Mary A. Mitchell is an editorial board member and columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times. She is a recipient of numerous journalism awards, including the Award of Excellence from the National Association of Black Journalists; the Studs Terkel Award from the Community Media Workshop; the Peter Lisagor Award from the Chicago Headline Club; and in 2011, Mitchell was inducted into the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame.
This past January was the deadliest month in Chicago in more than a decade. Forty-two people lost their lives on the city’s streets, most of them to gun violence. For 2012, the total number of homicides was 509, of which 443 involved firearms. While most of the shootings could be attributed to gang feuds, innocent people were caught in crossfire that often erupted in broad daylight and on public streets.