"GUN" violence or gang violence


May 18, 2007, 09:48 AM

I am sorry for those who have to live in these places, but the title of the article caught my attention. Welcome to the 21st century, where we deal with symptoms not causes. Good men are retreating into holdout states and gangstas, already center stage for kids, move into the cities to bring the real high life to urban youth. Is there even a way back?


Philadelphia: Teen 'afraid every day' as gun violence soars
POSTED: 4:50 p.m. EDT, May 17, 2007
Story Highlights• Officials: Angry youth, plentiful guns behind murder spike in City of Brotherly Love
• Philadelphia's increase in homicides more than twice the national rate
• Feds vow $50 million to fight urban violence in cities across nation
• Police chief says guns, post-9/11 shift in priorities contributed to spike
By Kevin Bohn
CNN Washington Bureau

Adjust font size:
PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (CNN) -- Isaac Diaz walks through the toughest parts of North Philadelphia each day on his way to and from high school. But what really scares the 18-year-old senior is lying in his own bed at night.

He can hear the gunshots then.

"Last year it wasn't so often. Now it's as often as every night," Diaz recently told CNN. "It might be your best friend dying, and you don't even know about it."

Out on the street, Diaz said, a casual stroll can suddenly turn deadly. (Watch Diaz explain how he lives with daily gunfire )

"You don't know what's going to happen," he said. "You don't know if you're walking in the neighborhood and a guy from middle school sees you and he just had a bad incident with his mother and father and he's walking around with a gun."

"I'm afraid every day."

Philadelphia is just one of the nation's cities trying to deal with a murder spike. As of Wednesday, 150 people have been slain in the city, compared to 140 by this time last year.
The numbers put Philadelphia on a pace well ahead of a bloody 2006, when 406 people were slain by others in the so-called City of Brotherly Love. It was the first time homicides topped the 400 mark since 1990. (Watch a mother grieve over a son shot for his car )

Nationally, violent crime is spiking, too.

FBI data from December, the most recent statistics available, show murders and robberies rose by 3.7 percent nationwide during the first six months of 2006.

Those findings came on top of a 2.2 percent crime hike in 2005 -- the first increase since 2001.

Guns plentiful
The spike prompted Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to order a study of violence in 18 cities. The results were released earlier this week, when Gonzales announced that the Justice Department would spend $50 million to combat urban violence.

The Justice Department concluded that the increased violence is caused by a younger and more violent generation of criminals who have easy access to guns. Many are loosely organized into street gangs and crews.

In Philadelphia, police and civic activists point to several factors, including poverty and drugs. But by far the biggest catalyst, they say, is the availability of guns.

Young men who grow up angry with few opportunities use guns to win status on the streets, said Greg Bucceroni, of Men United for a Better Philadelphia, which mentors at-risk teens, counsels crime victims and sponsors community events to try to reduce violence. (Watch Bucceroni talk about how why the violence is getting worse )

"They feel that's how they get respect, so the level of violence escalates," he said.

Bucceroni works for the city but also spends much of his time volunteering to help guide kids who have gotten into trouble. An activist since the early 1980s, he has seen the changes.

"In the 70s, I mean, if somebody came up and they had a zip gun -- which was a homemade gun -- that was big time," he said. "Now if, if you don't have an AK-47 or a sawed-off shotgun or a 9 mm, even if you pull out a .38, they laugh at you because, 'Is that all you've got?' That is their mentality when now people are carrying automatic handguns."

The city is trying several initiatives to help reduce the murder rate, including hiring police and truant officers, and redeploying police officers to problem areas.

'Hometown security'
Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson told CNN the police can't stop the violence by themselves.

"The clergy has to get involved," he said. "The business people have to get involved. The politicians have to get involved. The community has to get involved. If you are only going to depend on law enforcement it is not going to change the quality of life."

As he speaks, his passion grows.

"A 9-year-old boy is killed on the streets of Philadelphia, no one comes forward. Where a 4-year-old girl is shot no one comes forward. Where a house is firebombed, six people killed -- four under the age of 5 years -- no one comes forward. The community has to come to realize by not coming forward they are only hurting themselves," Johnson said.

Besides spending $50 million this year to take guns and drugs off the streets, the Justice Department will push Congress to enact laws to let the federal government better investigate and prosecute violent crime, Gonzales said.

Johnson welcomes the help, but said cities suffered when federal priorities shifted after 9/11.

"Funds coming into the city have been cut -- not just for policing but for education, for jobs, for health care, for all kinds of things," he said. "All of the money is going overseas -- again homeland security is very important, but hometown security is just as important."

CNN's Kelli Arena contributed to this report.

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Kali Endgame
May 18, 2007, 10:04 AM
My thoughts:
1. Why is it the Feds fault that violence is up? It should be the responsibility of the local government and the State, not the .gov.
2. 406 people murdered in 2006?!?!?!?! And it is a problem now? And I thought Oakland had a high murder rate, but it's only about 25% of Pilly.

no one comes forward. The community has to come to realize by not coming forward they are only hurting themselves," Johnson said.

If the locals don't care enough to step up to the plate, why should I care? So, I am left with the notion that the locals care not about eachother, but want a free lunch.

Blahblahblah... I could rant for a while longer, but I have to go to work and pay my taxes.

Smokey Joe
May 18, 2007, 10:08 AM
Yep, well, it's just one more dot in a long string. The writer implies the point that if these young thugs growing up with little or no moral compass had no guns they'd somehow be less angry.

"Angry" being short for violent, careless of life, wanting quick easy material success with little or no effort, and most importantly, not understanding the flaws in their own logic.

Robert A Heinlein had the answer. Read Starship Troopers--THE BOOK, not the movie. (Heck of a good read, BTW, even besides RAH's moral-society message.)

Short of Heinlein's solution, I doubt that our society today has the cojones to actually solve the problem.

May 18, 2007, 10:19 AM
We had another gang related shooting in the news last week. The usual suspects like the school superintendent Arne Duncan, showed up demanding more gun control, in the already gun free utopia that is Chicago. That brought the number of "student" deaths up to 27 so far. I put students in quotes becasue most fo the dead had either dropped out or been expelled from school for gang activity.

The local community ministers showed up to ride the bus with the students for one day and one photo opportunity. Then Daley went down state, in part to push his failing gun legislatiuon again.

The usual crowd showed up for a take back our neighborhood march, on camera of course. Here's a letter I wrote to the Tribune, in response to the usual "we have to save the children" column.

Nobody wants to point out the real root cause of the violence, it's always easier to blame the gun, the school, anything but the real source of the problems they have.

I expect responses to label me as a racist any time now.


Any death, student or adult, is a tragedy to someone.

Arne Duncan, calling for gun control, in a city that has already banned all guns for more than 25 years, except for the priveleged few, is out of touch at best or avoiding the obvious at worst.

Is anyone else going to ask the painful questions about these deaths.

1. How many of these 27 deaths were gang related, as a shooter, target or innocent bystander caught in their poorly aimed crossfire?

2. How cooperative in identifying every gang member in a Chicago school by name and address has the community been?

3. When the most recent shooter was expelled from the school earlier in the week, what action did his mother take?

4. Where was/is the father of this wanna be gangster, now killer?

5. Where were all the community ministers that rode the bus one day for the photo opportunity when the shooter was brought to the police station on 111th the first or fifth time?

Ms. Marta (columnist) is right, adults have to be the solution, but it's not going to be found in passing more "feel good" gun laws that will be ignored by the gang members. Or having another "Take back our neighborhood" video camera inspired march led by ministers who then refuse to tell the police who and where the gang members are in the neighborhood. They all know every single one of them but because it's their cousin, nephew or son they keep their mouths shut and more children die.

Not to be cruel, but until, as a community, you are willing to stand up, see the evil for what it is and name names and demand a change, you will continue to get the same, criminal behavior and more senseless deaths.

May 18, 2007, 10:48 AM
I one time pinched my hand very badly with a pair of pliers. Being an upright citizen and of sound mind, I promptly removed every pair of pliers I could find in my tool box and threw them away. I then went to all of my neighbors and tried to get them to throw away their pliers. For some odd reason, my neighbors wouldn't take my advice. I guess I'll have to get to my local politicians and get a law passed.


May 18, 2007, 10:48 AM
I don't see what is racist about your letter DonP. I think it was a perfect letter to send and it outlined many of the problems that we have in urban centers. The scary part is that "urban" ganster pop culture is being exported all over the country and the world.

We are a democracy. You have no right to demand anything from the government if you and the people of your community are supporting that very thing by your ACTIONS.

May 18, 2007, 01:58 PM
SamTucker...you made some good points. I hope you sent them to CNN so they can correct their error.
When I sent my e-mail to them, I used the term "People Violence"...but gang violence is a better term.

May 18, 2007, 02:06 PM
DonP...good letter. It is well thought out and articulate. Let us know if it is published.

May 18, 2007, 02:36 PM
These "kids" are the offspring of the thugs responsible for the violent crime of the late '80s and '90s.

The mayor of Philly isn't willing to point the finger at the real culprits: Men who father children and don't take responsibility for them, a community that has decided that greater society has a responsibility to feed, clothe, and house them, and a community that refuses to sanction its members for breaking the law. Of course, that would mean telling the citizens of Philly an ugly truth about themselves: If you don't like the way your bed is made, you need to get up and remake it. :rolleyes:

May 18, 2007, 02:40 PM

Sanction means to give permission. Perhaps you meant denounce?

May 18, 2007, 03:03 PM
Umm yes. But then again I meant "sanction" as in "We are sanctioning that awful country 'cause they do stuff we don't like."

May 18, 2007, 03:23 PM
Ah good point.
After looking it up your use is more correct than mine anyway. My apologies.

Main Entry: 1sanc·tion
Pronunciation: \ˈsaŋ(k)-shən\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin sanction-, sanctio, from sancire to make holy — more at sacred
Date: 15th century
1: a formal decree; especially : an ecclesiastical decree
2 aobsolete : a solemn agreement : oath b: something that makes an oath binding
3: the detriment, loss of reward, or coercive intervention annexed to a violation of a law as a means of enforcing the law
4 a: a consideration, principle, or influence (as of conscience) that impels to moral action or determines moral judgment b: a mechanism of social control for enforcing a society's standards c: explicit or official approval, permission, or ratification : approbation
5: an economic or military coercive measure adopted usually by several nations in concert for forcing a nation violating international law to desist or yield to adjudication

May 18, 2007, 05:21 PM
During the ‘50s, gang members had to make do with knives, pipes, chains, or homemade zip guns. Now they can afford better cars and guns than us poor working folks. What happened? The War on Drugs made them richer than Capone.

I guess nobody learned anything from our experiment with Prohibition.

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