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Wed May 23, 2012, 01:58 PM

Obama Talks Afghanistan Loss of Life at NATO Summit But Silent on Chicago Carnage

May 22, 2012 4:45 AM EDT
At the NATO summit in Chicago, the president warned about more loss of life ahead in Afghanistan. But he rarely talks about the people being killed in his hometown and other U.S. cities—avoiding the risky issue of gun control.

By Michael Daly

Twelve year-old Nazia Banks was in his last 90 minutes of life when Air Force One landed at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport on Saturday night.

As President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama were greeted on the tarmac by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his wife, Nazia was on the opposite end of the city, playing with other youngsters outside his family’s two-story brick home on South Brandon Avenue. The president and the mayor stood chatting for a few moments, seeming just as close as when Emanuel served Obama as White House chief of staff. They then boarded the presidential helicopter with their wives and flew to Solider Field on the city’s lakefront. A motorcade waited to take the Obamas to the hotel where they would be staying during the NATO summit.

Just down Lake Shore Drive, Nazia Banks’s father called for the youngster to come in for the night. Nazia was starting toward the cement steps leading up to his front door when two men appeared with handguns and began to fire for reasons that are not yet clear. The boy fell mortally wounded with a bullet in his head, one of 29 people shot in Chicago that weekend. He and six others died, including a 14-year-old girl shot Friday night while riding a bicycle. In the morning, Nazia’s neighbors placed stuffed animals and notes of grief on his front steps, a ritual that had been performed on other blocks—on St. Patrick’s Day after a 6-year-old girl became one of 49 people shot on a weekend, and then the night before Easter, when a 13-year-old boy was shot to death while he sat on his stoop.

Obama took a 20-minute drive up Lake Michigan, meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The summit is another step toward winding down the war in Afghanistan. “The loss of life continues in Afghanistan, and there will be hard days ahead,” Obama declared.

More: Article from the Daily Beast

My question to you: President Obama often seems focused on the suburban middle class, is President Obama connecting with the urban poor? Will it matter in 2012? I'm thinking particularly of states like Pennsylvania where a big turnout in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh is crucial to victory and Ohio where Cleveland and Cincinnati are vital. Why isn't continuing gun violence more of an election issue?

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