Chicagoland: A Tale of 2 Tragedies

Tyshawn Lee
Tyshawn Lee

In October 2014, 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was shot and killed by Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke.

The dash-cam video of the shooting was not released until a few days ago, when ordered by a judge. Right before the video’s release, the county prosecutor announced the intention to charge Van Dyke with first-degree murder. The excessive charge and the timing were done, presumably, to mollify potential protesters because the prosecutor called the investigation “ongoing.”

Following the release of the video, which showed McDonald being shot 16 times, protesters marched on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue (aka the “Magnificent Mile”) on Black Friday, inconveniencing shoppers — even barring them from entering and leaving some prominent stores — and causing retailers to lose money on the year’s most important shopping day.

Four weeks ago, the Chicago Tribune reported that three gang members lured a nine-year-old from a park and into an alley, then executed him, allegedly as an act of revenge against the boy’s father, for his ties to a rival gang. “After his brother and his mother were shot,” reported the Tribune, “Corey Morgan, 27, and two other Terror Dome (gang) members had driven around on a daily basis looking for revenge, prosecutors have alleged. Morgan vowed to kill ‘grandmas, mamas, kids and all,’ they said.

“The three found their target on a warm Nov. 2 as 83-pound Tyshawn (Lee) played in Dawes Park near his grandmother’s Auburn Gresham home, prosecutors said. One of the three chatted up Tyshawn, walked with him to the alley and then shot him five times as Morgan and the third individual looked on from a black SUV, prosecutors charged. Police found Tyshawn’s beloved basketball near his body. Superintendent Garry McCarthy said the boy was targeted because of his father’s gang involvement.” 

If anybody marched on the Magnificent Mile to protest yet another Chicago killing — this time the cold-blooded murder of nine-year-old Tyshawn — the media failed to notice.

As for police shootings, in 2014, Chicago cops killed 17 people. This year, with one month to go, Chicago cops have killed seven.

On the other hand, Chicago — so far — has seen almost 450 homicides, mostly black on black, and mostly involving young blacks. Incredibly, only 25 percent or so are solved.

True, in 2014, of the people fatally shot or wounded by Chicago cops, 78 percent were black. But it is equally true that of all Chicago homicides in 2014, 78 percent of victims were also black. And for young black men, homicide — usually committed by other young black men — is the No. 1 preventable cause of death. For young white men, it’s automobile accidents.

As for 17-year-old McDonald, The Associated Press describes a kid raised without a father, shuttled around by the child services system: “A black teenager shot 16 times by a white Chicago police officer was a ward of the state when he died, having spent years being shuttled between different relatives’ homes and foster care from the time he was 3. …

“McDonald, (who) grew up without his father involved in his life … spent most of his 17 years as a ward of the state. According to Illinois Department of Children and Family Services’ records, he was taken from his mother at age 3 in 2000 because the agency had deemed that his mother didn’t provide him with proper supervision. He was placed in a foster home.

“He later moved to his great-grandmother’s, and returned to his mother in 2002. But citing physical abuse by the mother’s then-boyfriend, the state again took McDonald away. From around age six to 16, he lived with his great-grandmother and then stayed in the same house with an uncle after his great-grandmother died in 2014.”

That McDonald died at the hands of an officer is rare. Sadly, the way McDonald was raised — without a father and without appropriate parenting — is all too common.

Meanwhile, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has fired Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy. And, yes, this is the same McCarthy who, along with Mayor Emanuel and a principal of an urban high school, was portrayed as a hero in a 2014 CNN reality TV series called “Chicagoland.”

When Ferguson’s Michael Brown and Baltimore’s Freddie Gray were killed by police, Department of Justice probes began within days. Chicago’s Laquan McDonald was killed in October 2014, but the DOJ probe didn’t start until April 2015. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, of course, is Obama’s ex-chief of staff.

A killing by a cop causes “activists” to hit the streets. But a black nine-year-old targeted and killed by three black gang members — no march. What about agitating against a welfare state that encourages women to marry the government — and men to abandon their financial and moral responsibilities?



LarryElderLarry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an “Elderado,” visit Follow Larry on Twitter @larryelder.

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