Hometown IRAQ

War Continues On the Homefront

On the weekend just before Monday April 21 2008, 37 people were shot in the city of Chicago. The Chicago Sun-Times front page was purposely printed backwards to get the attention of the readers so the violence could be brought to the forefront.

However, the next weekend only 9 were shot and it was declared a success. A significant drop in violence is an improvement especially for the newspapers campaign however it is not a time to stop fighting for freedom from inner city violence the next week after key strides were made. Violence is a serious and disturbing way of life, often read about in war zones. People live on edge and are in constant upheaval. Yet, more of us are choosing to live this way. What once was only a byproduct of a low- income environment is rapidly becoming a reality for suburban life in the Chicagoland area.

Why is it that Americans can get upset about what is happening in Iraq and take steps to end that strife but do very little to curb the wars at home. This attitude could stem from the idea that the problem of street violence is deeper than what lies on the surface and it is just too taxing to take on such an overwhelming cause. Well that's correct, it is. Getting "green" is too, it has been for years even decades but that hasn't stopped people from trying to get the message out there.

Our earth and children are depending on us not just to give them a cleaner place to live but a safer one too. Remember the time of “Leave it to Beaver”, riding bikes and walking down the street to visit a childhood friend. It is being replaced by street gang shoot outs, children who can't play outside and playing inside becoming a challenge when gunfire pierces the walls of their home.

Children need to survive in the streets they play on and to enjoy the green earth we are trying to preserve. Attacking the problem aggressively doesn’t necessarily mean in funds but in an education of caring and respect. Most of the shootings in Chicago were gang related and gangs thrive because they promote a family like atmosphere. If we work to dismember the gang families by promoting the natural families that the gang members come from, their sense of loyalty will shift from gangs to normal family members.

We can also create new families for children and people who have never known or will probably never know their biological families. In essence create a new type of gang, a community that demands loyalty no matter what but will include a fresh hope and respect for themselves and others.

Let’s not be naive. It’s well known that this war has feverishly gone on since the late sixties and seventies. But consider this, it has not gone on forever, all it takes to end this war is momentum, a fever pitch that doesn't stop just when things look good for us and ours. Remembering we get old too helps as well as keeping in mind that when we get old the children that were not touched by street violence will be few.

Your friendly universal

Riley

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