On Friday afternoon, 15-year-old Destini Warren felt like one of the luckiest girls in Chicago. She got to see President Obama in person, attending a speech he gave on fairness, equality, and the gun violence plaguing her hometown of Chicago. Hours later, her 18-year-old sister Janay McFarlane was, like so many Chicago teens, in the wrong place at the wrong time. The bullet wasn’t meant for her. But it took her life, nonetheless.
Now, Janay’s mother, Angela Blakely, is fighting back, taking special aim at the contention that the solution to the gun crisis is more guns.
“Guns, they don’t need be in the hands of everyone, because some people are careless with the guns,” she said on Tuesday’s PoliticsNation. “Some people use it in a senseless manner, they don’t know what they’re doing and people are not realizing the damage that guns can really do.”
Blakely, heartbroken, described Janay as a kind and warm young woman, “a beautiful person,” who was always “the life of the party.”
Janay had recently become a mom, giving birth to her son Jayden three months ago, but was determined to “be something big” while she raised him. She was on track to graduate from high school in June, telling her mother recently that she wanted to pursue a career in the culinary arts.
Janay always loved to make people smile, said her mom, noting that even when she would get mad at her from time to time, ”That was my buddy. That was my baby.”
Janay’s death was reminiscent of that of Hadiya Pendleton, another Chicago teenager with a bright future who was killed after performing for President Obama in Inauguration Day festivities. Janay knew Hadiya’s story, having discussed the shooting with her mother. Blakely never imagined her own daughter would die in such a similar way.
“I just cannot believe this. This is ridiculousness. My child was a very sweet child, and to go in such a senseless way,” she said. ”I understand life has to end, but why my child has to leave like this, I don’t understand it.”