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August 17th, 2009
02:05 PM ET

"Your Uncle Charles is Dead."

From CNN Senior Producer Annika Young:

Ten. That's how many stab wounds my uncle had in his chest. He was killed January 18, 2008. He died being the kind of man we knew him to be, a hero. His three sisters and five nieces were heartbroken but not surprised to learn he died trying to stop a man from beating his girlfriend. That was Charles.

I'll always remember where I was and what I was doing when I heard my grandmother's voice on the other end of the phone.

"Your Uncle Charles is dead."

I had the impossible task of breaking the news to my mother and sister. Nothing in the human experience prepares you for the trauma of losing a loved one suddenly and violently. It's a pain that paralyzes the body in such a unique way. It's hard to breathe.

The confusion of what you're hearing and what you're feeling are competing for control. It's physically unbearable.

We live with the uncertainty of life every day, but most of us expect to kiss, hug and talk to our loved ones just one more day than the one before. Never mind the fact that tomorrow isn't guaranteed. It's just how we think.

Ronald and Annette Nance-Holt, Kermit DeLashment Sr. and Michele DeLashment, Tommie and Pamela Bosley, and Maria Ramirez will never get to see their sons get married, have children, raise families, or accomplish the impossible because the unthinkable happened. Their sons were murdered.

None of them were the intended targets of an assassin's bullet. They were caught in the crossfire.

Don Lemon and I recently went to Chicago to report on this heartbreaking story. I met the parents of teenagers killed by gun violence. I sat in a corner, quietly listening with my notebook in lap, like always. Five minutes into "roll tape" I realized I didn't need a notebook. I remember ever story, ever tear, every emotion.

I watched mothers and fathers relive the phone call, the "little room" where chaplains are posted and doctors are delivering news no parent ever wants to hear. "I'm sorry. Your son has passed away."

Before my emotions could recover from what I'd experienced listening to grieving parents, we got word a 15-year-old girl was shot in a drive-by. Our cameras were barely powered down from an interview with a Chicago city official, a man charged with coming up with solutions to an out-of-control problem.

"Where in the hell am I?" I asked myself. Really, what hell on Earth can I file this under? When did a major U.S. city turn into a war zone? Why are children being cut down in rapid succession? Why is this the norm? Where are the guns coming from? Why have more than 260 people been shot dead this year alone in Chicago? Who dropped the ball? Why is life so meaningless to the very generation we hoped would help us preserve it?

I'm not naïve. I know shootings happen Everywhere, USA. But I'll start in Chicago, where no place is sacred, where people can be gunned down outside a church. We'll start where local basketball star, Kermit DeLashment Jr., made front-page news. Not for his jump shot, but for being the city of Chicago's 500th murder in 2008. We have to start there.

Too many cowards shoot and run, some never face justice, all of them need rehabilitating. I believe firmly that if you can change a mind, you can change the man. My hope is that by exposing the dark reality in Chicago and cities like it, we can shine a light on the underbelly of society, forcing them out of hiding.

I hope to implore parents to parent, for community leaders to lead, for brothers to be keepers. It's a lot of work but I think we can do it…one story at a time.

Editor Note: iReport Assignment
What's behind the gangs, shootings and murders in Chicago? As violence continues to spiral out of control, we want to hear your stories.

Have you been a victim of crime in Chicago? Do you have a solution?

Share your stories, pictures and video and they could be featured on a CNN Special Report. Don Lemon takes us to the heart of the problem - "Chicago's Deadly Streets" on Saturday, August 22, at 10 p.m.


Filed under: Chicago's Deadly Streets • Don Lemon
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. michael armstrong sr.

    When I was in the Navy on board the the crueser USS Texas we had this Spanish guy from Chicago named Sergio Perez and would threaten to kill fellow shipmates including me just for something to do although I dont ever remember him killing any body it left a bad impression on me about people from Chicago maybe the government needs to build a fence around that city and turn it into a prison camp .

    August 17, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  2. Mac

    Call ICE to enforce deportation on the Illegal Aliens especially all the members of MS13 and other illegal alien gangs in Chicago, treat juvenile repeat offenders as adults and stop all the plea bargains. Time to get tough on gangs. Project Safe Neighborhood isn't doing the job.

    August 17, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  3. Betty Phillips

    Have spent most of my life in Chicago Area, have seen some troubling things happen there, BUT, believe me when I say it is a much changed city, this is because Obama has turned his radical friends on the loose, he is a wolf in disguise!!!! My heart breaks for the parents who have lost a loved one due to the violence, but, again let me say you must put the guilt on the guilty party which is Obama!! He still has not paid for the Big Celebration when he was elected (that alone is the worse mistake made in American History.)I I guess you are saying "Boy she does not like Obama"!!! No, I am smart enough to know he is slowly destroying our country along with his help from his radical friends and Oh yes!!! lets not forget Acorn!!! It still amazes me how so many dead people were raised from the dead just long enough to cast their votes!!!! WOW!! Obama and ACORN sure did work a few miracles, I bet the Good Lord is still scratching his head over that one! We need to pray for our Country and most of all we need to get Obama out of the office. Now he is sending emails to selected ones in regards to Obama care, he must never, never be trusted. Pray for us. Betty Phillips

    August 17, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  4. Simone

    @ Betty Phillips
    Oh please, Chicago Area has always been a place of violence and grief. Its not all bad, but how can you put something that has been going on for years on one man. What are YOU doing to better the community? Besides writing crazy rants on CNN? There are a lot of troubled places out here, but it is not the result of one person. Bush neglected new orleans? And FEMA? what do you say about that? Let me guess, he did the best he could.
    What has been going on in Chicago for a long time can not be blamed on Obam, only by ignorant people. Maybe it was YOU that caused all this.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  5. Mrs. B Brown

    Dear Betty Phillips,

    I feel so sorry for people like you. Althought I do not live in Chicago I visited the city many times and loved it. You said "place blame where it should go" how do Blame the President of USA for stupidity in Chicago... Why don't you try taking a look in the mirrror...What have you done lately to change the crime rate in Chicago?

    Let's forget Acorn? Do you actually think the people of this country for about FLORIDA? Come on now.

    I live in Los Angeles and lost my youngest Brother the street volience but I can't blame the goverment or his family. I can only blame the person who pulled the trigger...

    August 17, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  6. Judy

    Chill out Betty

    August 17, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  7. Bette Clark

    I want to thank you for doing this story though I felt it was too short. I myself lost a son who was 15 y/o shot execution style in the City of Phila. We are rapidly losing our children to violence everywhere, some cities have been hit the hardest, I know Phila. is right up there with Chicago. What I wanted to stress the most is the pain that us moms & dads live with every single day of our lives, for the rest of our lives. To lose a child is devestating, to lose a child to murder, well it's like we die each day re-living the nightmare of that night and each day missing our children and never seeing them or hugging them or hearing their laughter and seeing their faces and being able to say I love you just one more time. We need more stories like this so people can see what affect this violence does to a family, and not just the family but our childrens friends, our neighbors, the community we live in. We all suffer the pain in the end, every single one of us. Losing my son to murder is like having a piece of my heart ripped out of me and never understanding WHY! How could this happen??? More stories on the suffering of long days after the murders need to be told, peoples lives move on, but we don't. We are stuck in a time warp that never ends, we are stuck in the face of murder every day of our lives. I send many prayers to all parents who lost their children, as one mom to another (and to the dads too) may you all find some comfort in your sweet memories of your children. God Bless.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  8. Raymond Glenn

    I work with a non-profit organization which tries to help people find medical help if they don’t have any insurance. I talked to one person who has cancer and has been waiting for Medicaid for over one year. Many others are unemployed, force to sell their homes because of a catastrophic illness, or just can't afford health insurance if they have a big family. All the loud mouth people on TV do not represent the vast majority of people in this country. The majority of people are working American who does not have the luxury of running all over the country with protest signs and yelling about to much government control, or making outlandish claims which every rational minded person know is not true. They are to busy working two or three jobs just to pay for health care for their families. The only way we can bring down the cost of health care is by making sure that every American is covered. The solution must be a public option. Co-operatives probably want hold down the cost because many large firms own the insurance companies and the hospitals. Since they have no competition, they can set the price for hospital visits and insurance cost. Co-operative can only hold down the cost by creating large pools, but the cost will continue to rise due to no competition. The largest firms will merge with the smaller firms in order to gain a larger share of the market so that they can keep charging high rates for hospital visits and insurance. Please take the time to get the full story and starts interviewing people who have no insurance or those of us who are on the front lines of this issue.

    August 17, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  9. junior

    Maybe if the death penalty were actually used in the states that have it. And then if prison were actually a deterrent instead of a family reunion, people wouldn't be in such a hurry to get there. And then of course there is the old addage of fight fire with fire. Thugs want to carry guns, then it's shoot first, ask questions second.

    August 17, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  10. Dee Bonner

    @Betty Phillips
    I totally agree with Simone. Betty you should really think before posting. Because right now YOU sound like a stark raving mad IDIOT!!!!. This is a community issue not an Obama issue save your mad ravings for another topic. I could blame my brother's death on Bush, God knows he is the real reason this country is in the shape it's in now. So enough of the finger pointing. Like Simone said what are YOU doing to better this crime issue in Chicago. How many community rallies have YOU attended, how many solution have YOU offered to this ongoing problem. If the answer is none, then take my advise to you is SHUT THE H*** UP!!!!

    August 17, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  11. Tonytony32

    Betty Phillips it is people like you that really show your ignorance everytime you post a comment. I bet you did not have one complaint about that idiot George Bush and his stealing one election and also systematically ruining this countries economy. Your ignorant rants remind me of another clueless ditsy woman who is probably your hero Sarah Palin. Maybe she can pick you as a running mate on the DUMB and DUMBER ticket.

    August 17, 2009 at 6:57 pm |
  12. Robert Dean

    I feel very sorry for the people of Chicago who are all affected by all this gun violence, especially the young people. I don't understand why so many of them join gangs and end up gunning somebody down or getting gunned down themselves. I feel as though that the violence is the way that they all release their anger from something the they are going through. I feel even more sorry for the innocent people who have been killed. I sincerely pray for these people every night.

    August 17, 2009 at 7:55 pm |
  13. Heidi

    Wow it sure is funny how everything is always Obama's fault. Go YOU.

    August 17, 2009 at 8:33 pm |
  14. Roberta

    Oh Betty please take a chill pill. Chicago is a big city and this kind of thing has been going on for many, many years. No one person is responsible. I have two different acquaintances who grew up in Chicago, one blames his abuse of women on the fact that his friend got shot while standing next to him, the other says that's bull because his little brother got killed while they were playing outside together and he doesn't abuse anyone. Both of these men are older than President Obama and were in Chicago long, long before Obama every moved there.

    August 17, 2009 at 8:50 pm |
  15. steve neb

    Well the last time i left a comment I guess it was to radical or I affended some one. I'll try again. I see Chicago as a failure of gun control. I live in the midwest and we belive in the right to own and bear arms. I don't believe that type of thing would be happen here because many people carry & concell.lawfully. Most times in Chicago only the bad guys have guns not so out side the urben center. If the ATF FEB ECT. really did there job more elligle guns would be off the street.
    those who legally care guns are doing there duty as American's.
    Those who do it ellegally should in Prison.

    August 17, 2009 at 9:10 pm |
  16. Shelley

    Obama was elected into office because he was part African American...thats the bottom line...it wouldnt have mattered what black man it was ...Obama ...or Michael Jordan...no one took the time to notice what an awful human being he is all they cared about was the fact that he was black...No one cared about his radical views and the hate he stands for ...I am not a racist before everyone starts attacking me ...but I do see that he does not live by the christian values that we were founded on...Im not blaming him for everything that happens or has happened since he took office...I am saying it was a black and white race not a race about who was the better leader of our country...so Ill end my RANT by saying that Obama is NOT my president because I didnt vote him...Like me or hate me thats how it is...I will pray for me and our country

    August 17, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  17. ac cornwall

    hi,
    Since 911 came to this counrty, we have been divided as fellow americans. What we need is is our country BACK.DEMOCRACY...
    We need to of our gifts(CHILREN).we need to keep them safe and nurture them..Show them positive relationships among adults instead of slamming each other .We need to show respect by actions and words even thou we do not accept what others says..We need to stop negative actions .
    Thanks for listening

    August 17, 2009 at 11:05 pm |
  18. matt goldman

    I know this article specifically addresses violence in Chicago, but I submit that there is an increase to deadly violence just about everywhere in this country. Indeed, blame for the violence can't be attributed to President Obama or any one person. Rather, my humble view is that the younger generation (under-30 yr old at present, for example) doesn't know how to process disagreements. Specifically, confrontations that could be settled by a minor fight or similar, instead result in immediately resorting to deadly force. Possibly because of the easy access to guns. Possibly to hours of video games in which the trigger pulling "solves" some on-screen dispute or situation yet nobody really suffers. I know that sounds simplistic; certainly not all avid video gamers go out and kill people. But I do maintain that our increased "on demand" society expects resolution at the push of a button, a keystroke or the pull of a trigger.

    The death penalty has long been proven unaffective as a deterrent to killing people. Killings in heat of the moment aren't subject to much analysis. The drive-by shootings, the gang disputes, etc., are basically heat of the moment actions; no thought as to the finality of pulling that trigger. Whatever the root cause, our country is sure living up to the reputation of violent and lethal. And that's not something in which we should take any pride.
    -M. Goldman.
    Tampa, FL

    August 18, 2009 at 12:15 am |
  19. Get real

    Blacks, as a culture in the United States, embrace violence, especially as a way to "solve" problems that most of us wouldn't even give a second thought to. They kills others because they were "dissed,", meaning someone SAID something they don't like. Imagine 2 year-olds with weapons, and now imagine them occupying cities by the thousands. The Bureau of Criminal Statistics shows blacks kill at 7 times the rate of whites. And poverty has nothing to do with it. The poorest Americans are Applalachian whites, and THEIR murder rates is a fraction of the national average for violent crimes. Detroit, Chicago, Philly, Oakland, Gary IN., Atlanta, the list goes on and on. Look at the top 10 most violent US cities and you will find blacks make up half or more of the population. Solution? Spay and neuter.

    August 18, 2009 at 1:01 am |
  20. Bummed out

    I liked Chicago when I visited there but I also feel like we need to get tougher on crime like this – fast track DNA evidence processing, fast track the death penalty, build more prisons and hold perps in jail until they can be tried. And then bill their family relatives and throw them in jail too. And get quick w deportation of perps of low crime but imprison those of higher crimes.

    August 18, 2009 at 1:35 am |
  21. cdb

    I would have to agree with "JUNIOR" on the fact that the states who have the death penalty should use it. I worked in a prison in the midwest for over three years( I just resigned) and I will say these guys in prison aren't scared in there-it is a family reunion, which is sad.I felt as if I was in a college dorm sometimes- these guys aren't going to learn to stop messing up there lives and their victim's lives until the states start crackin down on these people once they do get to prison.Some people can change-but stop making prison a vacation so these idiots can go on killing each other and don't mind doing the time because prison isn't a deterrent.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:56 am |
  22. Kitty

    I was born and raised in Chicago, and as a little girl, I always smelled candles burning throughout our neigborhood . . . Even though I was young, I knew what the smell signified. . .So Sad

    August 18, 2009 at 9:14 am |
  23. Hoot Gibson

    I disagree with the statement " all of them need rehabilitating" they cna't be "rehabilitated " young people that kill have not internalized the basic code of conduct needed to survive in ----–ahhh never mind !! there is nothing that can be done for these morons we should just execute them right after the trial and just try to stop the genes from spreading.

    August 18, 2009 at 9:20 am |
  24. The dissapointed 1

    As I sit here and read these comments, all I can do is shake my head. Violence and Racism will always exist in this country and all other countries for that matter. It sickens me that people are always blaming ohter people for the problems that go on in their communities. I really believe that if we as Americans stopped worryring about everbody elses problems then maybe we could focus on our own and then maybe lessen some of the crimes that take place here. Stop putting the blame on Obama. He has only been the president for 8months. OMG! everybody always has these deadlines and alltimatums for 1 person to do and it is simply outrageous. Listen, I have 7 brothers and sisters and my parents have been married for 35 years and they have wonderfull jobs and raised us to the best of their ability. We went to great schools some of us have even already gotten our masters degrees. 1 of my brothers has been in and out of jail since he was 12. He is only 22 and is facing 25 years to life for various crimes. I realized that he is a carreer criminal and that everbodies family has at least one. Some people just don't have it all and its nothing that you can do about it. Its Sad and it sucks but what can u do. I believe that alot of human beings think that nobody will ever find out about something bad or something wrong that they did but the only 1 that is wrong about that is them. I am not justifying any crime that has ever been commited and I do feel sorry for all the families that have lost love ones but I honestly don't think that there is any thing that u, I, or the president could do about it.

    August 18, 2009 at 10:13 am |
  25. JenniferJustice

    I live in Michigan in the burbs. Detroit's violence has increased as well as Denver, NY and most other big cities. The underlying current seems to be the same in all cases – a lack of hope and therefore and lack of respect for life. If you don't have anything to look forward to but life in the hood – what is the value of that life? I understand why these kids think nothing of killing eachother and dont' care if somebody innocent is killed in the crossfire. They don't see life like the rest of us. So, the question is, how do get these kids to value life? I think the only way is to get them out of there and there's really no way to do that. They're stuck! I have a question for the families and parents of gangster kids and please don't take offense – I want to understand. Why do you stay? Why do you make families in these aweful cities. I know a dozen people are going to blog back angry at me for asking those questions and say, "It's my home." Or, "this is where my family is." But I still don't understand the loyalty to a city that's not loyal back. Your families could move. You could start a new life and new traditions. I know there is comfort in familiarity and we all want to come back to our roots, but its at the expense of your kids. You have to leave and get them out of there! I can't imagine living in a ghetto and bringing a child into it. Slam me if you want, but to me, it's selfish.

    August 18, 2009 at 10:28 am |
  26. Really?

    @ Get Real – Take sociology, criminolgy, and/or phsychology classes, do research, and then form an educated opinion before spouting off hatred. Hatred which, by the way, you so poorly attempt to justify through uncited statistics. Spay and neuter, you say? Guess who else went by that method? Give you a hint, his name rhymes with Filter and he generally hated and remembered as the cruelest man in human history. In short, your ignorance astounds me.

    @ Matt Goldman – though I appreciate your humble opinion, I suggest that you watch some town hall meetings. You'll see a wide variety of 30+ adults not accepting facts, yelling, and generally being disrespectful to senators attempting to do their job in hearing out the public's demands. They'll boo, hiss, and interrupt those with dissenting views who are trying to ask the senator a question. The younger generations don't know how to settle disputes, as though those coming before us are setting a perfect example of dipolmacy and thoughtful discussions to solve issues. Please.

    August 18, 2009 at 10:40 am |
  27. kev

    to shelly you are an idiot if you put this on a black man that is office what.about all the white man that had the office they get a past from you.you are totally off the wall.you need help for the drug you are smoking.stop it.here a let down for you.you are a racist that a fact.and dumb.bush must be your daddy.dumb azzz.get help before.you smoke.

    August 18, 2009 at 11:08 am |
  28. JenniferJustice

    To: Get Real – You embarrass me as you're obviously white and prejudiced. You can't just throw all people of the same race into one pot and label them. I work for attornyes and judges – of all races and creeds. I see black people from Africa, Jamaica, and the U.S. ghettos as well as suburbs – all going to law school and making a solid decent name for themselves. Color does not make a person – character does! Yes, it's true that inner city violence is comprised primarily of black youth, but hispanics and asians follow in numbers right behind. There are MORE blacks in big cities, so of course their numbers are higher in the violence and gang-related crime. It's not being black that makes them violent, it's where they live and the lack of opportunity in their eyes. They don't see themselves as anything other than hoodlums, so that's how they play out their life. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy. All the programs available can't change how a person percives him or herself. We have to find a way to change their image in their own minds. They don't beleive they're capable or worthy. How do you not find that sad? Where is your compassion? They behave like animals because they live like animals. What does an animal in fear do? He attacks before he is attacked. They are in survival mode. I'll bet if these same kids were raised in a small town relaxed environment, they would be completely different. Some are able to overcome like MaryJ and Chris Rock but they are special – because they were raised by special parents even though they grew up in ghettos. It all really comes down to parenting and the values they instill. There might always be a black sheep in a family – I have one, but she just drinks herself into oblivion and numbness. There's nothing we can do about that. But the vast majority of inner city violence is gang-related and that can only be stopped by parents before it happens. That's why I beleive children should not be born into such environments. It's too tempting and easy to get caught up in and once it's starts, even parents can't stop it.

    August 18, 2009 at 11:19 am |
  29. Ned L. McCray

    FITZGERALD MISSES THE MARK

    Atty. General Fitzgerald is to be commended for his remarks before the City Club where he tried to enlist the business community in the fight against gangs. However, he failed miserably to address the question of how does Chicago and other cities destroy, dismantle and or disperse gangs that operate with impunity and have entire neighborhoods living in fear. The problem has gotten so pervasive; it has driven Father Pfleger to use the flag to bring attention to the killings that occur almost daily. His voice seems to be the lonely voice crying out in the wilderness.
    Fitzgerald seems to imply that the number of gang members is so great (70,000 to 100,000) that law enforcement is overwhelmed. Has he ever heard of eating an elephant one bite at a time? Take on one gang at a time. Do something. Do anything.
    The public has a right to hear more than the usual refrain, (The killing was gang related).
    Tell us which gang, where they hang out, who are the leaders and members, where do
    they meet, who controls the gang money and weapons. What about methods such as gang
    infiltration and constant harassment to make gang life uncomfortable and untenable
    If law enforcement can’t or won’t get a handle on this problem, then in a short time, the
    number of gang members will continue to increase prompting calls for the National
    Guard

    Ned L. McCray nedmccray@aol.com Retired principal of Simeon H. S.
    708 532-8997
    Tinley Park, Ill.

    August 18, 2009 at 12:43 pm |
  30. steve neb

    I spent a lot of time in the Military. What I find now people their Have no Civilized Code Of Conduct. I may set in my ways but when you see or here blacks screeming at the top there voluim. and say I'm gonna kill you.
    Can anyone think this is a person I would be around or any of the people he (she) represent.

    we must make that the way you talk and act or the first things noitce,

    And how you dress be clean and neet.

    DO THIS and change urban citys

    Illegles deport-deport-deport- NOW!!!!!!

    August 18, 2009 at 6:45 pm |
  31. Charles A. Turner

    Since President Obama loves basketball....let me put it this way..Get under the hoop and throw some elbows....you'll get some respect on this issue of health reform.

    August 19, 2009 at 10:03 am |
  32. anon

    I am a caucasion male and had worked at a rent to own company and Gary, Indiana was one of the cities that we served. While working there, I had seen people that had been shot, I had heard shootings, and evaded shootings and brickings ( vehicles would be bricked by a bunch of thugs ). Why did I remain at the job you may ask? I saw the pain and suffering that families were going through and I saw families struggling. I did what I could from the business perspective to assist some of these families. It was disturbing to hear of shootings at schools, which were common place, yet you would rarely saw stories about them in the newspaper. There were areas where families slept on the floor even though they had beds because if they slept in their beds, they risked being shot when drive-bys happened. And while they had furniture in their living room, they sat on the floor at night while watching tv or playing video games. Imagine, having to live like this from the time that you are a kid. How would that effect you? There were times when I had to choke back tears from some peoples' account of what they have had to deal with. It's sad how some of the thugs think. They actually look for people who they see have something to lose, whether it be a loved one, or a piece of property. There are those who enjoy taking these things from people. This is why you did not show emotion when you are outside in those areas. There was a line in the movie "Training Day" that says it best "You have to hide your smiles and cries". There were so many wonderful and incredibly strong people that I encountered during those years. Sadly there will be no books written about their lives and they almost have an invisible existence. I don't know what can be done to resolve these issues, but it's crucial that society acknowledge the problem and work to find solutions.

    August 20, 2009 at 11:22 am |
  33. Sara

    THE ROOM:
    I'm a social worker at a major trauma hospital and I just want to put it on the record that we do take people whose family members are still alive to THE ROOM. In fact, THE ROOM is set aside for the benefit of families so they can have privacy, so they can be together, so they can display their emotions without the whole large waiting room staring. This part of your story perpetuates the myth that I deal with every day–that seeing the social worker's face and following me to the THE ROOM means death and disaster.

    August 22, 2009 at 7:41 pm |
  34. Kendra

    I live approximately two hours from Chicago and I am very much aware of the ongoing violence in that city, because I buy the Chicago Suntimes. It's really ashame when people can not enjoy the comfort of their home or neighborhood because of a few people who make lives miserable because of gang activity, drugs and the senseless killings of human life. What needs to happen is Mayor Daley taking more notice to what's happening in those neighborhoods. It's not about taking care of only the people living downtown Chicago or those living in lavish communities away from the problem. If he does not take hold of the issues going on those neighborhoods, eventually the problem will move to all neighborhoods-usually that's when we take action which is very sad. The other point I'd like to make for those living in those violent neighborhoods, would be to move if anyway possible. I know sometimes it's not easy to do so, but if you value your life and that of your child-find a way to move. It's not worth it to stay simply because you've always been there. Times have changed and there ae individuals who do not value human life. Our children are suffering and as parents, it's our responsibility to keep them safe and not necessarily look to others to do it. If you have someone elderly living in those neighborhoods-reach out to them also. I really empathize with the families that have lost someone to gunfire/violence/drugs, etc. One other comment is that nothing will change until those involved in making our communities a living hell "CHANGE". If they are not willing to change, then we need tougher laws geared toward imprisonment, otherwise you'll have a whole community wiped out. Just sad and disgusting at the same time-I truly feel for the families living in those neighborhoods, but especially our elderly and children.

    August 22, 2009 at 8:46 pm |
  35. Tito

    Don:

    Thank you for showing how violent our communities are and why are trying to hide. This isn't only in Chicago it happening right here in Philadelphia, too. I blame the gun violence on the government. In Philadelphia my nephew was murdered and now I have another nephew suffering from a gun shot wound who is in the hospital. Our mayor plans to cut 1,000 police officers, trash will be picked up every two weeks and our city already have a litter all over the streets. 2,000 other city employee's will be affected by the cut also. Our city is in great danger with gun violence, too. Policemen and women are getting killed in our city all time. There is no respect for the human race anymore or the law. This brought tears to my eyes tonight prayer with action will have to effective.

    August 22, 2009 at 10:49 pm |
  36. Mike Binkley

    Dear Don Lemon,

    Re.: “Chicago’s Deadly Streets: How to Stop the Teen Violence”, August 22, 2009

    Drug prohibition is a foolish replay of alcohol prohibition, causing the same social pathologies: high crime levels; an ugly, brutal culture; corrupt police; and powerful, violent gangs. When America ended Prohibition, we enjoyed a radical decline in crime: a 65% decline in murders in the first 12 months following repeal; and crime continued a year-by-year decline - in the teeth of the Great Depression.

    The replay is not perfect, however. Prohibition-era reporters understood and reported how prohibition (and not alcohol) created these problems. They did not report, for example, that the Saint Valentine Day’s Massacre as a “alcohol-related crime”. Modern reporters, however, routinely conflate the harm resulting from drugs with the harm resulting from drug prohibition. They remain faithful, loyal stooges to the government that is creating these problems with its foolish “war on drugs”. Your report on “gun violence” in Chicago, however, does an excellent job of wringing its hands at the heart-breaking, senseless and preventable slaughter.

    Mike Binkley
    Laguna Woods, CA

    August 23, 2009 at 3:14 am |
  37. Tiffany Kennedy

    What I have seen is boys with guns were are the fathers and familys. I know that boy didn't want two baby mamas he wanted the love that he is not getting at home. If we channel there angry energy into positive outlets.We need to keep them off the streets. They are looking for attention by shooting . I see kids young kings looking for help. Most of the kids that you spoke with could not speak clearly or read. There need to be in a 24hour safe place. Kids need to play were are the play grounds, were are the parents at that time 9:00 telling the kids to go home read a book have a fun enjoy life. The kids have won keeping the street clear so they can do what they want. The cops are scared and so is the community. The older kids need to know that if you make 300.00 every two weeks for a year, you then make 600.00 every two weeks and work your was up. while going to school to then make 50,000 a year. I see no long term goals from the kids. Making good money will not happen over night with out going to jail or ending up dead. What we should be asking is who are the people the kids are selling to and why can the cops find them before they come into the community or are the people buying the drugs in the community and are they the parents. I know the the peolpe that can start chage won't because it's not in there community I bet they would have a handle on it but its not the milliondollar homes so they don’t care or are the state officials the real drug deals and that’s why the don’t want to stop it. Remember the cops and people that should be helping are trying to make money to. I don’t know the guys name that said he makes 5,000 a day if so why is he still there, you only need maybe 300.00 to eat. What they want is to make the city so bad they get a bail out! Love

    August 23, 2009 at 5:15 am |
  38. Lucien Stephenson

    Aren't guns banned in the city of Chicago?

    August 23, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  39. N. Tessier

    The end result of prohibition visits Chicago again.
    The war on drugs is a failed policy just like alcohol prohibition was.
    Legalize it, regulate it, tax it.

    August 23, 2009 at 8:12 pm |
  40. G. Horn

    Interviewing gangsters on television and allowing them to brag about their horrible actions, this is just disgusting that CNN is glorifying and promoting these individuals by giving them a venue for publicity. Great job, CNN!

    August 23, 2009 at 10:23 pm |
  41. janis melvin

    Don, thank you for your interview with the parents, my heart and prayers go out to these families, working at a funeral home my self i can't help but reach out to the families when this happens and it is not easy, also i wanted to thank you for inviting the young man to come to your house to swim in your pool, did he ever make it their. watching the tears run down his face, i cried also because he should have never experience anything like this, thank you Don
    janis

    August 23, 2009 at 10:46 pm |
  42. Kendra

    This comment is to G. Horn that wrote a comment pertaining to the deadly streets of Chicago. I disagree with you saying Don Lemon is glorifying gangsters. We have to start somewhere, which means we have to educate and let people know that these situations are really happening. Gangsters are shown on tv everyday and it's not just your street thugs that I would consider to be the only gangsters. There are crooks in high places that are taking and stealing from the little people everyday. CNN does very well trying to keep us informed.

    August 25, 2009 at 12:56 am |
  43. Louis HIll

    When you dismantle gang leadership, with no soild positive leadership in place, a vacuum is left and, on going violence is what you get. Lack of good public and private leadership is what is missing from the equation. When are we gonna loose the motto "lock em and throw away the key". We still are not learning from our past mistakes... Keep up the good work, and we are sure to loose another generation to learned helplessness. Peace.

    August 25, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  44. Dorothy W. Robinson

    Violence in Chicago is directly related to Chicago's re-building efforts in preparation for the Olympic games. When buildijngs are torn down and people must move into another group's territory, there is a struggle for 'turf.' The violence that follows population displacement can be seen on a large scale, as in Bosnia or Rwanda, where ethnic boundary lines were re-drawn; or on a small scale, such as in Washington D.C. when students were shifted from one school to another. In the latter case, there was a sharp increase in violence among the students as they were newly assigned to different schools. The violence in Chicago will continue as long as people are being shifted from one 'turf' to another on such a large scale.

    August 26, 2009 at 2:22 pm |
  45. Kendra

    With all due respect Miss Dorothy, the bottom line is that something has to occur to stop the violence in that city. The re-building efforts being made where people are being moved should not be a determining factor to take someone's life. Mayor Daley owe it to the people of Chicago to keep that city as safe as possible. Now, the other point to the re-building effort is that we focus too much on taking care of the wealthy and we have neglected those considered to be the underclass, which has led to people having to move in different areas because we feel the city can do better without these kinds of people, but it's still not an excuse to kill or hurt others. As African-Americans, we have to go back to tradition where we had respect for one another and our community. So many of us have lost the will to live because we are focusing on things of little value. We are not caring, compassionate, spiritual, hardworkers like we were at one time and it's not everyone but a good portion, especially the young people of today. Many of us are looking for handouts and when that doesn't happen, we feel we have to lower our standards by either selling drugs, killing, robbing and taking from people who are hardworking. This attitude has lead to little children and adults not being able to enjoy the comfort of their home or neighborhood. It's ashame and sad at the same time.

    August 28, 2009 at 2:30 am |