Good night, Lavontay.
Sleep peacefully, sweet child.
And we will do the same.
We will try not to think about the last seconds of your life, strapped in the back seat while more than a dozen gunshots rang out in your ear, at least one of them piercing your head.
How frightened you must have been. How alone you must have felt.
We are decent people. Of course, we feel sorry for you.
We saw only a glimpse of you in a Facebook video posted online. You were wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt and peering out the window of a car, the way curious 2-year-olds do.
You seemed so much like the toddlers we know, the ones we tuck into bed at night and cuddle in the morning when they awake. If we closed our eyes, we could imagine you as our own child in that back seat, bleeding and gasping for your last breath.
But that would be too painful and much too cruel. We are lucky that we don’t have to.
Deep inside, you see, we believe that you are different from our own children, our grandchildren. We can point to a number of reasons that make it so.
Your 26-year-old uncle, who was also killed, was a known gang member, police say. If it’s anyone’s fault that you died, it’s his.
Why were they in that alley in the first place, recording themselves singing along to a rap song in the middle of the day? If your uncle and his pregnant girlfriend had been at work like the rest of us, this never would have happened.
Thank goodness, we have someone to blame.
With the music blasting and your uncle in the front seat singing the words to a familiar song, you must have felt as though you were on a great adventure.
But there was a target on your back. It has always been there.
From the day you were born, there were so many things going against you, Lavontay. You didn’t even know.
You lived in the North Lawndale community on the West Side, where more than 30 people have been killed in the last 12 months.