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What's the last straw on Chicago's violence?

OPINION

March 12, 2013|By Brian Moore, @brithewebguy | RedEye

A 6-month-old baby girl is the latest victim of Chicago's street warfare.

Take a second to comprehend that.

It should make you angry, sick, confused, aghast ... pick whatever word you want. But will it be the catalyst for change in Chicago?

Let's hope it is. Killing babies has to be the bottom of this filth-covered barrel in Chicago.

Just a couple of months ago, 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton became a national symbol of the rampant violence plaguing this city when she was killed days after performing at President Obama's inauguration. Her heartbreaking story seemed to galvanize us, unite us. Things were going to change, we said. Or maybe we just hoped they would.

Then a 6-month-old baby girl was shot Tuesday while her father changed her diaper in the family minivan.

Jonylah Watkins. Remember her name. Chances are you'll be hearing it a lot, especially when the national media get their hands on the latest embarrassment out of Chicago.

According to police, Jonylah was with her father when some monster approached her father as he changed her diaper in the front passenger seat of their minivan. There were gunshots. Jonylah and her father were both hit. The gunman then fled, using a blue van as a getaway vehicle, police said.

Police are investigating gang ties to the shooting.

This latest death should be the last straw. We shouldn't tolerate this maniacal violence anymore just because it happens so often.

How do we stop it? I don't know. That's just the truth.

We were asking the same questions after a particularly bloody January saw 43 homicides—Pendleton's among them. But February had "just" 14, the fewest in decades. Maybe, just maybe, the outrage after Hadiya's death actually led to something positive.

Then a 6-month-old baby girl was shot.

Brian Moore is RedEye's Web editor. brmoore@tribune.com

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