As Americans celebrated Independence Day with a long weekend of barbecues and fireworks, citizens in violence-plagued Chicago tried to stay out of harms way, as more than 100 were hit by gunfire, with 14 dying of their wounds.
The youngest of the victims was just 13 years old and the eldest 60.
As usual, the shootings were concentrated in the south and west of the city – just ten minutes from the upscale “Miracle Mile” that the city proudly displays on postcards, travel brochures, and promotional materials.
Violence in the city has drawn a great deal of media attention because it is where former president Barack Obama worked as a civil rights attorney and law professor, and where he still maintains a high profile.
Of little comfort is the fact that the rate of violence relative to the size of the population in Chicago is lower than other US cities such as St Louis or Baltimore.
The heavy toll came after President Donald Trump announced that he would be sending federal reinforcements to tackle chronic violence in Chicago, where local police forces were slammed for abuse in a federal report put out last January.
A new task force is being formed, which includes an additional 20 ATF agents who will try to stop the trafficking of guns into the city.
Once again, violence in America can be sourced to the easy availability of guns, an issue that most other first-world nations have been able to solve. Of course, most other first-world nations also have healthcare for all their citizens, and consider it a right, not a privilege as our Republican Congress espouses.
As we celebrate our nation’s independence, let’s hope our citizens can take pause and reflect not just upon the heroes that helped forge America, but also on those vital issues that are yet to be solved.