News & Politics

War Zone in America? Mother Loses 4th Child to Gun Violence

Ronnie Chambers was killed by gunfire in Chicago while he was driving in a van, the fourth child Shirley Chambers has lost.

At least three people -- including a gunman -- were shot at a Texas college following a dispute Tuesday, officials said as details trickled out from the chaotic campus.

A spasm of gun violence in Chicago over the weekend left six people dead--including a 33-year-old man who was Shirley Chambers' fourth child to die due to gun violence. On Saturday, Ronnie Chambers was killed by gunfire in Chicago while he was driving in a van. 

“After Shirley Chambers lost her third child to gun violence in 2000, she said she felt sadder for her surviving son, Ronnie, than she did for herself,” the Chicago Tribune reports.

Chambers told the Tribune back then that she only has “one child left and I'm afraid that (the killing) won't stop until he's gone too."

Ronnie Chambers' death was not the only tragedy to hit Chicago, though. The Associated Press reports that “Chicago authorities say seven people were killed and six wounded in gun violence in one day...Police say two separate double-homicide shootings also occurred Saturday about 12 hours apart. In one, a 16-year-old boy and a 32-year-old man were killed.”

The AP story notes that Chicago has been experiencing brutal gun violence for quite some time. “Chicago's homicide count eclipsed 500 last year for the first time since 2008. Chicago's homicide rate was almost double in the early 1990s, averaging around 900,” the news outlet states. The 506 gun deaths that took place in Chicago last year represents a 16 percent increase when compared to 2011.

But the gun violence does not touch all equally. In Chicago, who is getting shot and where they are getting hit largely correlates to economic status and race. A January 2013 article in theNew York Times highlights this aspect of gun violence in the city.

“The overall rise in killings here blurs another truth: the homicides, most of which the authorities described as gang-against-gang shootings, have not been spread evenly across this city. Instead, they have mostly taken place in neighborhoods west and south of Chicago’s gleaming downtown towers,” notes the Times’ Monica Davey.

One pastor, Corey Brooks, told the Times that “it’s two different Chicagos.” The brunt of the violence falls on low-income and Black communities.

And while the massacres in Newtown and Aurora have rightly sparked a national discussion on gun violence, the killings in Chicago go largely under the radar.

Alex Kane is former World editor at AlterNet. His work has appeared in Mondoweiss, Salon, VICE, the Los Angeles Review of Books and more. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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