An 11-year-old girl in Chicago was shot and killed late last week when a stray bullet flew through a window and struck her in the head during a sleepover at a nearby friend’s house.
Shamiya Adams was a student at Melody Elementary School last year, and was getting ready to enter 6th grade in the fall. She was making s’mores with her friends on Friday night when gunshots erupted. One bullet crashed through the window of Rosemarie Jones, who was hosting her daughter’s friends for the sleepover.
Adams was transported to a nearby hospital with critical brain injuries, but an emergency surgery and breathing machine were not enough to save the girl. She was pronounced dead early on Saturday morning.
“She was just a baby,” Adams’s aunt lamented to the Chicago Sun-Times. “She didn’t deserve this.”
Gun violence has reached almost endemic levels in Chicago. In addition to Adams, 21 other people were shot in a 12-hour span from Friday afternoon to early Saturday morning. Adams and one other victim died. This comes two weeks after a similar spree in the city’s streets left nine dead and more than 60 others injured over the Independence Day weekend.
That figure is actually up from the same holiday weekend a year ago, when 34 people were injured or killed by gun violence on July 4th. And the city has seen more than its fair share of extremely violent weekends.
Gun deaths have taken a particularly large toll on the city’s sizable black population. A recent study found that African-Americans were 10 times more likely to be shot by police than white people. Children have also been frequent victims, often innocent bystanders of deadly shootings.
These stretches of violence have been cited by conservatives as proof that strict gun laws have no effect on actual gun violence. They point to the city’s tough gun laws as evidence, but neglect to mention that while Chicago has passed numerous measures in an attempt to make it harder for people to purchase deadly weapons, the rest of the state has lagged far behind. Forty three percent of guns seized in the Chicagoland area were purchased elsewhere in the state, while most of the remaining guns were brought to the city from out of state.
Compare that to New York, a city with three times as many people but fewer incidents of gun violence. Like Chicago, New York City has equally strict gun laws, but unlike Illinois, New York State also has firm gun laws in place that make it harder for middlemen to bring firearms into the city.