Monday, July 16, 2007

Violence is local, too

As expected of a site concerned with international law, policy, and practice, we at IntLawGrrls typically train our focus on violence abroad. How can we not, given the state of our world? (Just 2 of today's Washington Post headlines: "Car Bombs Kill at Least 80 in Iraq," "Pakistan Truce Appears Defunct: Insurgents Strike Police, Troops; At Least 44 Die.") Yet a journey Midwest this month reminded that attention ought to be paid too to violence at home.
The same 4th of July parade that featured antiwar marches by Code Pink & Co. also was marked by the somber marching of Evanston High School's football team and cheerleaders around a car bannered "In Memory" -- a dignified tribute to their teammate Darryl "Shannon" Pickett, 17, shot dead days earlier in the suburban city just north of Chicago.
Meanwhile, in Chicago, 34 public school students have been killed since the beginning of the 2006-2007 academic year -- a number said to be greater than that of Illinois servicemembers killed in Iraq. The most recent victim was Schanna Gayden, a 13-year-old honors student and basketballer shot dead June 25 at a playground.
Things proved no better on return to the Bay Area:
Last week homicides in Oakland averaged 1 person a day. The total for the year stands at 64, 8 fewer than the same time last year.
Across the bay in San Francisco, homicides have spiked 20% this year; the 54th victim is San Franciscan Demetrius Maybums, 19, fatally shot while driving at 3 in the afternoon July 9. As with so many of these incidents, "[n]o arrests have been made. "
Much bandied about in human rights these days circles is "responsibility to protect" -- indeed, those in the know refer to the concept by its acroynm, RTP. One wonders about claims to a global responsibility to which states have not assented by means of binding treaty and whose status as a norm of customary international law has yet to be proved. Nonetheless, one can say that countries ought to turn the concept inward -- to endeavor mightily to protect their own even as they profess to look out for the rest of the world.

1 comment:

Patrick S. O'Donnell said...

This reminds me of the Global Peace Index (although one might quibble with the methodology, it is no less useful and revealing) in which the Unites States found itself ranked 96th! Please see: http://www.visionofhumanity.com/rankings/