Chicago residents need more than protests to get serious about violence

Chicago residents need more than protests to get serious about violence

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Chicago residents need more than protests to get serious about violence

Organized protests may bring attention to the problem of neighborhood violence. But if community homeowners and families don’t stand up to the violence in their own community, they can’t make a difference and violence will continue. The past weekend when Chicago saw 74 brutal shootings and 12 deaths reminds us that protests are not enough. Parents need to control their children. Communities need to stand up in their communities and take a stand

By Ray Hanania

People think it’s easy for “suburbanites” to comment on the killings in Chicago, but it’s not. The suburbs have their own violence and drug-related killings just like Chicago. Neither is any less likely to experience these tragic crimes.

But in truth, Chicago seems to have a lot more, like this past weekend when it was reported that 75 people in Chicago were shot and 12 of the victims died.

That’s a horrible number. Protestors are blaming everyone for the violence except themselves.

The police are doing everything possible to stop the crimes, and yet it’s the police that I see every day on television news reports who are being blamed, criticized and attacked by the relatives, friends and neighbors of the murdered victims.

That tells me right away that most of the protestors really don’t care about stopping the violence. They just want to put the blame on someone other than themselves.

I get angry when I see the parents of a victim blame the police when the news reports show that the victim was engaged in criminal activity. One incident involved a young man whose high school photo showed him smart, with a smile and a future. But the police showed that in fact they had been watching this kid sell drugs, carry a weapon and hang around with some other unsavory street gang members. The police chased him and as he was being chased he dropped or tossed his weapon. Not listening to the police, he was shot as he tried to escape. All they knew was that he had the weapon.

Police car, this one from Chicago. Photo courtesy WIkipedia

Police car, this one from Chicago. Photo courtesy WIkipedia

And in my book, I don’t care. If you have a weapon and are shot by police, whether you still have the weapon or not is irrelevant. The fact that you sell drugs on Chicago’s streets is disgusting. The fact that you are carrying a loaded gun is disgusting.

I am more disgusted by the parents, who suddenly find the concern about their son. Where were they months ago when he was selling drugs on the street? Did they not know? Did they not suspect he was involved with a murderous street gang involved in a murderous profession selling drugs to innocent people?

Did they not know that he was carrying a gun in the back of his low-riding pants?

I think we need to change the laws and make the parents responsible for their children especially if the children are living with them and are older. I don’t care if they are 24 years old. You, the parents are responsible.

Of course, the parents filed a lawsuit claiming that the police used unjustified force against their son. Of course they would claim that. Of course they would get a lawyer. Of course they would be blaming the Chicago Police for their son’s death.

But I blame them. I blame the activists who stand with the family and never once ask publicly if the family ever did anything to save their son from street gang or drug involvement? I blame the law for not making the parents responsible for their son’s actions against others, including against the police who were threatened by a known man carrying a gun.

So, when I see all these protestors who shut down major intersections screaming about how they are tired about the violence in their neighborhoods, I get angry. I get angry because they never once asked what the parents of the victims did. They never asked why the parents did nothing to prevent their son from carrying a weapon or to stop selling drugs.

I don’t believe that the only option people in poor neighborhoods have is drug dealing. Sure, they need support and help to find work, to stand up to street gangs and to say no to drugs.

But while we as a society need to do everything we can to help discourage these young people from turning to a life of crime, their parents, their relatives and their neighbors have to take the first step to save these young people.

I don’t care whether you are Black, Hispanic, White, Arab or whatever. If your son or daughter is involved in selling drugs, carrying a weapon, staying out late at night and doing things they shouldn’t be doing, you, the parent, are the first person who should be held responsible for the consequences of their bad choices.

(Ray Hanania is an award-winning former Chicago City Hall political reporter and columnist. Contact him at his personal website at or at

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at, and at, and at He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper,, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.

The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.

Click here to send Ray Hanania and email.

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Visit this link to read Ray's column archive at the ArabNews,com
Ray Hanania

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