Malignant Neglect: The president talks about Ferguson, Mo., but not about a Chicago weekend where three dozen people were shot, seven of them killed, including a 16-year-old black girl who wanted to be a doctor.
To his credit, President Obama was more judicious than usual talking about the shooting of Michael Brown outside St. Louis. He did not say the police acted stupidly. He actually made a rare attempt at acknowledging individual responsibility when he said that when young black men “commit a crime, they need to be prosecuted, because every community has an interest in public safety.”
One of those communities is Chicago, about whose routine carnage the president has said little of substance, and where last weekend, as the fires of looted stores in Ferguson burned, seven people were shot dead and 29 were wounded. No need to put out the fires of perceived racial animosity or place special focus on the situation when it is young blacks routinely killing other young blacks.
If Sasha and Malia Obama, the president’s young daughters, had another sister, she might look like 16-year-old Shaquise Buckner. Chicago police say Shaquise, who was the same age as Malia, appeared to have been the unintended target of a gang-related drive-by shooting early Saturday morning.
Yet Attorney General Eric Holder went to Ferguson, not Chicago. Thirty-six people are shot in Chicago in a single weekend, seven of them fatally, yet the FBI sends 40 agents to Missouri to investigate the shooting death of one young black male.
In his remarks on Ferguson and the difficulties of young black men, Obama spoke of “communities that feel left behind; who, as a consequence of tragic histories, often find themselves isolated, often find themselves without hope, without economic prospects. You have young men of color who are more likely to end up in jail, or the criminal justice system, than they are to end up in a good job or college.”
One of those communities is Chicago.