Obama promises a lot of reform and change, but those seem to be empty. Just look at his disappointed city of Chicago. All he has done for them is push more gun-control… but it hasn’t solved a thing for their murder rates.
By Ruben Navarrette Jr.
When his stint in the White House is over, President Obama might just learn that Thomas Wolfe was right. You can’t go home again.
Back in Obama’s adopted hometown of Chicago, Illinois, some members of the black community are incensed at the president for not personally speaking out about the murder of Derrion Albert, a 16-year-old boy who was beaten to death last week in a predominantly African-American neighborhood.
What really set them off was that Obama, in an awkward case of bad timing, instead flew to Copenhagen to pitch Chicago to the International Olympics Committee as the ideal city to host the games in 2016. And as it turned out, it didn’t put Chicago over the top. The city didn’t even make it to the final round in Friday’s voting.
I think the critics are being too hard on Obama. Given how ambivalent he seems about Iran and how disinterested he appears in the rest of American foreign policy, it’s nice to see him get passionate about something.
The best Obama could do on Albert were weak comments from White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, and only then in response to a question from a reporter, not as part of a formal statement. The president found the video of the beating “chilling,” Gibbs assured us.
Too many young people have become desensitized to violence. This scourge doesn’t discriminate. Today, it’s a videotaped beating of an African-American kid in the inner city by other African-Americans. Yesterday, it was a videotaped beating of a white teenage girl in the suburbs by other white teenage girls.
The beating in Chicago was fatal — and particularly grotesque. An outraged African-American man standing at the site of the beating told CBS News that what had happened there days earlier was an act of “savagery.”
Watching the video, it’s hard to find a better word. We see a melee involving about 50 teenagers that took place near Fenger High School, where Albert was an honors student. We see Albert being hit on the head by another boy from behind with a long wooden board later identified by authorities as a splintered railroad tie.
We see Albert falling to the ground, and when he stands up, we see him punched in the face by a second boy. We see Albert fall again, get up, and return to the floor after getting hit again by a third boy with another board. Then we see a fourth boy stomping on top of Albert’s head. He doesn’t get up.
Prosecutors have charged four teenagers age 16 to 19 with first-degree murder and police say they are looking for three more who were involved in the melee.