Every Monday morning as Chicago wakes up, a reporter picks up from her desk the all too familiar report on how many people were shot over the weekend, and how many died. The pathos of this endeavor lies on the fact that she knows that under this routine lies the war like destruction of families, of futures, of communities, as the report sits there…waiting for her to read it week after week, year after year.
Infamous as Chicago’s rate of gun violence is, it actually ranks 21st in the nation. Chicago is unique because, despite having exemplary common sense gun laws graded “B” by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, its porosity allows for interstate gun trafficking from places like Missouri, Indiana and Wisconsin at bargain prices making it the most gun populated city compared to New York and Los Angeles.
The idea for this video archive project came as I was interviewing Maria Pike about the shooting death of her 24 year old son Ricky. She asked how many more people I planned to interview, people whose lives have been torn apart by guns in the wrong hands. “Well, how many more are there?” I questioned. She replied. “Let’s start with 20 and go from there”.
The stories presented here speak for themselves. Our hope is that people who have suffered the devastating effect of our out-of-control gun culture and violence will find some comfort in knowing they are not alone, that no community is really safe from gun violence simply because they are not covered by the media. Gun violence is no longer restricted to parts of the city or suburbs. We are working together to find solutions…and we hope, that these stories will do much more than bring tears to your eyes. We hope they inspire you to help rebuild our lost sense of community. We hope the stories inspire you to support the groups who work for change in our lax gun laws, our judicial system, our schools.
The gun lobbyists dismiss Chicago’s problem as “simply” one of gun violence. We suggest it is gun violence fueled by gun proliferation happily being promoted by the gun industry itself.
It is sobering to know that Advocate Christ Medical Center quoted that “90% of gun shooters are male, 80% of the victims are also male and the majority of victims are innocent people caught in the wrong place at the wrong time”.
And there is nothing simple about burying our children, lives cut short, the loss of human potential, and communities destroyed. Together we can change the conversation, change laws, communities, schools…and save lives.
Videography by Paul Natkin and Carrie Reffitt.
Video editing by Carrie Reffitt and Brian Reed.