While the FBI has labeled animal-rights advocates the No. 1 domestic terrorist threat and is focusing its efforts on vegan potlucks, peace rallies and First Amendment rights, I'd like to show you what true domestic terrorism looks like.
A total of 36 Chicago Public School students have been killed since September. Each week it seemed like another student's murder was making headlines. Innocent children and teenagers are dying because they were caught in gang gunfire. "Chicago Tonight" even devoted an entire hour to the problem.
A story in today's Chicago Sun-Times reveals the results of a survey the paper conducted of first- through eighth-grade students at three Chicago schools.
Many Chicago kids are scared to go to the store. Others avoid stepping off their block or going to the park. Fearing for their safety because of guns and gangs, they’ve lost the freedom to play.
The story says fifth- through eighth-graders were the most affected, with half knowing a friend or a relative who has been shot at and a third having a friend or a relative who was fatally shot.
Fear of the guns and gangs that plague her Little Village neighborhood has left Maria [Rivera] virtually a prisoner in her own home -- an image she drew for a fifth-grade social studies project. Her artwork shows a little girl standing in front of a barred second-story window, looking down at gang-bangers, a drug deal and a shooting on the street below.
Gangs' behavior is true domestic terrorism. Thousands of children should not be worried about getting shot. They should be worried about tests or about their best friend not liking them anymore. They should be anxious about whether they'll get that hoped-for present for their birthday. They should not have to worry about whether they will die as they walk home from school.
Law-enforcement officials need to focus on giving these children back a quality of life. It doesn't matter that they're poor, that they're black or that they're Hispanic. That's crap. What matters is that they are American children whose childhoods have been taken from them.
"Oh my god. If my community had no gangbangers, no guns, no dangers, it would be very cool. The reason is because we would be able to dress however we want. We will be able to play where ever we wanted. We would be free to do whatever. There would be more block parties without gunshots. No more people getting scared of letting their children go outside and play. There would be children out in the streets playing and laughing. You would see smiles and laughs and children all around." -- eighth-grade girl, Little Village Academy.
(Photo by Chris Sweda, courtesy of the Chicago Sun-Times)