Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
Ike Awgu

GET UPDATES FROM Ike Awgu
 

How the Death of the American Family Led to Hadiya Pendleton's Murder

Posted: 01/31/2013 12:48 pm

On Tuesday January 29, 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, an honour student who had just performed at President Obama's inauguration, was gunned down in a Chicago park. Hadiya was described by her father as a "shining light", and she dreamed of becoming a lawyer. Now her light has been put out and her dream is over.

Hadiya Pendleton wasn't in any kind of a gang; she was a young girl who had been let out of school early on Tuesday after an exam and was huddling under a canopy to escape the rain. The human refuse who killed her had apparently been targeting someone else, but as is often the case with these troglodytes, was probably too stupid and cowardly to discern the identity of the target before showering her with bullets. Hadiya Pendleton, who could have been your daughter or your sister, was shot in the back in the rain, killed with less compassion than the humane society shows when it puts down dogs or cats.

2013-01-31-Hadiyafinal.jpg
Hadiya Pendleton


This brings the number of gun deaths in Chicago since the New Year to 42 -- the deadliest January for the city in 10 years. Last year, Chicago bore witness to over 500 gun-related homicides -- and if trends continue, this year's total will surpass that. For those among you whose brains are already so eagerly tap dancing to the tune of handguns being "the problem," know that handguns are essentially banned in the city of Chicago.

Gang members and criminals appear uninterested in the law's opinion on the legality of their firearms. Those of you who remain unconvinced and still blame handguns are welcome to believe what you like -- as doing so is likely in your nature. Others may now be turning to another proverbial bogeyman -- the immemorial slander on the poor that "poverty" is the cause of these violent murders or that gangs are to blame. Although both of these variables contribute to violence, both are also symptoms of an underlying and more serious problem. I believe that but for that underlying problem, both poverty and gangs would be reduced in scope to such an extent as to render them near irrelevant to the lives of people in low income areas of Chicago.

About 72 per cent of black Americans are raised in single parent households. The "single parent" in these households is usually a single mother. This is relevant because when one talks about "gun violence in Chicago," what one is really talking about is young black men murdering one another (and innocent people in their neighbourhoods). And when one talks about "young black men," what one really means, in many cases, is children from the homes of unwed single mothers murdering children from the homes of other unwed single mothers.

If you pay attention to the funerals of young men murdered in gang violence, you will see a parade of grandmothers, aunts, sisters and perhaps the occasional uncle, but fathers are a sight as rare as a pink diamond. Being born to a single mother is a greater predictor of crime than race or poverty. The increasing out-of-wedlock birth rate in the United States, across all ethnic groups, is likely the precursor to an increase in social problems -- more high school drop outs despite more money for schools, more juvenile delinquents despite more money for rehabilitation, more underachievers despite more money spent on teachers. This is not just a black problem; It's a family structure problem. But because black Americans and Hispanics do not have white privilege to help offset their missing father figures, they are hardest hit.

Resistance to the very banal notion that inadequate parenting is more closely connected to young boys murdering one another (and unlucky strangers) than handguns or poverty is indicative of the extent to which the people who can least afford to make poor decisions when it comes to parenting (the lower to middle classes and visible minorities) are being led astray. There is an industry permanently employed and entirely vested in proving the traditional two-parent family an anachronism. Those who suggest the heresy that perhaps the reason crime in areas of Chicago is so high is because the children there are being raised in high proportion by single mothers can expect the typical slurs, slanders and rigged "studies" hurled in their direction. Hadiya Pendleton's death is for me the last straw.

The President, who is himself the head of a beautiful family, needs to tell to America's face not the truth it wants to hear, but the truth its needs to hear right now -- when it comes to handgun violence in places like Chicago, marriage and fathers are the answer.


Loading Slideshow...
  • A Chicago police officer picks through debris at the crime scene early Friday, Sept. 20, 2013, where a number of people, including a 3-year-old child, were shot Thursday night in a city park in Chicago. Thursday night's attack was the latest violence in a city that has struggled to stop such shootings by increasing police patrols. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

  • In this Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013, photo, a women becomes emotional near the scene of a shooting at Cornell Square Park in Chicago's Back of the Yard neighborhood that left multiple victims including a 3-year-old boy. (AP Photo/Sun-Times Media, Chandler West)

  • Protestors stage a sit-in following a march in the Loop to call attention to the high number of homicides against young people in the city on July 27, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Chicago had more than 500 homicides last year, more than any other city in the nation. Black men in their teens and twenties made up the largest group of homicide victims in the city. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • Protestors march through the Loop to call attention to the high number of homicides against young people in the city on July 27, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Chicago had more than 500 homicides last year, more than any other city in the nation. Black men in their teens and twenties made up the largest group of homicide victims in the city. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • Robert Williams leaves a message at a makeshift memorial where his friend 18-year-old Kenneth Barbour was shot and killed Friday on August 12, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. In another violent weekend Chicago saw more than 30 people shot from Friday through Sunday evening including several teenagers and a four-year-old girl. Four of those shooting victims died including two of the teenagers. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • Liquor and lemonade bottles help to form a makeshift memorial where18-year-old Antonio Alves was shot and killed Saturday on August 12, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. In another violent weekend Chicago saw more than 30 people shot from Friday through Sunday evening including several teenagers and a four-year-old girl. Four of those shooting victims died including two of the teenagers. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • Crime scene tape spills out of a trash can near where Alexander Mayo was shot and killed in front of the shuttered Henson elementary school on July 22, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Mayo was killed on Thursday before the start of a violent weekend in Chicago which saw at least 6 people killed and 22 wounded in gun violence. Henson was one of more than 50 schools closed in the city in June. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • Anthony (no last name available) lights a candle a memorial for his friend Eugene Clark, 25, who was shot and killed Saturday, on July 22, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. In another violent weekend, Chicago had at least 6 people killed and 22 wounded by gunfire. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • Men look at a memorial for 20-year-old Carlos Barron which was painted on the sidewalk where he was shot in the Humboldt Park neighborhood on July 22, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Barron, who was killed Friday night, was one of at least six people who were killed in weekend shootings in Chicago, at least another 22 were wounded by gunfire. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • A memorial is attached to a fence at the edge of a gas station lot where Eugene Clark was shot and killed on July 22, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Clark was gunned down on July 20 during a violent weekend in Chicago which saw at least 6 people killed and 22 wounded by gun violence. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • A teenage boy grieves next to a makeshift memorial at the site where Ashley Hardmon was shot and killed on July 4th, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Hardmon, 19, was killed after being struck in the head by a bullet when two men opened fire on her and a group of friends on July 2nd. A couple of hours later and a few of blocks away 14-year-old Damani Hernard was shot and killed. Over the long July 4th weekend more than 50 people have been shot in Chicago, nine fatally. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • Ashley Johnson signs a makeshift memorial at the site where her childhood friend Ashley Hardmon was shot and killed on July 4, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Hardmon, 19, was killed after being struck in the head by a bullet when two men opened fire on her and a group of friends on July 2. A couple of hours later and a few of blocks away 14-year-old Damani Hernard was shot and killed while riding his bike. Over the long July 4th weekend more than 50 people have been shot in Chicago, nine fatally. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • Fourteen-year-old Shyiem Wesley (L), with his mother Keshia Paige add to a makeshift memorial at the site where his cousin, who he also describes as his best friend, 14-year-old Damani Hernard was shot and killed July 4, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Hernard was killed early Wednesday morning while riding his bike past a church on his way home from a friend's house. A couple of hours earlier and a few of blocks away 19-year-old Ashley Hardmon was shot and killed when gunmen opened fire on her and some friends. Over the long July 4th weekend more than 50 people have been shot in Chicago, nine fatally. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • Fourteen-year-old Shyiem Wesley (C), with his mother Keshia Paige and father Dwight Wesley, view a makeshift memorial at the site where his cousin, who he also describes as his best friend, 14-year-old Damani Hernard was shot and killed July 4, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Hernard was killed early Wednesday morning while riding his bike past a church on his way home from a friend's house. A couple of hours earlier and a few of blocks away 19-year-old Ashley Hardmon was shot and killed when gunmen opened fire on her and some friends. Over the long July 4th weekend more than 50 people have been shot in Chicago, nine fatally. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • Rash of Violence Plagues Weekend

    A flag flies upside down at a makeshift memorial at the site where Steve Mabins, 21, was shot and killed on July 6, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Mabins, who was killed on his way to a party on July 4th, is one of more than 50 people that have been shot in Chicago since Wednesday, nine fatally. An upside down flag is officialy recognized as a symbol of severe distress. After this photo was taken today, another shooting occured in the same location injuring at least five people. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • A resident points out a shell casing on the ground to a police officer investigating a crime scene where seven people were shot on July 6, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Two days earlier and half of a block away Steve Mabins, 21, was shot and killed on his way to an Independence Day party. More than 60 people have been shot in Chicago since Wednesday, at least nine fatally. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • A police officer guards a crime scene where seven people were shot on July 6, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Two days earlier and half of a block away Steve Mabins, 21, was shot and killed on his way to an Independence Day party. More than 60 people have been shot in Chicago since Wednesday, at least nine fatally. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • A resident uses his cane to point out a shell casing on the ground to a police officer investigating a crime scene where seven people were shot on July 6, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Two days earlier and half of a block away Steve Mabins, 21, was shot and killed on his way to an Independence Day party. More than 60 people have been shot in Chicago since Wednesday, at least nine fatally. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • Police investigate a crime scene where seven people were shot on July 6, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Two days earlier and half of a block away Steve Mabins, 21, was shot and killed on his way to an Independence Day party. More than 60 people have been shot in Chicago since Wednesday, at least nine fatally. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • An ambulance leaves a crime scene where seven people were shot on July 6, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Two days earlier and half of a block away Steve Mabins, 21, was shot and killed on his way to an Independence Day party. More than 60 people have been shot in Chicago since Wednesday, at least nine fatally. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • A police officer guards a crime scene where seven people were shot on July 6, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Beyond the police officer a flag flies upside down, officially recognized as a symbol of severe distress, at a makeshift memorial on the site where Steve Mabins, 21, was shot and killed two days earlier. More than 60 people have been shot in Chicago since Wednesday, at least nine fatally. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • Police investigate a crime scene where seven people were shot on July 6, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Two days earlier and half of a block away Steve Mabins, 21, was shot and killed on his way to an Independence Day party. More than 60 people have been shot in Chicago since Wednesday, at least nine fatally. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • Police investigate a crime scene where seven people were shot on July 6, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Two days earlier and half of a block away Steve Mabins, 21, was shot and killed on his way to an Independence Day party. More than 60 people have been shot in Chicago since Wednesday, at least nine fatally. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • A police officer guards a crime scene where seven people were shot on July 6, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Two days earlier and half of a block away Steve Mabins, 21, was shot and killed on his way to an Independence Day party. More than 60 people have been shot in Chicago since Wednesday, at least nine fatally. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • Moments after police removed the remains, friends gather and weep at the spot where a victim of a drive-by shooting died on June 22, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Two others were wounded in the shooting. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • Young women watch as police prepare to remove the remains of their friend after he was shot and killed on June 22, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Two others were wounded in the shooting. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • Police investigate the scene where five people were shot in a drive-by shooting on June 10, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. One of the five, eighteen-year-old April McDaniel died at the hospital from her wounds. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • Police investigate a shooting in the East Garfield Park neighborhood on June 23, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • Police collect evidence at the scene of a shooting on June 23, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. A man was wounded in the leg when someone fired at least 11 rounds at a group of people having an outdoor party in the Morgan Park neighborhood. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • Blood stains and a make shift memorial for 18-year-old Jamal Jones is seen where police found him with gunshots wounds to the shoulder and chest over the past weekend, on Chicago's Southside, Monday, June 17, 2013. Chicago Police are investigating several shootings after a violent weekend that left at least seven people dead, including Jones, and more than three dozen wounded. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • CHICAGO, IL - MAY 13: Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy holds a press conference to announce his department had seized more than 2,500 illegal firearms in 2013 on May 13, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • Police investigate the scene where a 15-year-old boy was shot and killed by police after he reportedly pointed a gun at officers during a foot chase on June 17, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • Police investigate the scene where a 15-year-old boy was shot and killed by police after he reportedly pointed a gun at officers during a foot chase on June 17, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • Police investigate the scene where a 15-year-old boy was shot and killed by police after he reportedly pointed a gun at officers during a foot chase on June 17, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • Police investigate the scene where a 15-year-old boy was shot and killed by police after he reportedly pointed a gun at officers during a foot chase on June 17, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • CHICAGO, IL - MAY 13: A memorial sits outside a shuttered bakery near the location where a 20-year-old man died from a gunshot wound to the head and a 15-year-old boy was shot and wounded during weekend violence on May 13, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • CHICAGO, IL - MAY 14: A Chicago Police investigator picks up a shell casing left in the street at the scene of a shooting in the South Shore neighborhood on May 14, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • CHICAGO, IL - MAY 14: Young girls are stopped by crime scene tape as they try to visit a friend near the scene of a shooting where two men were wounded in the South Shore neighborhood on May 14, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • CHICAGO, IL - MAY 14: A Chicago Police investigator tries to see the caliber of a shell casing left in the street at the scene of a shooting in the South Shore neighborhood on May 14, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • CHICAGO, IL - MAY 14: A young girl rides her bike by Chicago Police officers investigating the scene of a shooting in the South Shore neighborhood on May 14, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • CHICAGO, IL - MAY 13: Crime scene tape hangs from a fence near the location where 21-year-old Ronald Baskin was shot and killed Sunday afternoon on May 13, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • A memorial for 47-year-old Denise Warfield is attached to a fence next to an abandoned church building on May 6, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Warfield was found stabbed to death inside the church on Saturday May 4. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • A memorial for 47-year-old Denise Warfield is attached to a fence next to an abandoned church building (R) on May 6, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Warfield was found stabbed to death inside the church on Saturday May 4. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • Roya Mitchell leaves a message on a memorial for her friend 16-year-old Tywon Jones near the spot where Jones was killed by police in front of the Greater Galilee Missionary Baptist Church on May 6, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. According to police Jones was killed May 5 after he fired a pistol at police who were trying to stop him as he rode a bicycle away after shooting at a crowd of people moments earlier. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy stands in front of a small display of guns, including a .22 cal. rifle (front), during a press conference in the Englewood neighborhood on May 6, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. McCarthy said Chicago police confiscate an average of more than 130 illegal guns each week. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy leaves a police station in the Englewood neighborhood following a press conference on May 6, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

  • Garry McCarthy, Rahm Emanuel, Anita Alvarez

    Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, center, Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, left, and Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, right, discuss gun violence at a news conference Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, in Chicago. During the news conference McCarthy, Emanuel, and Alvarez said they will push for state legislation that increases the minimum sentences for those who violate the state's gun laws. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

  • Jonylah Watkins, New Beginnings Church

    A family member is consoled before six-month old Jonylah Watkins' funeral at New Beginnings Church in Chicago, Tuesday, March, 19, 2013. Jonylah's death was the latest to draw national attention to Chicago's struggle with gang violence and murder. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

  • Jonylah Watkins, Jonathan Watkins

    This undated Watkins family photo shows Jonathan Watkins, 29, of Chicago, holding his 6-month-old daughter Jonylah Watkins. Funeral services were held Tuesday, March 19, 2013 for Jonylah who died Tuesday, March 12 after being shot the night before while sitting on her father's lap in a minivan when a gunman approached on foot and shot them both in Chicago. The father was seriously injured in the attack. (AP Photo/Courtesy of the Watkins family)

  • Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy points to a poster showing three offenders that committed murders while on parole for prior gun convictions during a news conference Monday, Feb. 11, 2013, in Chicago. During the news conference McCarthy Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said they'll push for state legislation that increases the minimum sentences for those who violate the state's gun laws. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

  • This March 11, 2013 photo shows a Chicago police officer looking over a minivan on the city's South Side where 6-month-old Jonylah Watkins was shot while sitting on her father's lap. The child died the following day. Hundreds of Chicago police officers are hitting the streets on overtime every night in dangerous neighborhoods, the latest tactic by Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration to reduce killings in a city dogged by its homicide rate and heartbreaking stories about honor students and small children caught in the crossfire. (AP Photo/Devlin Brown)

 

Follow Ike Awgu on Twitter: www.twitter.com/IkeWeLike

FOLLOW CANADA