By Phillip Jackson
Recently in Chicago, teen gunman boarded a crowded public bus near a high school and opened fire with a handgun. I imagined this scene must have been similar to the bus bombings that are so common in war-torn Iraq.
As I researched this analogy, I found striking similarities between what is happening in Black communities across the United States and what is happening in a full-fledged war zone in Iraq. The major difference is that far more Black children are dying in Chicago than Chicago soldiers are dying in Iraq.
At about 24 deaths a year, Chicago children are being killed 24 times the rate that Chicago soldiers are being killed in Iraq. Statistics from Military Genealogy Trials show that during the five-year period between September 2001 and July 2006, six soldiers from Chicago were killed in Iraq combat. In a startling comparison, however, during an eight-year period between 1998 and 2007, 190 mostly Black Chicago Public School Children died in gun-related incidents.
This year, the violent death toll in nine months totals 27 for Chicago's public school students, again, mostly Black youth. Chicago is no different than another city because deadly violence in the lives of Black children today is a constant, overwhelming reality in America!
Unlike the massacre at Virginia Tech University, where 32 people were gunned down, no national or international outcry is voiced against the gun violence that easily and frequently destroys Black children. Nor is their the kind of grief counseling and support that Virginia Tech students received.
It seems that the lives of Virginia Tech University students are intrinsically more valuable than the lives of Black children who live in ghettos and mostly poor communities across America. And sadly, the Black community's reaction to the massacre of its children can only be described as "ambivalent."