So far this school year, 36 children and teens have been murdered -- more than one a week -- and Pfleger is among a chorus of weary Chicagoans who say the slayings aren't getting the attention they deserve.
One of the most disturbing slayings came last week when the family of Alex Arellano found the 15-year-old's body. He had been beaten, burned and shot in the head.
"It's sad because they didn't have to torture him that way. He never did nothing wrong, never. He was a good kid. It just gets to me. It's crazy," Alex's friend Ashley Recendez said. Watch friends, family describe Alex»
Indeed, police say the teen had no criminal record, no gang affiliation. His family says he was well-behaved and shy, almost fearful of strangers. They had recently taken him out of school to protect him after gang members threatened him.
Questions arise because the rate of children being killed in Chicago is worse than in other American cities. Los Angeles, California, notorious for its gang problems, is larger than Chicago. It has reported only 23 child slayings this school year. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is about half the size of Chicago, but it has witnessed only a ninth of the child slayings: four this school year.
What could account for those differences? Are the gun control laws, which are extremely strict in Illinois, different enough in the other states to account for this? Often the pro-gun crowd uses Chicago as an example of the failure of gun control laws, but does that mean the laws are working in other cities?
My idea is that it's totally useless to have strict gun control laws in one place and lax ones in another, just like it's totally useless to require background checks on sales by licensed gun dealers but not in private transactions. What's your opinion?
Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis said scuffles among youth have become more violent and a conflict that 20 years ago would have warranted a pushing or wrestling match now sometimes results in gunfire.
"There's simply too many gangs, too many guns and too many drugs on the streets," he said. "We've got a problem with some of our young people are resorting to use of weapons and violence to solve any type of conflicts they may have."
What do you think about the Police Superintendent's comment? He seems to be blaming the guns, at least in part, for the increase in violence.
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