The con­gress­man

The Denver Post - - NATION & WORLD -

As a con­gress­man, Danny Davis can de­bate the need for gun con­trol from a pub­lic pol­icy per­spec­tive.

As a grand­fa­ther, he can’t make sense of the death of his 15-year-old grand­son, Javon Wil­son, who was shot last month at his South Side home in a fight over clothes and gym shoes. A 16-year-old boy and 17-yearold girl have been charged with mur­der.

Javon, he says, had been warned not to be out on the streets at night. “Of course, here he was at home,” Davis says. “The streets kind of came to him.”

At Javon’s fu­neral, Davis mourned his grand­son, a bas­ket­ball fa­natic, a lover of blues and rap, a high school stu­dent just com­ing into his own. But the con­gress­man looked be­yond his fam­ily’s tragedy.

“Some­how with all the tech­nol­ogy that we have, with all the know-how ... we have not had the will to stop the flow of guns through in­ner-city com­mu­ni­ties,” he told mourn­ers. “You have to ask your­self, ‘How does a 15-year-old get a gun? Who will give it to him?’”

In parts of Chicago, guns flow freely. Some blame the surge in vi­o­lence on court de­ci­sions that have di­luted or elim­i­nated tough gun laws; the police su­per­in­ten­dent wants longer prison sen­tences for gun-re­lated crimes.

Davis has spo­ken to Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump and other po­lit­i­cal lead­ers who have called to of­fer con­do­lences and dis­cuss ways to stem the blood­shed. He’s op­ti­mistic some good will come from it and, he says, re­fuses to “ac­cept a hope­less feel­ing.”

Still, Davis wor­ries the shoot­ings will erode “the sense of pos­i­tive pos­si­bil­ity” that in­spires peo­ple to dream of bet­ter days ahead. “It’s hard to make those kinds of pre­dic­tions,” he says. “It’s hard for young peo­ple to even be­lieve that they will live to be a cer­tain age.”

And while he grieves for his grand­son, Davis says he also grieves for the teens charged with the mur­der. “We talk a great deal about re­demp­tion in our coun­try,” he says. “I can ask for for­give­ness of these two young peo­ple. Feel­ing an­other way wouldn’t do a thing to bring Jo­van back.”

U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., lost his grand­son. He wor­ries the shoot­ings will erode “the sense of pos­i­tive pos­si­bil­ity” that bet­ter days are ahead.

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