President Obama and his administration are at a loss for how to stop the out of control violence occurring in many urban areas. A lack of political will in Washington has led to a mass exodus of jobs and educational opportunities, and authorities have been either unwilling or unable to stop the flow of drugs and guns into urban communities. No greater sign of the times was evident than the day the president came to Chicago. Within 90 minutes of the president leaving on Air Force One, there were four shootings that took place in the city.
The first shooting was in the same hour that the president left. Four people were wounded in the shootings, according to the Chicago Tribune .
The president gave a speech at Hyde Park Academy, mentioning the death of Hadiya Pendleton, a young teen who was shot less than a mile away from his house. The president argued that personal responsibility is an important part of stopping the wave of gun violence.
“This is not just a gun issue. It’s also an issue of the kinds of communities that we’re building, and for that we all share a responsibility as citizens to fix it,” he said.
Others have noted that the president’s speeches to urban communities tend to focus on the community’s mistakes in creating violence, where speeches in suburban and white communities tend to focus on policy solutions. Leaders are calling for the president to support a jobs plan that targets urban centers so that there are more opportunities for both teens and the parents who raise them.
Obama did acknowledge the role in gun control in stopping the flow of violence.
“Last year, there were 443 murders with a firearm in this city, and 65 of them were 18 and under. That’s the equivalent of a Newtown every four months,” Obama said. “That’s precisely why the overwhelming majority of Americans are asking for some common sense proposals to make it harder for criminals to get their hands on a gun.”