I wish I had the magic answer to why so many young men pull the trigger in Chicago. I hear many people saying that Chicago is not the place it was years ago. So true, the sobering statistics on the shootings this year alone demonstrates that we have lost control of our communities and family units. I’ve read the research on brain development and how adolescents must master basic psychological and developmental tasks. I’m sure this is true, and this starts at home. Resources are needed in these communities. Not just talk from City Hall and Washington, D.C.
I can attest personally looking at members of my own family caught in a cycle of being raised in single parent homes, loosely supervised and poorly parented. This vicious cycle will continue without various levels of intervention and support. The question in my mind is what does this intervention and support look like?
New York and LA seem to be managing better in this area than Chicago. LAPD used the Racketeer Influenced & Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) to charge and convict gang leaders and other members with the crimes of their compatriots. It’s reported that quarter of homicide perpetrators—many of them gang members are never arrested in Chicago. In New York, many of the gang neighborhoods have become gentrified. Here in Chicago there are little investments made in sustaining our communities hardest hit by gang violence. Where are the After-school programs? Back in the day we called them Social Centers. Small churches are without funds to rehab and create youth initiatives.
The answer to this problem is multifaceted and complex. Chicago’s violent neighbors have remained isolated, while more money is being poured into the loop. Chicago’s most effective anti-gang program, Cease Fire is ineffective due to Chicago’s political scuffles. Crain’s Chicago Business put it this way “The Gun Becomes the Instrument for Protection, Communication, and Dispute Resolution----And Esteem Building.” More children are dying, more bodies are laid to rest. Don't be mad at Spike Lee, Chicago's nick name is now (CHI-RAQ) it is what it is.