Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) has given at least two speeches today, one on the steps of Congress and one on the House floor; each has been convincing, compelling and passionate, particularly when speaking of his son, Huey, who was shot and killed at the age of 29 in 1999.
Here are the words he spoke early Wednesday afternoon on the steps, as the Democratic sit-in first commenced, via C-Span:
I come from a place where gun violence is a daily, multiple, many times a day occurrence. It’s so bad in Chicago that the murder of a three-year-old yesterday is old news because of the proliferation of guns in my city.
I live in a danger zone. When I pull up to the intersection, me, my constituents, if a cop pulls up beside us, there’s fear. We don’t know what to expect. When I drive along the expressway, we don’t know what to expect. We don’t know where the bullet will come from. We don’t know whether or not a young man or young woman who is young but armed. We need effective, sane, common sense gun control legislation. We need the House of Representatives to be the representatives of the American people, and not just the representatives of the NRA.
I’m so disappointed that mothers, family members, young people—not only in Chicago but throughout the nation—I’m so disappointed that they can’t look to their leadership here in the Congress and count on their leadership to help solve this problem, this carnage on our streets, all across the nation.
Guns are more available to 12-, 12-, 14-year-olds in this nation right now, as we speak. Guns are more available to them, easier to obtain than a prescription from a physician. Madame Speaker, Madame Leader, I’m afraid once we do pass effective gun laws, the question I have is, what about the guns that are in the hands of thet 12- annd 13- and 14-year-olds? What do we do with those guns? When is it going to stop?
The murder, the killings, the crime, the pain, the suffering. This is America!
My son, in 1999, was shot. I got the news. I left Washington and went back to Chicago. I was with him for a couple days. I was on the conference committee, the banking conference committee, but I left the committee room and went back to find out what happened and how he was dfoing.
I was there and the doctor told me he would be—that he was stabilized and he would be all right. I said, well, let me go back to Washington and continue to work on this conference committee. Later that day, I got a call that he had made a turn for the worse, so I couldn’t catch a flight overnight. I stayed in my apartment waiting to catch the early flight out. Went back to the hospital. The doctor announced that he had passed.
What I remember most, besides this picture of my son laying in that hospital bed, swollen up twice his normal size—what I remember about that was my daughter, her mother falling on the floor of the hospital, screaming, screaming. She said, “Dad, Dad, do something.”
I could not have felt more helpless. And then the awful, primal scream that only a mother, only a mother, only a mother could scream that primal scream. I will never forget the primal scream of my son’s mother.
Shot down in cold blood on the streets of Chicago.
It’s time to end this primal scream in our nation, and it’s time to end it right now.
Bobby Rush and Nancy Pelosi early Wednesday, June 22, on Capitol Hill, shortly after delivering this speech. Image via AP