Let me tell you a story.
It’s a tale of two cities; one is Chicago, the other, New York.
It starts like this:
“It’s 10pm. do you know where your children are?”
Remember that phrase on the TV and the radio?
Do you know where it came from?
It started in the summer of ’67 when youth curfews were put into place after rioting and unrest in several U.S. cities like Newark, buffalo, Chicago, Los Angeles and beyond.
Some say it started in Buffalo.
Others say it was New York City where the news anchor on the 10 o’clock news began each nightly broadcast with that phrase, as a reminder to parents, to keep their children off the streets.
That station is NWYW. It was WNEW back then. It was the first TV station at which i ever worked.
I often wondered why the announcer would ask that question before the beginning of each broadcast, but never got to the bottom of it until now.
Until this past holiday week when an astounding number of people were injured by gunfire in New York and Chicago.
In Chicago a staggering 82 people were shot, most of them young people.
Sixteen of them died.
The Mayor and the police chief announced this week that they overwhelmed by guns and gangs are scrambling to put hundreds more officers on the streets, as fast as they can.
Last weekend in New York City 12 people were shot, most of them young people. Three of them were killed.
But the weekend before that 21, mostly young people, were shot in the city, 2 died.
Shooting violence is up 10 percent, so much so that some residents, who celebrated when the city’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy was scaled back, are now wondering if it should make a return.
The police department is also wondering if they need to bring it back, and have commissioned a study.
Ending the program which many call racial profiling was one of the signature promises of new York’s new Mayor Bill Di Blasio.
And depending on the study’s outcome he may have to renege, too much money is at stake.
And as history shows, money can quite often trump civil rights.
So to the people who can make a difference outside of the police department, the people who can help stop the violence other than police, the people who can save young lives right in their own homes- the parents.
My question is for you, whatever o’clock it may be, a.m. or p.m., do you know where your children are?