Murders in Chicago, more than statistics



By Walker Post


On September 18, 2013, The FBI confirmed Chicago is the murder capital of the U.S. by surpassing New York in registered homicides. Murders dramatically increased by 16% from 2011, with 431 homicides, to 500 in 2012. Sadly, violence in the city is still alarmingly high.

To many in Chicago, the number of homicides have become just a number or statistic. People struggle to feel empathy for the hundreds of victims murdered because most of them don’t even know the victims’ names.

At one point, I too was unconcerned with the violence in Chicago because it had never directly affected me. This was until I found out my childhood friend Ulysses “Chris” Gissendanner was shot and killed on January 2 of this year.

Chris and I both hung out at the Neighborhood Boys and Girls Club at Irving Park and Campbell when we were in elementary school. We spent a lot of time playing basketball in the gym with other local kids. It was common for us to go run around in the park and play games like Wood Chips or Johnny Tackle. I remember Chris as being a jokester who was always remarkably loud. This became obvious to anyone who played football with him on the field.

Chris was only 19 and an aspiring rapper known as “Boomtown.” He had hopes of becoming famous one day.

”I’m on a grind to the big screen, staying positive to feed my family,” Chris said in his song: Big Dreams.

This loss is one that is far too familiar for many people living in Chicago. Sometimes it is not until that realization, that someone you know is dead, that the situation actually becomes real for you.

I hadn’t spoken to Chris in a while. But his death brought back memories of what it was like being a kid without any concerns besides who was “it” in tag. I miss those days and I miss my old friend.  Rest in peace, Boomtown.