Deb's Big Backyard

  Deb's Big Backyard

Not Willing to Wait

by Deb Quantock McCarey


A week prior to the funeral of Hadiya Pendleton, the teen who randomly was shot down in a playground shelter on January 29 in Chicago, I was figuring out how I could be at the Baptist Church on Chicago’s Southside.


As a mom, I wanted to support these parents and family members by being in a community that was grieving for another innocent life lost because too many guns are easily accessed on our streets.


When the event became bigger than life, and Michelle Obama flew in, I chose to say a prayer for Hadiya, and speak out from home instead.


It seems that the death of this young girl has become emblematic of the gun violence problem, and on a wider scale, a hope for future change


In the shadow of the recent gun related atrocities, including massacres in schools, movie theatres and houses of worship, since Sandy Hook I have found myself becoming one of the millions of moms who are saying enough is enough.


In this country, with or without the compliance of the core group of the NRA, we need to begin re-legislating a series of sensible gun laws. Now is not the time to hesitate.


In addition to what has been going on everywhere else, in the last 14 months, there have been three gun related murders that have affected Oak Park.


On June 17, 2012, the there was a slaying of a man in his 20s, shot dead in Oak Park, on the 700 block of North Austin Boulevard, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office.


Before that, on January 2, 2012, an Oak Park-River Forest High School graduate, 19-year-old Ulysses "Chris" Gissendanner III, was shot and killed while driving in Chicago's West Pullman neighborhood.  Police do not believe he was the target of the shooting.


And, on December 28, 2011, Chicago Police Officer Clifton Lewis, 41, was working a part-time security job at M&M Foods, 1201 N. Austin Blvd., when two armed men wearing masks came in around 8:30 p.m. and tried to rob the store, Chicago Police Department Supt. Garry McCarthy said at a press conference Dec. 30.    


Who knows what 2013 will bring, and I am not willing  to speculate.


Now, in the wake of all that, and in light of all this, especially as we memorialize the short life of Hadiya Pendleton today, I am called to shout out about a topic I rarely touched until now.


Last week, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel urged the CEOS of two of the biggest financial institutions in the country, Bank of America and TD Bank, to stop supporting gun manufacturers unless the companies agree to “common sense reforms” on firearms.


According to the Chicago Sun-Times, on Thursday, February 1,  “Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Supt. Garry McCarthy announced plans to shift 200 more sworn officers from desk jobs to street duty and assign them to ‘area saturation’ teams already focusing on the gang violence that now has a face: 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton,” they report.


Yesterday, President Obama’s Organizing For Action’s digital team blasted out to me and the world that 92% of Americans, 89% of Republicans and 74% of NRA members do support universal background checks for gun sales.


However, in a recent interview, National Rifle Association president David Keene called Colorado's backlogged system for gun background checks an unreasonable burden on a citizen's right to bear arms and addressed the matter with Gov. John Hickenlooper when the two met privately Thursday.



He said:  "If I were a Colorado resident, and told I had to wait an undetermined period of time to buy a gun, I would go to court," Keene told The Denver Post on Thursday before the meeting.  



Excellent idea, Mr. Keene, let’s do it…you, me and a million moms who aren't willing to wait either.

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