Chicago Violence: What is the Real Solution?

I am not an Obama hater. I think that he has an opportunity to change the world and so far, he has fallen short. I know that part of that is that there was so much wrong in the world that he couldn't fix it all, but I think he has poor strategy, inexperienced advisors, and incomplete execution of his plans.

I say all that because I don't want you to think that I am posting this article for the sole purpose of bashing Obama. The article I read this morning regarding the violence in Chicago neighborhoods (see sidebar) sheds an interesting light on the dynamics of children, of neighborhoods, on gangs, on schools and on the ridiculousness of bureaucracy running our lives. I'm not Libertarian, but I definitely ascribe to some of their ideas.

Just like workers often feel like their boss is clueless to the day-to-day trials of a job, the city, state and federal governments have no idea what is best for a neighborhood. I realize that you would think that city governments know what is best, but they don't. They are clueless to the day-to-day happenings on the streets, in the school and in homes. The government bodies act as one unit - that unit does not know one single person that its choices impact.

I'm not implying that I think schools should be segregated by gangs to avoid violence. But I am pointing out that whomever made the choice to redistrict these schools obviously had no idea the impact it would have on the day-to-day life of the children involved.

And now that the brutal death of a child was recorded on a cell phone video camara for all the nation to see, Obama is sending the SAME guy who made the decision to redistrict, back to Chicago. The article doesn't say exactly why he is sending Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education, back to Chicago to meet with school officials and students...My guess, however, is that they will NOT be discussing the impact absentee parents have on gang activity, they will NOT be discussing the impact violence has on human life, and they also will probably NOT be discussing the idea of expelling all gang members from public schools.

 

Another interesting article, Chicago Violence Haunts Obama (see Sidebar), reveals that "47 school-age children have been killed in homicides, mostly by guns, since the month President Barack Obama took office."

But then in the other article, you see the Mayor saying, "We cannot allow gang territory to disrupt our city life. If you allow that then you're basically waving the white flag to everybody in this city and that would be unacceptable."

Both are valid points, but neither reaches across to the other to find an actual solution. The death of Derrion Albert seems to have sparked a whole new all-too-common case of opposing parties involved refusing to actually listen, refusing to work together to dig in to find the root of the problem, a government choosing to be reactive rather than proactive, and everybody pleading the case for their own agenda. You have gun-control advocates focusing on the guns, you have fiscal conservatives focusing on the contributions that Section 8 and welfare make to poverty, you have school officials touting the improvement in their test scores, you have Obama-haters focusing on Obama's inability to fix the problems while he was in Illinios, and athletes and city officials focusing on the lost opportunity of the 2016 Olympics.

I'm not so bold as to say I have a solution to Chicago's years of violence problems. But I am saying that if someone doesn't speak up soon to find a solution to the whole problem, children will continue to die.

Can the Federal Government help a city curb its violence?

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Comments 14 comments

Scott.Life 7 years ago

As you say Governments and many classes of people above a certain income bracket are out of touch with the real struggles of a majority of Americans. When it takes millions just to run for office these days it is rare that an average citizen could ever hope to reach office and represent the interests of his people.The government can not solve these issues for us nor do they want to, so we as a people and nation will have to do something ourselves to effect change. we have given too much power to the government which has no desire to use it wisely or for our good.


broussardleslie profile image

broussardleslie 7 years ago Author

Thank you for visiting my hub, Scott. I always appreciate your opinions regarding government issues.

I agree with you: "it is rare that an average citizen could ever hope to reach office." That is one source of the problem that I hadn't considered when writing my article.

I do agree that the people have to do something to effect change. Any ideas? Marching, protesting, writing letters, and running for office obviously do not work. Or is the problem that we are not united in our end results? If we are all protesting against different things, then maybe the message gets muttled and its potency gets lost?

Just some thoughts...

Thank you again for visiting my hub.


DonnyBoy profile image

DonnyBoy 7 years ago from Western New York

Good article!

I used to deliver to Chicago, and we all knew well the areas to avoid.

The answer to solving this is here...

http://hubpages.com/hub/residents-get-gun-rights-i...


broussardleslie profile image

broussardleslie 7 years ago Author

Thank you for the comment, DonnyBoy. I think you may be on to something ;) It certainly seems to have worked for Minnesota.


jiberish profile image

jiberish 7 years ago from florida

Leslie, this was a great hub, I'm glad I ran across it. There has been violence in schools for a long time in Chicago and elsewhere, this is not new, it just came to light recently. I remember a few years back they installed a metal detector in one of the high schools here in Florida, I was a little shocked, I was not aware of the severity since all my children are grown. The answer is not an easy one, there are several issues, however the funding designated today to combat the violence, I'm sure will not be allocated to the issues, but will go to pad the politician's pockets. Keep Hubbing, I became a fan.


T_Augustus profile image

T_Augustus 7 years ago from Detroit, MI

Excellent hub broussardleslie: I first want to say that I agree with both you and Scott about this quote; "Governments and many classes of people above a certain income bracket are out of touch with the real struggles of a majority of Americans."

This is especially true in big cities. Smaller suburban areas are oft times governed by peers that have more in common with the average citizen, where larger cities are governed by peers that have more in common with their neighboring suburbanites. The problem is a HUGE one that is virtually impossible to stop, but serious enough to never stop fighting. I think it starts at home. Single parent homes are at a high risk of having unattended children, which in turn increases the risk of them falling prey to gang affiliation. Then there are simply some irresponsible parent homes, which can sometimes encourage criminal activity (knowingly or unknowingly). When you pile these factors up in a pot and put children together, bravado does the rest.

We have had a similar issue here in Detroit Public Schools. School closings and district reorganizing have resulted in a lot more violence than our local media publicizes. For some reason we think it's okay to ignore the violence if no one dies or fires any weapons. I moved to the suburbs to get my daughter out of the high school that I graduated from. When I was there, it was just fine...but time has altered it for the worse. Out of fear for her safety and just overall comfort (because I believe children need a comfortable learning environment without threat of a violent outbreak), my wife and I moved our family to a home in a better school district. The difference is incredible!

The biggest difference I've noticed is the parental involvement in the school and it's activities. Even the neighborhood athletic leagues have extraordinarily more parent participation than the inner-city leagues. The school, in turn, also communicates with the parents more. They make the staff and student information far more accessible to parents. If my child misses a class, I get a phone call - I didn't get that in Detroit. But back in "The D", I know children who's parents might stay up all night getting high, and because they don't want to get up in the morning - the child can sleep in and not go to school that day.

This issue is far to localized for the federal government to fix, and far to complicated to fix overnight, but it IS a local issue. In larger cities, I think local government need to put more effort and funds into organizing neighborhood watches (so to speak), to created sub-governing bodies that represent concerned residents of neighborhoods. People that can see and hear the streets their children walk on, because those are the people that KNOW where the problem spots and who the major trouble makers are.

Great thought-provoking hub broussardleslie or Leslie Broussard. :D Keep'em coming!


broussardleslie profile image

broussardleslie 7 years ago Author

Jib:

Thank you for the comment. I appreciate you reading my work (and becoming a fan).

I agree that funding is an issue. I think, however, that taxpayers would be willing to invest more if only the proposed solution truly fixed the problem.

Thank you again for stopping by.


broussardleslie profile image

broussardleslie 7 years ago Author

T_Augustus:

Thank you for adding your personal experience to my hub.

It's unfortunate you had to uproot your family, but at the same time, it is great that you were willing to do that for your daughter's education.

I agree that parental involvement makes a huge difference. My son just started kindergarten this year, so I am just getting aquainted with the system. It is unfortunate to see that the majority of parents do not participate or volunteer. I might be naive, but I never expected that. My parents were overly involved in my education, and so am I in my stepson's. It has provided so much joy these past two months to spend time at his school helping with activities, planning events, and just being supportive to the teachers and staff that do so much for the children.

You suggested neighborhood watches (or something similiar). I think that is a great idea, but I do not know how these violent areas would convince the already-not-involved parents to become involved? But maybe when the issue is life or death, they will choose to be involved?

Thank you again for visiting my hub. I appreciate your insight.

Leslie


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

Excellent article! I am sure the Left will blame "society" and Capitalism for the actions of these murderers. The problem is a problem of the heart. Or in this case—the heartless.


broussardleslie profile image

broussardleslie 7 years ago Author

I agree, James, whenever "heart" leaves the individual, the school, the community, the city, etc, the victims double.


resspenser profile image

resspenser 7 years ago from South Carolina

I live in a small town in the South. (Yeah I capitalized it!) Less than 10k people and we have gangs here now! When I was a cop on the street we had thugs but no gangs. This gang thing even scares some of the cops, I think.

In a small town, it would seem that aggressive enforcement is the key. In a large one a "surge" might be the answer. Pick an area and stop the gangs there for some period of time and then move to the next area. Block by block or street by street.

I like your hub by the way and that is a nice bike!


broussardleslie profile image

broussardleslie 7 years ago Author

Thanks, resspenser, for visiting my hub.

Your comment reminds me of Sons of Anarchy - do you watch it? The Sons of Anarchy MC runs Charming, a town of about 14,000. Compelling show.

I'm intrigued by your idea of a "surge;" I wonder if it would work? It sounsd plausible. I will need to research before I suggest it to the President ;)

Thank you again for stopping by.


resspenser profile image

resspenser 7 years ago from South Carolina

No I have not watched that show, but probably will try to catch a couple of them since you like it.

We have "crime suppression teams" here which means the patrol captain and 3/4 gung- ho types working late at night trying to make a difference. Drug raids, search warrants, DUI saturations, etc.

It has been working....... but sooner or later someone is going to get hurt.

It would be a far tougher problem in a big city I am sure. Tell O to call me after you suggest it, I'll have plenty of time to get the beer! LOL


broussardleslie profile image

broussardleslie 7 years ago Author

LOL. Be sure to bring American beer ;)

Sons of Anarchy is on FX Tuesday nights.

I agree with your stance that "sooner or later someone is going to get hurt." That seems really dangerous. But, I suppose, that's their job...I don't know. It just seems like a reactive way to deal with the problem. I wish there were more proactive solutions in the works.

Thanks for stopping by again!

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