violence, gang involvement, and other reckless lifestyles.
“We pay lots of attention to sensational murders, but mostly ignore guys like those on the wheel chairs as a result of gun violence...Many of the wheelchair ramps you see in Chicago are for young people who got shot,” Wilkins added. He is seeking assistance for many of the surviving victims of Chicago violence in his community that he refers to as "the Magnificent Miles" of the city's infamous "Wild 'Hundreds" area.
“This is the area where most of the murders and violence [happened] that gave Chicago the most recent media hype: Robert Sandifer, better known as Yummy in 1994; Blair Holt in 2007; Darrion Albert of 2009, Tanaja Stokes and Ariana Jones of 2010,” Wilkins stressed, as he stood to stretch and prevent his legs from tensing up inside of the braces that he must wear to walk.
I estimate from available statistics that for every victim shot to death in Chicago, about 4-7 people are shot but not killed. The physical, emotional, psychological and other impacts to survivors are seldom addressed, and often set the stage for more violence.
Many of those victims such as Eric Wilkins, never make the news at time of injury. Eric hopes to soon open a center around the corner from where Ariana and Tanaja were shot. It will be to raise more awareness of the causes, impacts, and solutions to gun violence; providing children and youth with a safe and positive place to learn and play; and support victims of violence.
Dr. Peter K. B. St. Jean is the Executive Director and Founder of Peaceful World Movement, an adjunct professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at Governors State University and University at Buffalo Department of Sociology, and the Coordinator of Pathways to Responsible Fatherhood at Haymarket Center, Chicago. He is also the author of Pockets of Crime: Broken Windows, Collective Efficacy and the Criminal Point of View.