anyone and everyone in his reach, as he acted upon his racist beliefs by trying to kill Jews at a local community center.

With so much violence on television, Internet, and in the movies, and the constant threat of domestic and foreign terrorism, people are becoming inured to these killings, which often capture the public's attention and news cycles for 24 to 48 hours before moving on to the next trending item.

I think that it is important for us to remember that these men are average, they could be your coworker, your husband, your son or boyfriend, and they are becoming the greatest internal threat to the safety of American citizenry since 9/11. This partial list of 2012 mass killers includes average men who but for circumstance, probably would have continue to live anonymous existences.

  • 14.12.12 - Adam Lanza, 20, shot his mother dead at their home then drove to Sandy Hook Elementary school. He forced his way inside and opened fire, killing 20 children and six adults before committing suicide. Total injured and killed: at least 28;
  • 27.09.12 - Andrew Engeldinger, 36, upon learning he was being fired, went on a shooting rampage, killing the business owner, three fellow employees, and a UPS driver. He then killed himself. Total injured and killed: 8;
  • 5.08.12 - U.S. Army veteran Wade Michael Page, 40, opened fire in a Sikh gurdwara before he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound during a shootout with police. Total injured and killed: 10;
  • 20.07.12- James Holmes, 24, opened fire in a movie theater during the opening night of "The Dark Knight Rises"  and was later arrested outside. Total injured and killed: 70.

Today, Rodger has been added to this list, for trying to take out his pain of rejection, isolation, and loneliness on innocent people who may have been suffering the same feelings as him, but chose not to violently act upon them.

He justified his actions in a YouTube manifesto in which he proclaimed that "… I've been forced to endure an existence of loneliness, rejection and unfulfilled desires, all because girls have never been attracted to me. Girls gave their affection and sex and love to other men, never to me...I'm 22-years-old and still a virgin, never even kissed a girl.” (Source: Chicago Tribune)

And now he never will………

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KKK Targets Jewish Community Center Killing Three Christians

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OVERLAND PARK, Kansas -- So often, hatred is crippling. On Sunday, hatred was blinding in Kansas City. On a mission to incite terror and assail Jewish community buildings, Frazier Glenn Cross killed anyone and everyone in his reach. 

Cross, who also went by Frazier Glenn Miller, is a 73-year-old Missouri resident. This weekend, his well-documented history of ignorant rhetoric turned deadly.

The elderly man targeted the Jewish Community Campus of Greater Kansas City and Village Shalom senior center, before being captured by police outside a local elementary school.

During the shooting spree, Cross killed three Christians while spouting "Heil Hitler" and other bigoted slogans. According to authorities, he had a shotgun, pistol and assault rifle at his disposal. An eyewitness remembers the perpetrator smiling as he was taken into custody. 

Among the victims were two Methodists, Dr. William Lewis Corporon, age 69, and his 14-year-old grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood. Corporon passed away outside of the community center.

Underwood was transported to a hospital where he would later die from his wounds. The high school freshman was auditioning for a vocal competition at the Jewish Community Campus. He and his escort were bombarded outside the event. 

The third victim was 53-year-old Terri LaManno, who was visiting her mother at Village Shalom when she was attacked. LaManno was also a Christian. Cross allegedly attempted to kill two others, who escaped to safety. Certainly, the foundation of the community has been shook. 

The defendant is a veteran of hate-mongering. Cross rose to power as the "grand dragon" leader of the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, known more commonly as the KKK. Realizing he had not reached his potential to perpetuate ignorance, Cross would later create the White Patriot Party in 1985, a group founded on anti-Semitic and white power platforms. His other lowlights include the intimidation of Morris Dees, a Civil Rights activist and lawyer who used civil lawsuits against groups like the Ku Klux Klan in a successful career that lasted decades. 

Often in the spotlight, Cross was a proud white-supremacist who shared his divisive message in television interviews and publicized Klan meetings. In 2006, he ran for the House of Representatives but gained little support. Cross tried again to gain political office in his failed 2010 Senate campaign. During both attempts, he sponsored radio advertisements lobbying his hate-filled agenda. In 1999, he authored "A White Man Speaks Out." By all accounts, the memoir is steeped in equal parts paranoia and hostility. 

According to police, Cross will appear in court on Tuesday, 15 April 2014. However, this will not be his first stint in prison. In 1987, Cross served three years after failing to comply with his bond agreement. A national search for the runaway ended in a Missouri trailer, where Cross and several others had retreated with a massive weapons stockpile. The one-time fugitive will likely spend the rest of his life in detainment. 

The Overland Park community and the nation are grieving the loss of three wonderful citizens. But the incidence has also raised serious questions about possible preventative measures. Given his well-documented history of militant behavior and criminal history, many question how Cross was able to obtain the arsenal used in this weekend's attack. As with any act of terrorism, Cross sought to alter the world outside of the small Kansas City district. Sadly, he has gained the attention of the American people. Hopefully, the collective reply will be a positive one. 

Follow Michael on Twitter Twitter: @nahmias_report Senior Correspondent: @MAndrewRansom

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Chicago Teen Fatally Shot After Obama Gun Violence Speech

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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.

Follow Patrice Ellerbe on Twitter
Twitter: @nahmias_report Staff Writer: @PatriceEllerbe
 

Stalker Kills Mother, Leaves Baby Next To Body

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Patrice Ellerbe, Staff WriterLast Modified: 13:34 p.m. EDT, 07 February 2013

Domestic Violence Awareness, Photo by Liz du CanadaEUREKA SPRINGS, Arkansas - When citizens feel that their government has failed to live up to its promises, by no means is it a good feeling. There has been a lot of talk referring to the United States’ gun laws, but little action has been done in order to keep U.S. citizens safe from gun abusers.

Laura Ponce received a call on New Year’s Eve saying her daughter, 21-year old Laura Acevez, had been found unconscious in her apartment.

Her 5-month old son was found unharmed, sitting next to his mother’s bloody body. A .22 caliber bullet was lodged into Acevez’s skull.

This murder could have been avoided if prior action was taken by local authorities. Police searched for Victor Acuna-Sanchez, who is Laura Acevez’s ex-boyfriend. Sanchez is 18 years-old and was under a court order to keep away from his ex-girlfriend. Sanchez also has two previous domestic batter arrests on file.

After Laura’s murder, the police found Sanchez hiding in the shower at his mother’s home. He was armed with the .22 caliber handgun he used to shoot his ex-girlfriend, Laura Acevez.

According to the victim’s mother, Acuna-Sanchez harassed her daughter throughout the entire relationship. Acuna-Sanchez previously strangled, beat the victim with a baseball bat, and dragged her behind a car. During the week before Acevez was killed, she also told her mother that her ex-boyfriend, Acuna-Sanchez poured bleach in her gas tank while his son watched. Acuna-Sanchez then smashed the windshield of the car with a hammer. On top of the physical abuse, Acuna-Sanchez also emotionally abused Acevez. He told her on numerous occasions that if she reported him to the police, he would kill her and her children.

Victor Acuna-Sanchez should have never been allowed or able to own the handgun. Anyone who has been convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offence or who is subjected to domestic violence restraining order cannot legally buy or carry firearms, under federal law. Sanchez did not fit the qualifications to possess a gun. According to the Huffington Post, Johnathan Lowy, director of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence’s Legal Action Project says, “Gun sellers have no way of knowing if someone is a domestic abuser unless there is a background check. This is a real problem”.

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Published: 07 February 2013 (Page 2 of 2)

There have been some speculation and research done on how gun reform can help domestically abused women. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) stated in a hearing that in states that do require background checks for handgun sales, 38% fewer women are shot by their partners. However, others have viewed things differently, arguing more firearms regulations would make it more difficult for women to protect themselves. FBI data from 2010 say’s otherwise.

Handguns are the most common weapons used, according to 2010 FBI data. In the U.S., 64 percent of murdered women are killed by a family member or partner. Having a gun in the home makes a woman eight times more likely to be killed.

Through recent research, it was found out that since the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut on 14 December 2012; more than 90 women were shot and killed by family members or their partners. This is only eight weeks after the shooting.

David Hemenway explains, “The difference in female homicide victimization rates between the U.S. and these other industrialized nations is very large and is closely tied to levels of gun ownership”. Background checks should be provided for all persons attempting to own a gun. The government will need to enforce and be sure that all gun sellers are performing the background checks for potential consumers.

With all of the evidence provided, and each story brought to the public’s attention about shooting and the deadly results, the National Rifle Association is still against the universal background checks. In a “perfect world”, anyone who is not qualified to own a gun or has not had the proper background check performed, should throw their gun in the trash, and not be able to possess one until they meet requirements. However, this is not a “perfect world”, therefore, the question stands, how do we get guns that have already been purchased, out of the abusers possession?

Under federal law, convicted domestic abusers are advised but the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to dispose of their guns as well as ammunition. However, it is up to law officials to actually see this action has been fulfilled. As of now, there has been no one assigned to that task. Therefore, abusers continue to abuse simply because there is no enforcement.

With all of the assault charges Victor Acuna-Sanchez has faced and is facing, there are many questions as to why he was able to have a firearm in his possession. With all of the reports to the police, there are many questions as to why he was able to have a firearm in his possession. Hopefully this is not just another story about a young mother who has been murdered at the hands of her crazy lover. Hopefully, this is a story that sparks action.

Follow Patrice Ellerbe on Twitter
Twitter: @nahmias_report Staff Writer: @PatriceEllerbe
 

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