Gang violence continues to tear Chicago apart, where seven people were killed in a 12-hour period on the South Side last week.
The deaths came in three separate incidents on Thursday, all in the same neighborhood called South Shore. Such statistics tend to fall easily from the lips of authorities and reporters, but each victim had a family – mothers, brothers, sisters, and grandmothers.
For example, 72-year-old Georgia Jackson rushed to the corner of 75th and Coles when she learned of the deaths of her grandsons, 20-year-old Dillan and 19-year-old Raheem. The two were caught in the crossfire of a gang shooting after they had come to visit their mother, who worked at a local restaurant and had to witness her two boys die right in front of her.
Dillon fell where he was shot. Raheem walked around to the back of an apartment building, where he died slumped up against a tree.
Pastor Michael Allen of Uptown Baptist Church in Chicago works with the police to help at-risk gang members. He's convinced that the violence in Chicago and other cities has a direct connection to abortion. Legalizing abortion, he tells OneNewsNow, has created a culture of death in American society.
"If we have legalized death in the womb where a woman can choose to kill her unborn baby, and then we turn around and [tell] these young men [to] put down the gun and stop killing each other on the streets – there's a double message there," says the pastor.
The young men caught up in the violence aren't foolish, he continues, explaining that they see their pregnant girlfriends go around the corner and have their babies killed without their consent.
"[And] that has hardened them, I think, to this whole issue of life," Allen offers. "And so their own lives are not valuable to them – and neither are the lives of others."
That, he argues, is the reason they can so "coldly and callously" kill each other.