A six-year-old boy in Philadelphia, a seven-year-old boy in Chicago, an eight-year-old boy in Atlanta, a 15-year-old boy in New York, all shot. Community cries of “enough is enough.”
Neighborhoods in some of the largest cities in the US erupted in gun violence over the weekend of July 4, killing some 160 people and leaving more than 500 injured between Friday night and Sunday.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency on Monday after 31 people were shot and five killed over the weekend in Atlanta. He authorized 1,000 National Guard troops to “protect state property and patrol our streets.”
But Chicago saw the worst violence on one of the bloodiest holiday weekends in recent memory, ending with 17 people killed to death, including a seven-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy and 63 more injured, an increase in five shootings in the high numbers that had spoiled the festive weekend of the previous year.
Despite an effort that included 1,200 additional officers on the streets and pleas from the city’s mayor, Lori Lightfoot, for residents not to reverse the limited progress that had been made against the city’s epidemic of armed violence, it ended. mourning the children whose “hopes and dreams ended with the barrel of a gun”.
However, the south and west sides of the city have had worse weekends this year, and a one-year-old and a three-year-old boy were killed during recent shootings. The escalating violence led Donald Trump to write to Lightfoot and Illinois Governor JB Priztker, both Democrats, accusing them of receiving more than $ 1 billion in special federal funding for crime relief and coronavirus relief that “did not become in results. “
“His lack of leadership … continues to fail the people he has sworn to protect,” the letter said.
Lightfoot dismissed Trump’s letter as “everything speaks, little action.”
The shooting death of an eight-year-old girl, Secoriea Turner, in Atlanta, Georgia, led the mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, to call for justice as she watched the shadow that street violence casts over the huge and peaceful Black Lives Matter protests. against racism and police brutality.
“Enough is enough,” Bottoms said. “If you want people to take us seriously and you don’t want us to lose this movement, we cannot lose each other.”
The shooting occurred near Wendy’s restaurant, where a black man, Rayshard Brooks, was killed by a white police officer on June 12.
“She was only eight years old,” Charmaine Turner said of her daughter Secoriea. “Right now, she would have been on TikTok, dancing on her phone.”
Atlanta police said two other people died and more than 20 were shot and wounded over the holiday weekend.
In New York, a series of shootings on Saturday and Sunday claimed at least nine lives and wounded 41 others in an increase in incidents in some neighborhoods. A 15-year-old boy was injured in the Bronx.
And in Philadelphia, a six-year-old boy died of a gunshot wound amid five fatal gunshots in about five hours on Sunday afternoon, police said.
The Trace, a nonprofit news website covering gun violence in the US, which recorded the number of shootings in the US over the weekend, reported that the University’s preliminary investigation California’s Davis has found a possible link between the increase in violence and An increase in the purchase of weapons during the coronavirus pandemic, of more than 2.1 million more weapons than usual between March and May.
The Rev. Gregory Livingston, a pastor and civil rights leader who moved to New York last summer after many years leading a community-based anti-violence organization in his native Chicago, spoke of the Midwest city “going through complete madness” .
But he warned that systemic racism at the national level that is not being addressed and America’s “violent history” that has not been taken into account were dividing people and causing the collapse of some communities.
“Chicago is, unfortunately, a story of two cities and throughout the country it is a story of two Americas. Chicago is a highly segregated city and that legacy is part of what fuels this horrific violence, ”Livingston told the Guardian Monday afternoon.
He condemned “corruption and racism” and said that the coronavirus pandemic and the economic consequences had exacerbated inequality. The pandemic has been disproportionately brutal in African Americans who are already suffering from economic and health deprivation.
Livingston campaigned hard to get rid of former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Lightfoot has been in office since May 2019 and has just appointed a new police chief.
She agreed with Livingston’s point that a long history of Chicago segregation and underinvestment were “at the root” of the “explosion” of violence.
“You have to give a sense of hope … you have to reach those young people in the corners who are the shooters, but it cannot be just from the police and the city government, everything is on the deck,” Lightfoot said. She said of Trump: “We are leading. You need to take our leadership and follow it. “
Livingston asked Lightfoot to tackle racism and police problems “head on.”
“There is an individual responsibility [among those shooting], but there are also conditions that create a climate of violence, “he said.
He accused New York Mayor Bill de Blasio of being “scared” of confronting racism in the New York Police Department.
“There is no courage in the City Hall,” he said.
And he warned US mayors that Chicago was “in control” of what would happen elsewhere this summer if inequality and protests from coast-to-coast protesters since George Floyd, an African American, were killed. in Minneapolis by a white cop he did not. stimulate change.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said she was shocked that she was not asked about the weekend shootings at her briefing on Monday, despite citing “a duplication of the shootings in New York City by third week in a row. “
Journalists at the briefing replied that she had finished the 22-minute briefing and left while many were still waiting, hands raised, to ask questions.