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October 6th, 2009
04:22 PM ET

Derrion tragedy a sign of much bigger illness

A funeral for Derrion Albert, a teen who was fatally beaten last month, was held Saturday on Chicago's South Side.
A funeral for Derrion Albert, a teen who was fatally beaten last month, was held Saturday on Chicago's South Side.

Jesse Jackson
For The Chicago Sun-Times

In the wake of the murder of a Fenger High School student in Chicago, President Obama has dispatched Attorney General Eric Holder and Education Secretary Arne Duncan to the city. Their purpose, according to White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, is to "talk about issues of school violence and youth violence."

The murder of an honor student received global attention just as the president was in Copenhagen trying to bring the Olympics to Chicago. That embarrassment triggered the presidential reaction.

But let's be clear. Sixteen-year-old Derrion Albert's death is a horror - but it is not an isolated event. Last year, 400 kids were shot; 40 were killed. Each year witnesses more and more innocent bystanders martyred to the violence. What we witness in Chicago - and in other urban areas - is a zone where violence is close to routine.

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soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Tammy, Houma, LA

    While I'd love to cry the tears for Chicago because it's bad, it's not the only urban place in America to suffer in similar ways. New Orleans has horrible crime rates, many affecting its African American youth. Its public schools are often still deplorable (and have been for years). Blame race for a large part of it. Over a thousand died as a result of Katrina and her aftermath, many African American (you don't honestly think if St. Charles mansions were flooded and the bluebloods were sitting on rooftops or on a bridge or in the Convention Center and Superdome hellholes, cops would have shot at them or the response would have been so pitiful by the state and feds, now do you? And you don't think the city would be so slow to recover? The racial divide exists. It sucks. And Chicago isn't the only one needing intervention from DC.

    October 6, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  2. Cartavious Lockhart

    The murder of Derrion Albert is a signs of a much bigger illness but is an illness itself. The murder didn’t shock me but brought to my attention something needs to be done about it. It not good when a child goes to school to learn and it gets murdered. I think schools should be more secure. Schools should have more security officer and people to prevent things like this from happening.

    October 6, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  3. Anthony

    The issues at stake here seem to come to the same rallying point: an inequality between the races of the United States.

    Minority communities and communities of color in general are economically behind white communities because capitalism not only rewards early investment, but investors feel safer among their own ethnic group. Both of these facts are public knowledge and there have been numerous attempts to legislate changes in this area.

    Economically limited communities live poorer lives in general, have greater instances of violence and drug problems and subsequently produce children who are poorly equipped to survive in our society.

    But the racial divide cannot be filled with legislature and as long as minority communities are propped up with government funded programs there will NEVER be equality in the United States of America. Give a man a fish and you feed him one day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

    October 6, 2009 at 4:59 pm |