Monday, July 27, 2015

VIOLENCE IN AMERICA - The Killing Season

"Gangs and guns fuel Chicago’s summer surge of violence" PBS NewsHour 7/20/2015


SUMMARY:  In Chicago, the number of shooting deaths has climbed in 2015 after falling the last two years.  Vonzell Banks was one of the victims -- a 17-year-old church choir drummer, who got caught in the crossfire during a family outing over the July 4th weekend.  Special correspondent Chris Bury reports on what’s driving the violence.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  In Chicago this summer, police are dealing with an unsettling spike in violent crime, after a drop in the homicide rate over the last two years, this weekend, 11 dead and 34 injured.

More now from special correspondent Chris Bury.

CHRIS BURY (NewsHour):  In Chicago, this is the season of sorrow and grief.  Every summer, tears flow as the body count climbs with the temperatures.  This is the killing season.

Many of those killed are kids filled with promise, including Vonzell Banks, just 17.  For his family, the pain is unbearable.  But so many young people like him are dying that the whole city is grieving, too.

MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL, Chicago:  Do you think it’s too much for a city to let parents see their kids graduate?

CHRIS BURY:  Even Chicago’s hard-charging mayor, Rahm Emanuel, had to choke back his tears.

MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL:  I will tell you this as a father of three.  This is not natural.  This is not right.  They deserve better.

CHRIS BURY:  By all accounts, Vonzell Banks deserved better, too, playing by the rules, staying out of trouble, spending time at church.  They called him drummer boy for his talent keeping the beat for the choir.

For his pastor, Derail Smith, the pain is personal.  He watched Vonzell grow up.

REV. DERAIL SMITH, Pastor, Cosmopolitan Church of Prayer:  He was brought up in a traditional type family where it was yes, sir; yes, ma’am; and thank you very much, and I appreciate you, those type of things.

So, therefore, there was never any indication for me to see that he had any type of interaction with drugs or with any type of violence.  He wasn’t that, no, not at all.

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