US Gun Violence Draws President Obama to Chicago

The steady wave of US gun violence has drawn President Obama to Chicago, where Hadiya Pendleton was shot only a mile from the President’s home. First lady Michelle Obama attended the 15-year-old’s funeral and invited her parents to be present at the State of the Union address Tuesday night.

Pendleton was killed only a week after performing at Obama’s second inauguration. The King College Prep High School student was shot in the back while standing with friends in Chicago’s Harsh Park on January 29. The shooters had mistaken one of her friends for someone upon whom they wanted to enact revenge.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the president arrived at O’Hare International Airport at 1:23 pm. He is expected to speak at Hyde Park Academy about opportunities he believes will help working families such as raising the federal minimum wage and investing in education. These are issues Obama raised during his State of the Union address, and they are not irrelevant to the debate over gun violence.

The administration has argued that US gun violence stems from issues other than a lack of gun control. The President is speaking about about creating jobs and improving the economy in part because unemployment and economic instability contribute to violence and other social problems.

Over 500 people were murdered in Chicago in 2012. This was an increase of 16 percent from 2011 and the first time the city passed 500 since 2008. Chicago suffered more murders last year than New York City, a city with around three times the population. Chicago’s unemployment rate held steady at 10 percent as 2012 came to a close. If US gun violence can be tied to other social issues, Chicago is a place to watch.