Everyday another person is gunned down and murdered, a family is left grieving and this cycle is continuing day in and day out across the city of Chicago. Enough is enough, take back our city one block at a time, one gun at a time, one bullet at a time.
Dear Elected Officials,
2121 West Harrison Street, Chicago, IL 60612. Take a look at this address. Do you know where this address is? Not just the street location, but the building that sits at this address. Those that know where this is located and know what sits on the site of this address will fully understand where I am going with this. When you meet with your task forces, committees, and selected panels and discuss initiatives and the course of action to take to curb the gun violence that is plaguing the city streets of Chicago start right there. You see because at the end of the day, no matter where the scene of the shooting was, the victim will end up at this address. This address houses the bodies of every single father or mother, son or daughter, brother or sister, niece or nephew, grandson or granddaughter, cousin or friend of every single person gunned down in the streets of Chicago. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding their death, their bodies will arrive at this address at some point. So, start right there when discussing how to resolve the problem.
When the victims’ families receive notice or lack thereof of notice in some cases, they are advised to go to 2121 West Harrison Street, Chicago, IL 60612 to identify their relative and collect any personal affects that belong to them that is not being used for evidence in the investigation of their death. The families get to take 4 people with them at max to go identify their relative. They are asked their name and the relationship they are to the victim. They are provided with a brief overview of what they will see when they enter the viewing room. They are told their relative will appear on a screen in a room and they will only be able to see their face. The way their relative appears on the screen will be the way they looked at the time of death. So, if the victim eyes were open or mouth was open at the time of death, they will be open when viewed on the screen. The family is told all of this and then is escorted into the viewing room. There are no chairs, just a dim light room with a monitor mounted on the wall. The screen is blank for a few moments and then the face of their loved one appears on the screen. The family can see the blue bag the body is in and the head is just lifted out. The face of their loved one is on the screen and that is it. It is real. Reality has now hit them, their loved one is dead and they are never coming back. The family stands there in shock, disbelief, anguish, heartache, and crushed. They are standing there in pain, like a million needles are being stuck into every inch of their skin; the pain is unbearable and real. Their tears begin to flow and the screen goes blank. They are escorted out of the viewing room, handed the bag of personal affects, a release form and card to the medical examiner if they have any questions and walks out the door. Their world shattered and torn upside down and they are expected to go home and start to plan a funeral service.
Those who are shooting and killing people one by one do not know this pain. They don’t experience this pain. They could care less about this pain. See this is where you start to resolve this problem. Every person who has fired a gun and killed someone should have to experience this. Take them to 2121 West Harrison Street, Chicago, IL 60612 and put a picture of their father or mother, son or daughter, brother or sister, niece or nephew, grandson or granddaughter, cousin or friend on that screen and stand them in that room. Technology can create all sorts of images. Take their relative faces and place them on that screen and tell them they are no longer going to see them again. Tell them when you take another person’s life your loved ones go away and you never see them again. Show them the hurt and pain their actions have inflicted on someone else. The same relatives that you place on that screen are the same relatives who hide them out, get them out of town, throw away any evidence, and create phony alibis. Those same relatives cry out their family member did not do anything, their family member is innocent, and their family member could not kill anyone. Let them see how the victims’ family feels. Spread the pain around and let them know, at this rate nobody is exempt and it could be their family next.
Marching and protesting worked in the 1960’s, we are way beyond that now. We need actions today! We need resolutions today! We need help today! There is enough blame to go around, not one agency is exempt from their share of blame as to why the gun violence is spiraling out of control and fast. You have been elected or appointed to serve in a capacity to help move this world to a better tomorrow. Get out of the offices, go out into the streets and walk the streets of Chicago. Hear the cries of the children who are afraid to play outside, hear the cries of the parents who are afraid to let their children out of their sight. Get back to the basics. Educate and inform those who placed you in your positions. Explain to them, block by block we are going to take our city back into control. It may take years, but you have to start somewhere. The time is now; the time to start making a difference is now. Enough tears have been shed already, get to work! I hope you never have to walk through the doors at 2121 West Harrison Street, Chicago, IL 60612 and view someone you love on that screen because I have and it is real.
Janae D. McEwen