Don't Expect Obama at Chicago Teen's Funeral

Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg explains why he says the Rev. Jesse Jackson is waiting in vain for the president to attend services for Hadiya Pendleton, the 15-year-old who was killed a week after performing in inaugural events.

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Flyer from a community meeting about Hadiya Pendleton's death (Scott Olson/Getty Images News)

Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg explains why he says the Rev. Jesse Jackson is waiting in vain for the president to attend services for Hadiya Pendleton, the 15-year-old who was killed a week after performing in inaugural events.

There are countless places President Barack Obama will not be this Saturday -- the moon, my living room, Mitt Romney's pool. So knowing one of them for near certain is not a very big deal.

That said, and as reluctant as I am to predict the future, I am confident that Obama will not be in Chicago on Feb. 9 for the funeral of Hadiya Pendleton, the 15-year-old honor student gunned down Tuesday in an apparently random shooting.

Why? First, because the Rev. Jesse Jackson publicly demanded that Obama do so. The president has fashioned a fairly thriving career for himself, and if I had to name just one reason how he did it, I'd point to his habit of doing the exact opposite of whatever Jesse Jackson would do in any given situation and saying the exact opposite of whatever Jesse Jackson would say. (Translation: no politics of racial resentment, no nimbus of vanity, no rhyming, rococo, five-dollar words).

And second, because the president being there is a bad idea. Symbolic gestures are not going to solve gun violence. You may have noticed that 20 children being slaughtered in Newtown, Conn. -- about as thunderous a piece of symbolism as can be imagined (and which did include a presidential visit) -- only got people talking about guns, but the conversation is still stuck on how much Americans really, really love their guns, and many would prefer the nation to devolve into a free-fire zone before they entertain the notion that 270 million guns may be too many.

Read Neil Steinberg's entire piece at the Chicago Sun-Times.

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