(Chris Jones’s article appeared in the Chicago Tribune, 9/22.)
I was listening to the radio Saturday afternoon as I drove to the Steppenwolf Theatre Company: Reports were coming in of the shooting in a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya. A kids' cooking competition had been going on. “A lot of children were involved,” I heard a reporter for the Daily Telegraph say, dryly, as I locked my car. He was not exaggerating. By Sunday morning, it was clear several children had died, and a 2-year-old was among the wounded.
Here in Chicago, of course, you do not have to look to Africa to see children impacted by violence and war: 3-year-old Deonta Howard was shot in the head Thursday night in Cornell Square Park, less than 12 miles from Steppenwolf.
Children have always died in wars, and, make no mistake, there is a war going on within Chicago city limits. And children have always watched adults they love die — or be imprisoned, tortured, transported, gassed, chased away, exiled or otherwise removed from their lives.