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When God Doesn’t Make Sense – The Tragic Story of Chicago’s Shirley Chambers | Chocolate City: The Best African American Blog
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When God Doesn’t Make Sense – The Tragic Story of Chicago’s Shirley Chambers


by Charles S. Mombo

 Shirley Chambers' children - When God doesn't make sense.
Shirley Chambers’ children – When God doesn’t make sense.

My dear so-called fellow Christians don't accuse me of blasphemy because of the title of my article, 'When God Doesn't Make Sense” – is the title of a book by Dr. James Dobson. In his book, Dr. Dobson noted that every person who lives long enough will eventually encounter circumstances that are difficult to explain theologically. From his years of counselling experience, Dr. Dobson offers assurance of God's constant care, even when human suffering is beyond our comprehension.

According to RedEye, which has an ongoing project that tracks homicides in Chicago, the city ended 2012 with 513 homicides, a 15 percent increase from 448 homicides in 2011. At the rate at which 2013's death rate is going, the city might surpass the 513 homicides.

On Saturday, January 26, according to Chicago authorities, seven people were killed and six were wounded in gun violence in just one day. Realistically, Chicagoans have become immune to the killings. They don't seem to spend any time around the water cooler discussing weekend murders. As important as all of the seven murdered victims were, one of them, Ronnie Chambers, 33-year-old, is making headlines. He was his mother's only surviving child.

In 1995, Shirley Chambers, a mother of four children lost a child, Carlos, 18-year-old, to gun violence in 1995. In 2000 Shirley Chambers lost two children in the same year to gun violence. In April 2000, Chambers’ 15-year-old daughter, LaToya, was shot in the head while standing in the lobby of a Cabrini-Green housing project, during an argument between her boyfriend. A 13-year-old boy was later convicted. In July 2000, Chambers’ son Jerome, 23-year-old, was gunned down a few feet from a pay phone in the 400 block of West Chicago Avenue, not far from where his sister died. On January 26, Ronnie Chambers, 33-year-old, was shot in the head. According to a Chicago Police Department spokesperson, Chamber was fatally struck when a gunman or gunmen opened fire on a van he was riding in just after it arrived in the 1100 block of South Mozart Street.

According to a 2000 Chicago Tribune story, Ronnie Chambers had tattoos on his forearms to remind him of his dead siblings: a crucifix with a ribbon draped across it commemorated Carlos, a tombstone with a crucifix was for Jerome and another tombstone with a cross honored LaToya.

In a December appearance on the "The Ricki Lake Show," Chambers identified himself as a former gang member who was trying to help others stay away from that kind of life. Police said Chambers' long rap sheet shows that he was arrested 29 times and had four felony convictions. Records show his most recent conviction was in 2005 for receiving, possessing or selling a stolen motor vehicle. He was sentenced to three years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

No arrest was made in the murder of Chambers; and, there is a good likelihood that no one will be arrested. Chicago's no-snitch culture is leaving a rising number of violent crimes unsolved. This is frustrating for the police because when they can't find and arrest the perpetrators, they worry that the shooters will soon shoot again.

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