Monday, September 26, 2011


"And so there are shootings. Seldom fisticuffs or brawls. Just over-the-top shootings by young, unguided, hopeless men who couldn’t care less about a fair fight. And the worst are the drive-bys — gun spray from thugs in cars aimed at crowds or houses or nothing at all. Editorials always call these shootings ‘‘senseless.’’ But they’re not. They’re over gang turf, drug deals, embarrassment, machismo. Those may be dumb things, but they are no more senseless than wars in distant lands over resources, imagined fears and male pride."

I had the great pleasure of living and working in Hyde Park this summer, on the campus of the University of Chicago - a place with more Nobel Prize winners than any other place in the world.

It is a community of Gothic buildings, bookstores, museums, chapels. great parks, lakefront beaches, bike paths, the Museum of Science and Industry, and million dollar homes, one of which is president Obama's house.

Just a few blocks away is the community of Englewood.

Rick Telander, the great Chicago SunTimes sportswriter, is writing a series of articles about Englewood, a place with poverty and violence that defies comprehension. I hope you will read them to get insight into how some of our brethren must live on a day to day basis.

I met some of the loveliest people I've ever met this summer, the folks who, behind the scenes, make the University of Chicago's infrastructure hum. Most of them live in the areas surrounding Hyde Park, including Englewood. Their good nature, sense of humor, and humanity inspired me, knowing what I know about the challenges of where they live.

Within a mile of Obama's house this summer, there were four murders, and countless robberies. When asked why he went to Hyde Park to rob and murder a U of C grad student, the murderer, who probably has never heard of John Dillinger, answered "because that's where the money is".

Englewood may seem a universe away, but heartache that profound reverberates across all boundaries.

Read more:     Can Basketball Help Englewood?     by Rick Telander : Chicago SunTimes
Read more:     Are You a Coach?     by Rick Telander : Chicago SunTimes
Read more:     The Devil's Playground     by Rick Telander : Chicago SunTimes
Read more:     Land of the Free? Not in Englewood     by Rick Telander : Chicago SunTimes
Read more:     Playground Director Stays Hopeful    by Rick Telander : Chicago SunTimes
Read more:     Bright Spot in Dangerous Area     by Rick Telander : Chicago SunTimes
Read more:     Leaving Englewood Only Escape     by Rick Telander : Chicago SunTimes
Read more:     How Did Derrick Rose Make it Out?     by Rick Telander : Chicago SunTimes