There Are Still Gunshots Outside My Window Even After President Obama’s Speech

Yesterday my husband and I watched the Democratic National Convention while anticipating President Obama’s speech. Prior to him being introduced they played a video highlighting some of the President’s most pivotal moments. I remembered most of them, but two in particular stood out:

  1. I will never forget when the President cried over the innocent children and adults who lost their lives in Sandy Hook. Guns were rapidly taking the lives of innocent victims and there was nothing he could do about it.
  2. The president went on to say this happens every day in Chicago.

The president was right. Seeing that clip invoked a deep hurt in me as I turned to my husband and said “I’m so tired of people dying to gun violence.” He empathized.

After the Presidents speech was over we got in bed and my husband began to pray. I’m usually guilty of falling asleep during his prayers, but I was actually making it this time. Suddenly there was a loud pop. “What was that?”, I said. “I don’t know.”, he said. Four more pops rang out and we knew they were gun shots. “Get on the floor!”, said my husband. We got on the floor of our bedroom and I immediately called the police. I couldn’t believe it. I heard gunshots in our neighborhood before, but not this close. Those shots were LOUD and NEAR.

While waiting for the police we looked outside to the back of our complex. It was clear. We looked outside to the front and there was a young man yelling at the 24 hour security guard on our corner. Yep, you read that right.

We live in an interesting area. It’s technically Hyde Park, but it’s literally on the edge of Hyde Park, so it feels like Woodlawn. The University of Chicago is directly across the street, which gives us access to 24 hour security. When I was single I chose to live here, because I’ve never felt more safe. Even when little crimes would happen here and there, I knew the city would be quick to shut it down, because the last thing they want to do is lose the almighty dollar of university students. They would protect this area at any cost. A sad but true reality.

Ten minutes later the police finally arrived. I guess they aren’t too much in a rush when someone reports gun shots. They asked the security guard what happened. He said he heard gunshots and saw the young man running as if he was running for his life. The officers took a few notes and began to circle the block.

We got back in bed, but I tossed and turn for the next hour. I knew this feeling too well.

It was July 13, 2013. I’ll never forget the date, because we were driving home from my cousin’s wedding. While on the expressway news broke that George Zimmerman was acquitted in the murder of Trayvon Martin. My heart BROKE. It was broken even more as we drove into the city to find business as usual. The news was reporting of shootings, crime, etc. Why? How could we harm each other at a time like this?

That is what I felt while laying in bed last night. The first and maybe only Black president of America had just given an inspirational speech filled with nuggets to chew on afterwards, and still, you’re killing each other. I know, I know- I may be naive to believe that the morals of Chicagoans would change, because we have a Black president. But there’s a glimmer of hope in me that’s praying some of my Black brothers and sisters in Chicago won’t miss this historical moment in time. I’m afraid they have.

The first Black president is an African American man from CHICAGO and we’re still killing each other. WAKE UP. #BlackLivesMatter

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Tanikia Carpenter

Tanikia is a lifestyle writer & blogger from Chicago. Her work has been featured on the TLC network, ESSENCE, and Huff Post LIVE, just to name a few. Tanikia is a regular contributor to Black & Married With Kids and the columnist of JET Magazine's "Giving You the Gospel". She is also the author of "When God Said Yes" & "The 30 Day Man Fast".