During the December 27 airing of Meet the Press, film director Spike Lee talked about the number of persons shot and killed in Chicago and suggested those deaths do not get attention because “it’s not Sandy Hook.”
Lee was on Meet the Press to discuss his new documentary “Chi-Raq.” A film focused on the gun violence in black neighborhoods in heavily gun-controlled Chicago.
Host Andrea Mitchell introduced the segment featuring Lee, saying, “The warning bell [Lee] is trying to ring is one about guns in America. And while the PEW Research Center says gun violence has declined since the 1990s, the backdrop for the senseless violence depicted in Lee’s film is the city of Chicago…[where] there have been almost three thousand shooting victims this year alone.”
Note: Gun violence in decline throughout the country, generally speaking, as it has been since the mid-1990s, but it is surging in Chicago. Yet Mitchell makes no effort to talk about what makes Chicago different from the rest of the country–namely, gun control.
The camera then pans to Lee sitting opposite of Chuck Todd. The two of them talk briefly about the intended audience for “Chi-Raq” and the intended takeaway. Lee says, “I want people to think about guns, that’s the takeaway for this film.”
At another point in the interview Todd gave Lee an opportunity to discuss the damage gun control has caused in Chicago, but Lee refused. Todd said, “When you make a movie you spend a lot of time studying, trying to figure [things] out. Why is Chicago so in much more worse shape than [other places]?”
Lee laughed initially and said, “I couldn’t tell you.” He then paused and said, “Chicago is America’s biggest segregated city. I think [that] has a lot to do with it.”
“Chi-Raq” was filmed from June 1 to July 9. Lee said, “During that time, 331 people got wounded and shot, 65 got murdered. From June 1 to July 9, and it’s escalated since then.”
Todd asked, “Why do you think there isn’t this sense of outrage about what’s happening in Chicago? Are we numb?”
Lee shot back, “It’s not Sandy Hook.”
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.