This Chicagoan Life: Podcasts Change Perspectives in Chicago History Class

Michael Berger This past week in Ms. Hennessy’s History of Chicago class, we discussed the ever-increasing issue of gun violence in the city.  I’m going to start this off by saying that I have not experienced gun violence in any form first hand.  We started off this unit by listening to a This American Life podcast dealing with gun violence in the Englewood neighborhood, specifically dealing with its affects on student at Harper High School. After listening to this podcast, I had a realization.  Even though I, like many Latin students, live just miles away from this drama, for the most part I am an outsider to this situation and have never actually experienced what so many in our city do daily.  Many of us, myself included, live in a bubble of the beautiful mid western big city while 55 people have been killed since 2013 began. While listening to the podcast, one of the things that resonated with me the most was the idea that guns were not the greatest concern, but the feeling of fear and helplessness that many of the students felt.  An example of this was the senior class’s soon-to-be valedictorian Deonte.  Deonte felt that the only way that he could avoid gang life and make it to college was to not make friends and confine himself to his home for three years besides his commute to and from school.  This proves that not only are these students scared of gangs; they are scared of not joining. This issue couldn’t be more prevalent in right now.  In the last month, there have been sixteen murders.  Though there is a steep decline from what we saw in January, the number sixteen is still staggering.  The problem is not the fact that parts of US culture are gun-obsessed; the problem is that a vast majority of guns that are used in crime are obtained illegally and can not be controlled or regulated. I don’t pretend to have any sort of solution to these problems, but I know for a fact that something has to be done.  Countless steps have been taken, including greater police intervention, and attempting to give schools temporary higher funding.  Though there is no great solution at this moment, there are still ways to help, one being a donation to Harper High School through this site.  (–harper-high-school–donations).]]>