The date was January 12, 2013. You probably didn’t hear about this tragedy involving guns and two teenage boys. But this was the headline in the Chicago Tribune: “Boys, 14 and 15, killed in separate shootings Friday.” You didn’t hear about it because such events aren’t news in Chicago. They’re ordinary daily occurrences. As we continue to hear calls for ever-tightening gun laws from the Obama administration, and from states such as New York, it is worth thinking about those headlines in Chicago. And in inner cities all around America, places where strict gun laws are already in place. Places where the weapon of choice isn’t an AR-15 but a semiautomatic handgun — the same kind of weapon most Americans use reasonably, and safely, to secure their most precious assets: their loved ones and their property.
So let’s go back to that wretched January 12 story from Chicago, President Obama’s hometown. The murdered 14-year-old had a name, Rey Durante. He was gunned down by two shooters while standing on the porch of his Humboldt Park home. The two men opened fire, according to news accounts, near midnight, striking him multiple times in the chest.
When paramedics arrived on the scene, he was lying just inside his home, bleeding from several bullet wounds. He died there. Police found blood all over the front steps and more than half a dozen shell casings on the sidewalk. He would have turned 15 in a few days, his stepmother told reporters.
On the sidewalk near the crime scene, a local paper reported, the father of one of the boy’s friends cried as he paced near a group of teenagers. When a neighbor asked him what had happened, his response was simple — and heartbreaking.
“A little boy just got murdered,” he said.
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