Shock Over Chicago Student Gun Deaths

Public school students in Chicago aren't as worried about making the grade as they are about making it home alive, CBS News correspondent Cynthia Bowers reports.
"You can't go nowhere without being shot," said Juston Gant. "It's crazy."

Since September, 24 students have been murdered, most of them shot.

The dead amount to a classroom of kids. Among them, 10-year-old Arthur Jones, who was on his way to buy candy when he got caught in gang crossfire. As did 15-year-old Miguel Pedro, who went out for ice cream and never came back.

Last school year 34 students were killed. That's 58 deaths over what amounts to a 17-month period. And that makes an average of one child getting murdered every eight days.

In a city where handguns are already banned, Stop The Violence rallies have had little impact and the mayor's calls for stricter gun laws have fallen on deaf ears.

"Why is America turning its back on its children when it comes to gun violence?" said Chicago Mayor Richard Daley. "It's that simple."

Ron and Annette Holt blame the apathy on the majority of people assuming this will never happen to their kids, because most of the victims are poor and black.

"Reporters always say 'gang-related.' I'm so sick of hearing that word, 'gang-related.' Say the perpetrator was gang-related, not the person shot," said Annette Holt, who lost her 16-year-old son. "The person shot was a good child."

Like their son Blair, the only child of a police officer and fire captain planning to go to college to study business and music.

His future was cut short last May when a teenage gunman looking for a rival gang member opened fire on a crowded city bus.

"Nothing's ever the same," Holt said.

"Part of you dies?" Bowers asked.

"Oh my God, a big part. It's like you die with your child," she said.

These days the only thing that keeps them going is their mission to let Americans know every child deserves to be safe.

Blair's father, Ron Holt, said: "This affects every culture, everyone - black, white - no matter where it happens. Gun violence is gun violence."

It's not just about guns, many say. It's more about poverty, lack of education and absentee parents who've lost control of their children.

"Your duties are to take care of your child, know what your child is doing and make sure he's heading in the right direction," said Willie Williams, who also lost a 17-year-old son.

Until then, these kids remain potential targets believing no amount of police protection can truly keep them safe.