'She's everyone's daughter today'

One of the police sergeants on duty agreed.

"It starts in the home," he said.

Any illness is easier to diagnose than to cure. Part of the problem, I think, is Chicago's intractable segregation, a racial divide that is, more importantly, also an economic division.

Almost all the visitors at Hadiya Pendleton's visitation were black. Many white Chicagoans are saddened and aggrieved by her death, and yet few feel sufficiently connected to her neighborhood to do what the man from Alsip did, drive a ways to pay respects.

As long as Chicago's severe segregation brings such huge economic disparities, nothing will change.

It is Hadiya Pendleton's strange fate to be, for now, "everyone's daughter," the person who makes us ask these questions, ponder these problems.

But as her family keeps saying, her death is more than a public policy debate.

"This is not political," her cousin Shatira Wilks said Friday, standing outside the funeral home. "This is personal. It's not Republican or Democrat."

Strip away the theories, arguments, explanations, recriminations that surround Hadiya's death, and one sure fact remains:

There was a girl in a casket.