There were 506 gun murders in Chicago in 2012, 16 percent more than in 2011. That’s a higher rate than most major cities. January saw more than 40 gun murders within the city, faster than at any time since at least 2002.
Hadiya Pendleton, just 15, is among those slain in Chicago, but she, like all the rest, is more than a statistic. At her funeral on Saturday, attended by family, friends, concerned citizens and Michelle Obama, Hadiya was remembered as an honor student that performed as a majorette in the inaugural parade with the high school’s band.
President Obama sent this comforting note to her family:
“Dear Cleopatra and Nathaniel, Michelle and I just wanted you to know how heartbroken we are to have heard about Hadiya’s passing. We know that no words from us can soothe the pain, but rest assured that we are praying for you, and that we will continue to work as hard as we can to end this senseless violence. God Bless, Barack Obama”
Will President Obama fly to Chicago and speak about urban gun violence in his home city as leaders are calling for him to do?