As with the Newtown victims, Hadiya Pendleton is now a prop in the gun control debate.
The young teen participated in the President's ingauguration celebration in DC, and less than two weeks later, was shot dead. Another victim of Chicago's pervasive criminal culture.
Her parents were honored guests of the President at the State of the Union address, where Obama spoke passionately of the need for "reasonable" solutions to gun violence.
But here's the part you probably don't know, and the part that anti-gun proponents would prefer you not know, and certainly not something likely to get extended coverage in mainstream media: Michael Ward, Hidiya's alleged killer, was arrested in Chicago in 2012 on a gun charge. He was sentenced to two years probation after having run from cops and tossing away a loaded 38 revolver during the chase.
Now, the ratonale for the probation-only sentence, according to people familiar with Chicagos gang/youth violence problems, is that its important not to put young people into the system if they have a chance to graduate high school. After the conviction, Ward was also ordered to serve six months of nightly curfew, graduate high school, and attend an anti-violence course.
But peeling away another liberal layer of rationale for trying to "save" this young man from the harsh realities of hard time reveals additional trouble: Michael Ward had already been arrested numerous times as a juvenille, on charges as light as marijuana possession and as heavy as robbery. He had been convicted twice as a juvenille, and had already served a probationary sentence.
While on probation for the gun charge, he was arrested three more times. Twice for breaking into cars, and a third time for tresspassing. In two of the three cases, the arrests were not communicated to his parole officer or the court where he was sentenced.
Politicians won't tell us the Michael Wards of the world are the problem. They won't tell us their sloppy, negligent bureaucracies are the problem. They'll instead say guns are the problem. They'll stand atop Hadiya Pendlteon's grave, and acuse gun rights activists of having blood on their hands. They'll ignore their own culpability for the broken system they've created and for the divisive way they strive to maintain power.
They'll trample on the rights of hundreds of millions of Americans who are nothing like Michael Ward, and they'll tell us this is the best way to honor the memory of Hadiya Pendleton.