Roger Badesch on news of another shooting in Chicago: ‘It’s beyond the realm of any sanity’

Roger Badesch (WGN Radio)

In addition to over 30 of years experience in the broadcasting industry, WGN Radio news anchor Roger Badesch worked for 20 years as a public school teacher in Chicago and the suburbs. He posted the following to his personal Facebook page this morning.

Just signed in to FB and began reviewing the latest posts by my FB friends when I came across the news of another shooting in Chicago.

But it wasn’t just any shooting. It was the death of at least the 10th of my former students, most from Chicago Vocational. I don’t know what to say anymore about this – it’s beyond the realm of any sanity, beyond what mankind finds acceptable.

As news anchor at WGN Radio on the weekend overnights, I have to report the ever increasing numbers of people shot in Chicago, the increasing numbers shot dead in Chicago. The numbers climb higher every weekend – 2, 5, 8, 11, 15, 20 – shot and wounded. 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 – killed. EVERY DAMN WEEKEND!!! You’d think I was reporting on people killed in a war zone suicide attack in some far-off foreign country.

And then you hear that 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 of them were young people who used to sit in front of you in a high school classroom with 25 other teens just 17, 14, 11, 8, 4 years ago. You called their name each day, five days a week, for attendance. You checked in their homework, their class work, and entered their grades into a computer. You called their homes – spoke to their mother, father, older brother or sister, grandmother or grandfather, aunt or uncle, foster parent – to say they hadn’t been in class for a while, their grades were falling, they’d done a great project. Sometimes you spoke to no one at home because they didn’t have a home. Report card pickup day would bring hope that you’d see a parent or guardian – none would show up. These teenagers were still children – our children, yours and mine. And now they’re dead. Gunned down for no reason.

Ask the shooter, as I would a student in my class when they’d done something they knew they shouldn’t have done, why they got and fired the gun killing this child. Ask them. Why? It will end up with them eventually saying . . . “because” . . . and ending there. Because is no reason. “I felt like it.” “I didn’t like him.” “Someone told me to.” “He owed me money.” “For fun.” Are these reasons? No, no they’re not. Not even close. “Self defense?” That’s a reason. You were attacked, you feared for your life, there were no police around to help, you were alone. But, even then – with a gun?

I have to be numb to the news when I report it or I’d go crazy. But when it’s one of ‘my’ children? The numbness doesn’t help. I remember conferences with Tryce. I remember work by Tryce. This was one of ‘our’ children. Why?