A tragic loss of life
A 9-year-old girl named Serabi Medina was shot and killed by her neighbor in Chicago on Saturday night, August 5, 2023. The shooting occurred in the vestibule of her apartment building in the Portage Park neighborhood, where she had just bought an ice cream for herself and her father. According to witnesses, the neighbor, Michael Goodman, 43, had previously complained about the noise some children in the area made and confronted Serabi’s father before shooting the girl in the head. Goodman, a computer programmer who had a license to carry his gun, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. He was denied bail at his court hearing on Tuesday.
Serabi’s death is a heartbreaking tragedy that has shocked and saddened the community. She was a bright and cheerful child who loved to play with her scooter and her friends. She had also lost her mother in a shooting in Austin five years earlier, making her fate even more devastating. Her father, who witnessed the horrific scene, is now left alone to mourn his daughter and cope with the trauma.
A growing problem of gun violence
Serabi’s murder is not an isolated incident, but part of a larger problem of gun violence that plagues Chicago and the nation. According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 29,763 incidents of gun violence in the US in 2023 so far, resulting in 8,057 deaths and 16,390 injuries. Of those, 1,814 were children aged 0 to 17. In Chicago alone, there have been 2,049 shootings and 414 homicides this year.
The causes of gun violence are complex and multifaceted, involving factors such as poverty, inequality, racism, mental health, drug abuse, gang activity, domestic violence, and easy access to firearms. Many experts agree that there is no single solution to this issue, but rather a need for a comprehensive approach that addresses the root causes and prevents future tragedies. Some of the possible measures include strengthening background checks, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, enforcing existing laws, improving mental health services, investing in education and social programs, and promoting a culture of peace and respect.
A call for action and change
Serabi’s murder has sparked outrage and grief among her family, friends, neighbors, and strangers who have heard her story. Many people have expressed their condolences and support online, using hashtags such as #JusticeForSerabi and #StopGunViolence. Some have also organized vigils, rallies, and fundraisers to honor her memory and demand justice. One of the events was a balloon release on Sunday night at Serabi’s apartment building, where dozens of people gathered to pay tribute to the young girl.
Serabi’s murder has also highlighted the need for action and change from the authorities and the society at large. Many people have called for stricter gun laws and regulations that would prevent dangerous individuals from obtaining firearms and harming innocent lives. Others have urged for more resources and attention to be given to the communities that suffer the most from gun violence and its consequences. Some have also appealed for more empathy and compassion among people who share this world and this city.
Serabi Medina was a 9-year-old girl who had a whole life ahead of her. She should not have had to fear being shot for being a kid. She deserved better. We all do.