I grew up hearing gun shots.

I grew up hearing the “ghetto bird” search for suspects, its bright light blasting down dark alleys and into my neighbors’ yards. Sirens, police tape, and gang drive-bys are about as ingrained in my memory as trips to the beach and Friday pizza night with my family.

Back then, in South Central Los Angeles in the ’80s, violence was normal. Kids regularly wondered if they’d make it to middle age before being cut down by a bullet, and I prayed my brother made it home safe every night. Sh-t was real.

Murders and killings and beef gone too far aren’t rare in urban America, but they are tolerated. And ignored.

But when violence spills into the ’burbs and onto the tony streets of “the good side of town,” America takes notice. It’s predictably sad.

When a gunman burst into an Aurora movie theater last week, killing 12 and injuring dozens more, we noticed. Many wondered how such a thing could possibly occur, how senseless and unnecessary the situation all was. But it wasn’t unique.

The same night of the Aurora shooting, three boys were shot in Chicago; two died. And last night in the City of Big Shoulders, six people were shot within 15 minutes, which left one teen dead. In Chicago, these things are all too common, and yet no one outside of those dealing with the violence on a daily basis is speaking out.

While the country mourns those lost in Aurora, we cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the violence unfolding in other cities. In Chicago more than 250 people have been murdered this year. In Los Angeles, that number is 104. In New Orleans more than 111 people have been killed so far this year.

From Detroit to Memphis, Oakland to St. Louis, people are being shot down every day and no one but their families seem to care, certainly not our politicians.

As we stand with those in Colorado, let us not forget our brothers and sisters who live under a constant state of siege. While we can do little to protect ourselves from a crazed lone gunmen acting out his cinematic fantasies, we can begin to police our own communities and work toward solutions to stop killing each other.

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  • AuCo

    The saddest part of this all is none of you actually know this area in Aurora, CO to say that’s a white community. It’s not, it really isn’t. When I read that you thought Century 16 was a white community I literally laughed out loud. My family and I specifically do NOT go to this theater because of how “black” it is. That is my local theater and one thing it’s known for is how many police are ALWAYS there.I think that was the only night that many white people were at Century… White people love their Batman. This got attention from the news because some crazy deranged man made an act of well plotted events, you honestly think that had this occurred somewhere else it wouldn’t have gotten any attention?

    • Lily

      I was thinking the same thing it is clear the author didn’t do her due diligence prior to writing this story if she were to describe Aurora as a white community. When any Coloradan hears Aurora white is perhaps the last adjective that comes to mind.

      It is so shameful and pathetic that people have to one up tragedies and speculate about media coverage. It is also more telling of the Chicago community that enables daily violence, that makes it a blip. What are the people doing to affect change around them? If residents have become passive in their environments riddled with violence what compels me to care?

  • I only deal in the truth and I’m going to put this out there. Do we care when violence only occurs when it’s white against black? It seems that it’s the only time that we are the most vocal and most active while ignoring the problem as it destroys many of our communities and destroys families and innocent children. What happen in Aurora was horrible and outright evil, and what’s happening in our communities is the same thing. Wake up and stop whining about everything and take action to change the reality.

  • echidiime

    I get it, black violence gets very little press time and the numbers are astounding. But I don’t know, I just feel uncomfortable with this essay. Pitting one tragedy against another doesn’t sit right with me. Loss is loss. Minimizing the tragedy in Aurora or brandishing black sorrow to score race points just feels icky to me. Ordinarily I am very much in the corner of the black community, but I feel like throwing in Aurora into the mix as evidence of racism – I don’t know, I just can’t jump on that bandwagon.

  • I think in an effort to appeal to your Black leadership, you’ve mis-stepped with this article, Clutch. Your argument is misplaced and misguided, given the circumstances.

  • Nikki Renee

    Aurora, CO actually is not a white community…at all. When the shooting happened in Aurora, people here in Colorado weren’t surprised at first because everyone thought that is was gang violence because Aurora is considered to be “ghetto”. I agree that media typically cares only about what happens in white communities, but, I thought that I would clarify that Aurora actually isn’t a white community at all.