Greising: When Will Chicago's Violence Evoke True Citywide Outrage?

So long as city boosters see the shootings as a problem confined mainly to a few neighborhoods, and not as the urban epidemic they are, the problem won’t get fixed.

Chicago Police officers and detectives investigate a shooting where multiple people were shot on Sunday, August 5, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

BGA President David Greising writes a biweekly column for the Chicago Tribune.

The first freshly dead body I ever saw lay in the back of a police vehicle, an African-American teenager who had tried to shoot an off-duty cop. He missed, and got shot by the cop instead.

For the City News Bureau of Chicago, that was a story. But not every shooting death was news in 1982. There were 670 homicides in Chicago that year, and City News judged a large number of them “cheap.”

That’s right — “cheap.” It was news slang for an event that was not worth a story. It was also a ghastly way to describe a lost life, even in the hard-bitten argot of City News.

The notion of a “cheap” death came to mind after the weekend carnage of 74 shootings and 12 deaths in Chicago. Those deaths made headlines, but largely because there were so many of them.

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