Tough conversations about homicides

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By Arlene Jones

Columnist

When a murderer is caught on tape, should it be seen? In 2019, we now have numerous murders being caught on tape because of technology. The question then becomes, should those murders be viewable so we can see that the killing of a person is not like a video game or the movies? What if the deceased is a criminal who, during the commission of a crime, gets killed? Does it make a difference if the person killed is an innocent victim?

Brittany Hill was killed on May 28 on Mason near Division. She is the latest victim whose death was caught on tape. Initial news report were already chilling. They reported that Brittany was holding her 1-year-old daughter in her arms when the shooters drove up. Days after her death, we learned that there is a video of the crime because the recording was leaked. The video is disturbing in many ways.

Because the camera was already installed and pointing in a certain direction, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that it is in a problem area. So those who profess shock about the crime are disingenuous. 

What is most chilling about the murder of Brittany Hill is how brazen the killers were. They get out the car and begin shooting up the block at both the fleeing young men and toward Brittany too. Then the men run, leaving Brittany to hobble along, carrying her 1-year-old, trying to get behind a car for safety. Seconds later, a young man comes running out the house with what appears to be a huge automatic weapon. He gets into the car and drives off in pursuit of the suspected shooters. Brittany continues lying on the ground. 

Moments go by and a car comes down the street. Two men jump out and lift Britney up to put her in the back seat to transport her to the hospital.

One of the worst things you can do with a shooting victim is move them. The importance of calling for the ambulance who can stabilize the person before they are moved is the difference between the person making it or not. The paramedics in the ambulance are in constant contact with the hospital. The information they give is vital so the hospital is prepared to receive the victim. The emergency room knows the victim's blood type and extent of the injuries. Just showing up at a hospital emergency room with a person who has been shot and expecting the doctors to know what to do isn't realistic. Maybe the surgeon has taken a break and has to be found. Or the victim may have a rare blood type that the hospital needs to seek out.

The two men alleged to have perpetrated the crime were soon caught. One is 39 years old and the other is 23. That age difference is almost like father and son. They are not from the Chicago area but from downstate Illinois. Why were they in Chicago to commit this carnage?

The video of Brittany's death should start a lot of conversations. From the death penalty being reinstated to criminal activity that caused the camera to be pointed in that direction to begin with, all should be part of a conversation if this city is to return to sanity. 

Now the question is: "Will we have the conversation?"

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