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This is horribly sad. NBC is reporting that Chicago has just recorded its 500th murder in the year 2012. Rahm Emanuel, the mayor, says this is “an unfortunate and tragic milestone.” That, I submit, is an understatement. Why is the country not in an uproar? Why is Chicago not in an uproar? Have we become inured to the violence in Chicago and other cities with appallingly high murder rates? Have we stopped asking why so many people hold human life in such contempt? The country was rightly shocked and outraged by the killing of school children in Sandy Hook. That was unpseakably evil. But where is the outrage about what happens virtually every day and night in Chicago and places like it? Many of the victims of these atrocities are children, too. What I am asking for is not lip service from politicians, or cheap, gimmicky, feel good, faux solutions. We need a serious national conversation about the deep sources of the problem. Perhaps this “unfortunate, tragic milestone” will be the occasion for such a conversation. I certainly hope so. It is long overdue.

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