The sad news hit the Chicago Sun-Times today:

The deaths of Brian Murdock, 15, and Quinton Buckner, 17, brought the total number of people killed to at least 447, according to reports from the Sun-Times News Group wire. At the end of 2007, 443 homicides were recorded in the city.

The total was only 441 through October 31, a 16.4%  increase over last year at the same time, according to the Sun-Times.  A mere seven days into November, there were six more murders in Chicago.

Why?  Again from the Sun-Times:

But since then, a 21-year-old man was shot in the head in Marquette Park, two men were found in a burning car near Hegewisch with multiple gunshot wounds and a 22-year-old man was shot and killed in a dice game in Englewood. Then the two teens were killed Thursday.

Chicago Police are following tips that the shooting was somehow linked to an armed robbery. No one has been charged.

Brian Murdock was found slumped against a fence when his father got to the block where the shooting happened.

According to reports, James Murdock had adopted Brian when the boy was 8 or 9.  He was planning on transfering is son out of Robeson High School because dad was worried about gang fights.  Brian had recently been talking to his father about his fear of being attacked.

Quinton Buckner was planning on serving this country in the armed forces:

Quinton Buckner was a motivated kid who wanted to play football in college and later become a Marine, said his older brother, Dennis Buckner, 22.

Dennis Buckner described his brother as a “good kid” who didn’t have any gang connections. Buckner said Quinton had two brothers and two sisters.

There has been a tremendous amount of euphoria surrounding the recent presidential election.  Chicago shined election night as President-Elect Obama spoke about Ann Nixon Cooper, age 106, a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta.

Barack Obama spoke of the “heartache and hope” Cooper witnessed in the century-plus she’s been blessed to walk this earth:

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn’t vote for two reasons — because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she’s seen throughout her century in America — the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can’t, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

He continued the refrain, “Yes we can,” throughout the rest of his speech, almost reflectively at times.

The night of November 4, 2008, was pure magic in Chicago.  The crowd was united in hope.  The crowd cheered. The crowd behaved.  There were no tragic acts of violence.  Instead, there was hope.

“Yes we can.”

Perhaps Brian Murdock and Quinton Buckner heard those words as well.  Perhaps they smiled.  Perhaps they cheered.  Perhaps they even wept with joy, as did I.

Now, we weep for them, two more murders on Chicago’s South Side.

Brian Murdock and Quinton Buckner are dead.

And we are all less for their loss.