The area around the Empire State Building in New York City attracted more news outlets and police officers than tourists and commuters on Friday morning, August 24, after news broke of a shootout near the tourist entrance of the landmark skyscraper.
Chicago, meanwhile, had just emerged from a night of shootings that barely made it to the national news.
A disgruntled women's accessories designer, Jeffrey Johnson, 58, shot his 41 year-old former boss, Steven Ercolino near New York’s most popular tourist attraction before he was killed by police. Nine others were hit by bullets, some possibly fired by police, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said during a press briefing.
Across Chicago’s South and West sides 19 people were shot from Thursday evening through early Friday morning. The majority of the shootings are attributed to gang rivalries. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel did not hold a press conference.
Once terrorism -- domestic or otherwise -- was ruled out in the New York shooting and the gunman proved not to be a white supremacist or mass killer, the press provided statistics on workplace violence and moved on to Romney’s comment about birth certificates and Lance Armstrong’s possible loss of seven Tour de France titles.
There are no tourist attractions in Chicago’s six districts where the shootings and murders mainly occur, only vacant city blocks and alienated and afraid residents. Gang violence casualties are reported any given weekend, a war zone like Afghanistan.
Emanuel’s anti-gang strategy seems to be a losing battle; measures like demolitions of empty buildings and citizen brigades policing streets seem radical but are detached, isolated and slow in bearing results.
-Unless gang violence becomes a national issue and true priority of politicians,
-Unless all city residents pressure for solutions and are outraged for every single report of gun casualty,
-Unless the press breaks old habits and focuses on grief and true concern of gang violence,
-Unless bold investments and courageous decisions by aldermen bring change and hope to these neighborhoods
The Midwest’s biggest city will be an active war zone with innocent civilians as the “collateral damage” of raging violence.
- George Zorbas, TYO