Editorial: Another Monday, another tally of the slain in Chicago

·3 min read

Monday, like many Mondays before it, featured national news outlets delivering the grim statistics out of Chicago: More than 50 people shot over the weekend, and at least five fatally. The news anchors at one station expressed exasperation at the story that just never ends — this city’s inability to get a handle on violent crime. To those news anchors: Imagine living here.

In case you missed it, the weekend carnage included a couple who appeared to get dragged out of their car and shot in Humboldt Park as a mob descended on them. They reportedly had been celebrating the Puerto Rican People’s Day Parade before being attacked, possibly following a fender-bender. Their car was decorated with the red, white and blue Puerto Rican flag, according to a video that circulated over the weekend. As a woman flopped out of the driver’s side car door, her companion climbed on top to help her and a gunman opened fire — the car still running and brake lights lit, and the flag fastened to their car roof waving above their crumpled bodies.

They were Gyovanny Arzuaga, 24, who died from his injuries and his wife or girlfriend, the mother of his children, who is in critical condition. The Sun-Times reported they were on their way home from the parade, stopped in traffic and attacked.

This is Chicago.

Earlier Saturday, a 31-year-old doctoral student visiting Chicago, Anat Kimchi, was walking in the 400 block of South Wacker Drive around 4 p.m. when someone attacked her with a knife.

Her school, the University of Maryland, issued a statement to students and faculty: “It is with great sadness that we share news regarding the tragic loss of one of our own. Anat Kimchi (ABD, Flagship Fellow) was fatally stabbed Saturday afternoon in Chicago in what looks to be a random attack. We do not have any details yet about pending arrangements or plans to celebrate Anat’s life and contribute to her memory, but we will share information with you as soon as it is available.

“Anat was already a notably accomplished scholar, but more importantly she was a remarkable woman who was beloved by friends and family. Please keep her loved ones in your thoughts and prayers.”

According to reports, police found her lying on a sidewalk bleeding from stab wounds. Surveillance video has not been released but reportedly shows a man jumping out from shrubs in what appeared to be a random attack. He stabbed her in the back.

The location was just a few blocks west of Metra’s LaSalle Street Station. A few blocks from the storied Chicago Stock Exchange. A few blocks from the hulking Old Post Office.

This is Chicago.

Last year over Father’s Day weekend, more than 60 people were shot, including a 3-year-old boy, Mekhi James, riding in a car with his father, and 13-year-old Amaria Jones, who was showing her mom TikTok dance moves inside her house when bullets came flying from outside. We begged for these two senseless shootings of children to serve as a springboard for real change. They did not.

This is Chicago, Father’s Day weekend, again.

From last year’s editorial pages: It’s tempting to think that sometimes a death is so shocking that it jolts the collective consciousness into action. That’s what has happened in the aftermath of George Floyd’s killing by a Minneapolis police officer. If such an awakening could happen in honor of the killings of Mekhi James and Amaria Jones, Chicago could become a better and safer place for all the other children born and raised in neighborhoods that have been so dangerous.

But just because it feels good to say that doesn’t mean it will happen. Because we’ve known for a long time but have never fully heeded the admonition, that every day with a homicide is a bad day. And every day Chicago loses a young person with promise and vitality, this city is shamed.

This is shameful Chicago, again.

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