Chicago Gun Violence Still Exists, and We Should Be Paying Attention

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by Taylor Jenkins

One of the most violent weekends in Chicago just happened a little over a month ago, ending in 7 people being shot and killed, according to the New York Times. It wasn’t on many radars, because the country was focused on the massacres in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio; and gun violence is so common in Chicago that it doesn’t even faze most people anymore. 

Some assume the victims of the bloodiest day in Chicago of 2019 probably deserved it because they chose to be gang affiliated. However, that’s not always the case. In many cases, people are at the wrong place at the wrong time. Recently, an instance of gun violence in Chicago hit particularly close to home. 

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Arione Harris, a ChiArts senior, was recently the victim of a Chicago shooting.

Senior Arione Harris was recently shot outside of a gas station in Chicago. 

“Accidents do happen and bullets have no name,” Harris said in an interview with the Double Space. 

After being shot, the police didn’t approach Harris to report the crime, because Harris said they assumed he was in a gang. But Harris, isn’t in a gang, and said he worried about the person who shot him walking freely without consequence.

Even though Illinois has relatively strict laws around gun ownership, it’s still not hard to get access to a weapon. Sixty percent of guns possessed or used illegally in Chicago are from states with more easygoing laws around firearms while the other 40 percent come from Illinois dealers, according to a recent study. 

It is true that gangs do play a part in the violence, but there are more often than not innocent bystanders and random casualties that are under-investigated because of a collective assumption about gang activity. 

As a community, we need to stay aware of what’s going on regardless of how normal it may seem. At the end of the day these are human lives and we should never come to a point where we just accept it. There are tons of people — and especially devastatingly, young people — who have lost relatives and friends to gun violence and could use support.

Everyone can do something. Even if it’s something as small as a smile, kindness can go a long way.

Harris said that now he jumps at loud noises and when friends jokingly scare him he’s actually truly afraid for his life. All students need to be thoughtful about the way their actions affect others.

Therapy is a tool but the only way to really get over something that traumatic is through time.

 

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