Recently Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy was asked by Bill Curtis and Walter Jacobson CBS 2 News Chicago "Why do we have such a gang problem here?" The Superintendent responded "I DON'T KNOW WHY IT IS..."
As someone who was once affiliated with gang culture I think the Superintendent is right relative to his perception of the deep roots family members and (some, not all) Chicago residents have with gang life; however, as an international broker of peace I think the gang problem is a bit more systemic than whats seen on the surface.
Gang culture is a religion, its a lifestyle, its the law that supersedes ALL laws of the secular world, thus if a little girl is shot in crossfire the laws of the gang are NO SNITCHING. Gang violence in Chicago must be viewed the same way sectarian violence in the Middle East is viewed. And just how does the United States deal with foreign conflict? Isn't it by sending Diplomats and Ambassadors to different regions for the sole purposes of dismantling radical terrorists groups? Doubt it not!
If gang bangers in Chicago can be labeled Urban Terrorists by Governor Pat Quinn and Alderman Robert Fioretti then why can't they seem to figure out how to control urban terrorism outside of conventional theories of lock em' all up and throw away the keys? In 2009 taxpayers spent more then 1 billion dollars on State prisons in Illinois with an average cost of $25,000 per inmate. So as you can see prison is big business.
Although Illinoisans spent over 1 billion dollars in 2009 to house and feed prisoners it hasn't positively affected recidivism rates and/or public safety! I'm sure violence in Chicago is a stain on the fabric of our beautiful City...all around the world people are talking about the violence in Chicago and in specific the violence in Black (African American) and Brown (Hispanic) neighborhoods and communities. Many blame violence in Chicago for losing its bid to host the 2016 Olympic Games.
Austin, Garfield Park, Lawndale, Roseland, Auburn-Gresham, Englewood, Grand Crossing, Little Village, Humboldt Park, Back Of the Yards, Logan Square, etc., all resemble 3rd World countries in certain pockets. I remember seeing Rahm Emanuel heartbroken on the campaign trial as he toured Chicago and seen 1st hand hopelessness in the eyes of children on their way to school. His eyes were blood shot red and it was easy to see he was holding back the tears.
I must admit, plenty money and funds run through Chicago's ghettos. Various organizations receive huge checks and grants to combat violence and provide safe haven programs for children, but most of those programs misuse the funds by either hiring too many family members and/or by neglecting the one's the money was sent to help.
In the Black community and especially in Chicago we have Alderman, State Representatives, State Senators, and Cook County Commissioners that are Black but aren't for Blacks in poverty. These wo/men are members of various Black elite fraternities and sororities of which they see no need to help the 90% of poor Blacks they claim to represent. They see their fellow Blacks that aren't educated and most of all initiated as profane, stupid, ignorant, country, porch monkeys, collateral damage, a means to an end to trick the Government in line itemising more money for at-risk youth programs even though at-risk youth will never receive a got damn thing!
Organizations like the Chicago Park District, especially the South Side and West Side parks that have beautiful swimming pools, life guards, but no swimming teams to compete in swimming competitions. Beautiful tennis courts but no tennis instructors to teach children how to play like Venus and Serena Williams. Beautiful golf courses but no instructors to teach children how to play golf like Tiger Woods. I must admit, the Chicago Park District does allow Hook-A-Kid On Golf (of which I taught for 3 years) to operate their golf courses, however, the program is only ONE WEEK LONG! What we have in these parks are lazy workers who would rather kick kids out the parks instead of help, instruct, and teach them something other then dribbling a got damn basketball!
So if children are being kicked out of parks, momma don't have the funds needed to pay Boys and Girls Clubs fees, YMCA's closing down (Austin YMCA) then what do we expect them to do besides hangout on corners, look, watch and be influenced by drug dealers. Once a kid becomes a drug dealer its mandatory s/he becomes gang affiliated. No one sells drugs on the streets of Chi-town and not have gang protection/affiliation.
Most of the guys that aren't in prison and who are street level commander-in-chiefs of senseless violence are uneducated dropouts who didn't finish high school. They don't have the reasoning skills of literate adults. Some of them are even crack babies that have grown into 17 - 23 year old young men and their propensity for violence is predicated on the cocaine in their veins. Someone said they need JESUS...yes maybe so, but they need mental help as well.
When a mentally ill person becomes leader of a gang his faction will always be at war. Hell, the guy is crazy...like literally! He's no hood hero, but rather a psycho who's ego is feed by fear. Holding blocks and miles of communities in absolute fear. He suffers from PTSD so does the community he terrorizes. Some have suggested sending in the National Guard. I think we should try more hardcore diplomacy then simply locking people up.
In the Black community some blame the FBI (under J Edgar Hoover) and the CIA (under former President Ronald Reagan) for sponsoring contraband i.e. Ready Rock/Rock Cocaine and its infiltration into Black and Brown communities. Nevertheless, just because someone gives you a gun doesn't mean you have to take it and shoot yourself in the head!
Its time too try everything possible. We need community activists, pastors, educators, scholars in foreign conflict and those who have experienced Chicago violence to develop a strategy for reducing violent acts and senseless violence in Chicago. Will the Government allow Larry Hoover, Jeff Fort, Gustavo Colon and Willie Johnson to make a YouTube video to the masses about STOPPING THE VIOLENCE?
Can the Chicago Council on Global Affairs utilize global conflict strategies to remedy some of the gang/sectarian violence in Chicago, would they be willing to tackle such an issue? Many cite CeaseFire Illinois as a conduit of gang violence prevention; however, some view CeaseFire Illinois as an organization that harbors urban terrorists. They also claim CeaseFire Illinois isn't proactive but rather reactive. They say CeaseFire has ex gang leaders but lacks an educational apparatus to combine with the experience of ex gang leaders as it relates to creating, developing, and implementing a "Blueprint for Peace" in Chicago.
Its my personal view The Chicago Council on Global Affairs would be a good group to look at for answers. Would there be a little devil advocating? Doubt it not! This is Secretary of State type diplomacy. Deals will be made and deals will be broken.