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July 11th, 2009
08:40 AM ET

Taking Aim: Youth Violence

Parents, we worry about nothing more than the safety of our children. Will they make the right decisions, hang out with the right crowd? Will they be lured into a gang? Sadly, violence is everywhere–innocent children gunned down in the streets, even in their own homes. They're attacked at school. But they're not only the victims, some are perpetrators, too.
Look at some of these numbers. The Centers for Disease Control just released new data showing that, in 2006, nearly six thousand young people between the ages of 10 and 24 were murdered. In 2007, nearly one in five high school students polled admitted to carrying a weapon in the past thirty days.
Today at four p.m. Eastern, we are taking aim at youth violence.
Why all the bloodshed? What needs to be done to reduce and, hopefully, stop it?
We're looking for solutions. Post your comments and questions now for our guests, including a youth violence expert and a child psychologist, and we may use them on the air today at 4 p.m. Eastern.

UPDATE: Here's a portion of Saturday's discussion:

Filed under: Anchors • Fredricka Whitfield
soundoff (150 Responses)
  1. Larry


    I've been on this planet for a while (59 yrs) and I think it all goes back to the parents. Parents have got to get back to the basics, that raising good kids is the most important job in the world. Kids need tons of attention and love when they're young, and I believe that's when it's decided how they'll grown up.

    July 11, 2009 at 9:13 am |
  2. Martin in Shoreline, WA

    This is just another attempt by liberals to trample on your freedoms. The way they exploit children for political causes is truly disgusting. This is about gun control, and they could really care less about the safety of your children. What they want, is to disarm Americans so we cannot fight back.

    You cannot stop the bloodshed. Violent behavior is human nature. We coud reduce it though. Take away what is funding these gangs: The illegal drug trade. Legalize recreational drug use, tax it, and regulate it just like alcohol. For alcohol is no different than any other drug. As a matter of fact, it is far more dangerous than many illegal drugs. Take away the black market, and these gangs dry up virtually overnight.

    Yes, we will have some problems with addiction. So put them in rehab, not prison. The war on drugs has not done anything to reduce the addiction rate, because once again addictive behavior is human nature. You cannot stop human nature. The addiction rate is the same today, as it was when all drugs were legal. Judgemental Americans are the problem, not gang violence. We wish to punish those who make choices we do not like. Especially the religious crowd.

    We might want to do something to discourage single motherhood as well. 75% of criminals come from single mother homes. Women talk about nurturing as the end all, be all of parenting. Discipline is far more important. Bring Dad back into the family, and many of these problems with kids will disappear. Stop letting the government tell you how to raise your kids. They are the idiots who tell us mothers are superior parents, when that is clearly not true.

    July 11, 2009 at 11:43 am |
  3. PoorDave

    We do not have funding in black comunities to help teach are kids
    trades. My eyes have seen an american system that seems to fail
    black americans in every black areas in united states.


    July 11, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  4. Trae Feltcher

    From being a young man that grew up in Chicago who has been shot five times and stabbed three. I find it heartbreaking that this issue of violence in Chicago teens have not been resolved....I do not want to see a young man go through the pain I went through. I love Chicago but this darkside of the town has to be taken care of and fast.

    July 11, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  5. MJ

    The places with heavy gun control always have rampant gun violence. The police cannot be everywhere at once, especially not in Chicago.

    If the citizens of Chicago were allowed to bear arms, less gangs and troubled children would consider picking one up and using it.

    James Madison worded the 2nd Amendment very carefully. It is not just nice to have, it is necessary for a free and peaceful society.

    July 11, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  6. nicky seville

    When are we gonna wake up and realize that the stuff that we are letting or kids watch and listening to is influence them.we gotta wake up the problem is not the man its us.

    July 11, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  7. Sylvia

    I'm glad that someone is finally paying attention to the problem of youth violence. I'm 38 years old and for 20 years long I've watched and heard of young black men and women die on the city streets for lack of a better chance. I was a teenager when father of my unborn child was murdered at the age of 17 in 1988. Here, now 20 years the son I gave birth to becomes a victim of the very same violence being shot twice this past October with a .45 Caliber weapon. Father and then 20 years later the son? What are the chances of that? By the grace of God my son's injuries were non life threatening but that in itself is a message that the violent trend with our youth is not under control and is serious cause for alarm.

    July 11, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  8. Steve Goldsmith

    Centinela Youth Services provides violence prevention mediations in urban LA in schools and communities that have had numerous youth murdered. Although our programs are proven effective to reduce conflict, violence and incarceration for youth, they are vastly under funded. We use hundreds of volunteer mediators both youth and adults in award winning programs but every day is a struggle to bring in funding to keep staff working. Society must give the resources that effective programs need to turn youth violence in to youth success. We know how to solve these problems, we just need the money to do it. To learn how to volunteer go to

    July 11, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  9. Jack A. Brothers

    Never before in our history has there been so many boys at risk in our nation between the ages of 13-17 years old, who need our help desperately.

    Runaways, delinquent, truant, gang and drug related rebellious boys have reached in number greater than our standing army. Our nation is dying from within. Our future husbands, fathers and leaders are in jeopardy of crippling the core family values this nation was founded on.

    The lack of morals and values in their life requires each one of us to look within and become a part of something great, to help turn around a troubled youth, one boy at a time.

    Jack A. Brothers, Founder
    Boys at Risk, Inc.

    July 11, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  10. Palmer20

    This should be treated as threat equal to terrorism and addressed at federal level. Common sense is what missing at the highest level.
    As a parent i would like to know –
    1) What was the cause for each killing, is there a motive ( we know it is gang related...but we confirm with each case)
    2) Who is responsible for this? (gang wars?)
    3) Once we find the exact reasons we (as citizens) need to put pressure to get the guilty executed.
    Merely saying that it is all over political b.s. (Mayor Daley's comment )
    Every issue has a solution if we as citizens can filter all the bs and get the real pics of exactly what, why and how this is happening and put enough pressure on the once we elected to get this resolved.
    This is a threat to the younger generation and should be addressed at the highest level.
    You as news agency should be able to help us identify the bigger and 'common sense' pic and debate on this.
    just my 2 cents.
    God bless America

    July 11, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  11. chibby

    Its hurts to see the rate at which children die due to violence. With all these death my question remains...why are guns not banned or suctioned, since people can't control use of these arms. I work with teens between the age of 12-18 and they have great minds and dreams, that shouldn't be allowed to go to waste.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  12. MarriedWithKids

    Where are all the fathers! This is what happens in a single parent home without strong male role models. The gang takes over as role model and provider. Violence is how they deal with their problems or get noticed. The liberalization of our society to where divorce, out of wedlock kids and gay lifestyles are all considered "politically correct" norms is signalling the demise of our country. We need to get back to the Judeo-Christian family values this country was founded on.
    We need to put marriage between a man and woman and a 2 parent home back as the favored norm. Look on TV, how many shows feature a classic household anymore, this is what our children see and model after. Lets not demonize these other choices but instead celebrate and reward the hard working family with both a mother and father.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  13. Darryl

    I think we you hear the staggering numbers and kniowing these are our kids. Well this is war. I truly believe we need to send our military in to these hoods and clean them up. We need to save our children from the thugs who have free reign. This is ridiculous. Take back our neighborhoods now. Our kids are paying the price for us not reacting. The police dept obviously cannot handle this.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  14. Niecy

    I'm a student in high school and there is violence everywhere, especially dealing with us young people. We need to treat people the same way we would like to be treated and that's with respect and kindness. We can never solve problems through violence. We learn about the historic leaders that stand for peace in school, names like Ghandi, Martin Luther King, and many more. There are people that try to set good examples for us kids and us kids need to be a good example and become leaders for the next following generations. No one wants to be another statistic.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  15. Sylvia

    How are the youth in the city supposed to get out the circle of crime after they've established a criminal record? In Massachusetts, a young black man can forget it if his criminal record is tarnished. The system is what keeps the vicious cycle going. These young men can't get jobs because of their record, the officials should know this. Then, they're forced to pay probations fees, court fines, and all other kinds of legal fees when half of them live on the street. So they sell drugs to make the money to survive and pay the court fees because they can't get a job! There's a lack of education and support for the youth of Boston and many other inner city neighborhoods. These youth have no where to go, no one to talk to, their parents are probably strung out. Too many people don't know what it's like from the ground level. Many of the crimes in my neighborhood go unreported because if you don't know or hear about it, then it doesnt exist. The criminal justice system needs to be revamped because it doesn't allow those trapped in it to get out. Everyone is to blame for the violence, but mainly the system.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  16. Gary L. Berry

    This is a sad state when one can't even go to school in a safe atmosphere. I have only one thing to say; you just mentioned on TV that you've been working on this problem for more than 50 years. I ask you where are the fathers ....i'm talking about the good and the BAD guys. We keep having babies we can't control and never know where they are. I know you can't mention this but look at the dying ones. Mostly all Black. Tell me why that is?? DUH

    July 11, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  17. Noble Rabbit

    I have had this dream for the past 3 years to go back to highschool and do a documentary on how hard it is to be COOL as some people would put it. Im not saying that being cool is where its at, im just saying theres sacrifices that are made for the people high school kids associate with. A child will change right away when someone says something about there style there look or the way they persue popualrity. It is hard to be put into a crowd at school, its sad there is only three ways and its Money, drugs and if your good at something that is getting noticed. Alot of it is jelousy, a child who is good at sports your child is a target because people at school are going to talk about him or her and a group of kids are going to think its a joke and try to find a way to take that persons throne away. (Thats an example theres more ways to that throne) Another big thing is kids getting into the drug trade they get so bigin highschool with 2000 kids and they think there the s*** but really there not, anyways someone bigger outside is going to find out that this kid is getting big and that then turns into another violent act. Anyways theres lots I could talk about.... And i saying all this as it was hard here in CANADA growing up, I felt my life was in danger atleast 4 times a year through out highschool. And friends were shot and killed as I grew upand sometimes it was 2 minutes from my house THIS IS CANADA funny eh? Everyone thinks canada is grand its not as bad as your youth violence but it is getting there.

    I could say alot more as I wish it could change.. but really it comes down to the parents and the security...

    I thought i knew what style, life and the world had to offer at 16 but now at 21 im still finding new things that appeal to me and change me.... In 5 years I will not be the same person writeing this today but kids at 16 think they have found themselves and think what they have will never change..

    ANYWAYS i have lots to say........

    Rabbit .... Wishing for a world that believes in Communication..

    July 11, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  18. Robby G. Dixon

    This is a fascinating story with a reality that is sucking up our children daily. My book "Reclaiming Our Children" is making a widespread impact in addressing this issue square on.

    It is a must read for parents and educators alike. It addresses the "root"causes and offers compelling solutions to accompany the call to a new consciousness or (way of thinking) we must adopt in America if we are to reclaim our children.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  19. Sylvia

    Too many youth are trying to identify with themselves and they do that many times by hooking up with some group that makes them feel powerful, or moreso loved, wanted, and paid attention to. That's the truth about how Gang violence comes about. Look at the all the black men in jail? If they weren't there, maybe they could raise their sons to be better men instead youth offenders but the apple dont fall too far from the tree, so what does one really expect trapped in a system that has been designed to keep them there? And let me just say, the elected officials in the neighborhood seem to be absent through all the violence all the time. Like I said, 20 years I have watched violence take young lives and in those 20 years I can say that I have not seen or heard any of our city councilors, or state representatives take an active stance against the violence plagueing the inner city Boston neighborhoods. Go figure?

    July 11, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  20. Deb

    Our youth has been desensitized! There seems to be little remorse and accountablity today.
    The apple usually does not fall far from the tree. It all begins at home.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  21. Bridgette

    Drugs is a major player in the black community, but the major reason drugs is a problem is due to lack of jobs for families. Even those who have a single mom working, the hours that the mom has to work take her from the home. So the children are left raising themselves. Shorten the hours and raise the pay. This will help in more ways than most realize. Mothers need to be home to raise the children. Fathers are needed in the home to raise the children. In the black community, this is not present.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  22. Niecy

    There is a way to make the world a better place and that is for all of us to get involved. I think that schools everywhere should have class discussions about youth violence so we can find out the truth behind it. Parents should speak to their kids and let them know that we need to be leaders not followers. Our youth can all participate by Living Above The Influence... We play a part in our friends' lives, we can tell them don't do this a not right. Our opinions do matter and we can make a difference in our neighborhood, city, state, country... Our world.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  23. marie pion

    Montreal – homicides in 2008 – 29 – homicides in 2009 (to-date) I believe is not yet 10.... hello – could it be gun laws and abolishment of the death penalty – youth crime is at its lowest ....

    it is abhorent to me the crime rates in american cities and in particular the deaths in chicago of children

    i'm so glad i live in canada

    July 11, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  24. Ronnie

    Comming from a teenage mothers point of view im sick of the violence and also pray for my friends and family every day. About two years ago my sons father was shot eight times in camden county ,nj. That day effected not only my sons father ,but me and my son as well. My sons father is now disabled from the waist down my son will never have a brother and we will have to deal with this trajedy all our lives. I hope next time someone decieds to take someones life they think about the others they are hurting and how would it feel if it happened to them or their loveones . Please stop the violence

    July 11, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  25. michelle

    i have an 18 yr old raised in a good environment in the church had good values instilled in him it all changed?in the 6 th grade, sTarted having a behavior problem he got expelled for this problem turned into an angry child i did not know how to reach him, dad not available to him troubles increased drugs involved they say u have to exercise tough love i asked him to leave he steals lies is separating myself from him right when he has all these issues he is also in a gang i dont want him around for fear that he would bring his lifestyle around me what is your advice what happened? he hates structur and rebells againt all authority, i am afraid for his life. from texas

    July 11, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  26. Kurt Johnson

    Isn't this just bullying writ large?
    I don't think gangs is the answer. Gangs are run by people with children and families. They go back for decades. This is youth on youth violence in an attempt to imitate the gang violence not actual "gang" violence.

    The real issue is the lack of an adult presence in afternoon and evening times in and among our community and youth. Not only is this crucial to stem violence but to begin to teach youth how to behave toward each other instead creating a virtual "Lord of the Flies" atmosphere each and every day when the school bell rings for the last time.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  27. Jack A. Brothers

    The Nations Board of Education has reported that over 50 percent of our students in High School have been classed "At risk". A fatherless society brings on an enormous burden to families and the need to lead a young boy in the right direction. A direction of morals and values that are recognized as a positive socialization by the population as a whole.
    "The father fracture is where dark forces of insecurity and inferiority are fertilized and find soil to grow. Many of us learn to live with scars and damaged souls. The cry of every human heart is for a father—a
    father who will give us the confidence and affirmation, security and acceptance we long for.

    We see the damage in their hearts when they’re filled with hatred, murder, envy, jealousy, evil thoughts and desires. We see it when they boast and strive to be superior over others because they feel inferior in their souls."

    Excerpt from: Healing the Father Fracture"
    by: Gregory Dickow

    July 11, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  28. Cat Schelling

    I believe gang violence in our cities and communities should be immediately reclassified as domestic terrorism and all measures and powers that would be brought to bear in facing a domestic terror threat should be used to protect our kids from this life and spirit draining violence. There is no reason why something isn't being done by the adults of the nation other than fear. Find your bravery and do it.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  29. Ray Rae

    You and your talking heads are clueless. It's the NRA , the powerful gun lobby and their masters the manufacturers who are getting rich on our children's blood along with the politicians who's pockets they have been lining for decades. We need reform, we need accountability, and we need to address corruption.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  30. Stan Sulewski

    Chicago can't have a lot of gun crime. Why? Because they have the strictest gun control in the nation, just like England. I'm too old to protect myself from thugs at this point in my life. I carry a gun to protect myself. I have to, I have bad legs. The problem is gangs and drugs. Maybe we need strict gang control instead! When I was growing up, no one ever thought about solving problems with a gun. This generation turns to the gun. What does that tell you about how they were raised? We also didn't win with prohibition. I'm not sure that we can win the war on drugs.
    Until I can carry a cop in my pocket, I'll just keep my gun there!

    July 11, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  31. Brenda H

    I say this as an African-American mom and aunt who lost a beloved nephew who was not gang affiliated and attending college and was killed by a gang member whose identity is known to law enforcement and others, but still will not stand trial due to intimidation. I truly believe this is home grown terrorism. The government should approach this in the same way it approached issues in Iraq. This may seem un-American, but if parents won't discipline and raise their children to respect others and the sanctity of human life, I don't see any other way. For too long, communitiy activists have marched and parents have cried, screamed and begged, to no avail. This falls on deaf ears of people who are morally bankrupt and don't fear real consequences. I say every known gang member should be shipped off to Iraq or wherever we are at war and let them really prove how tough they are every day. I cried, again, watching the Bosley's family story today. I'm so tired of crying. God help us.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  32. Jay Drummell

    I feel the violence in the inner cities (youth violence) has to do with poverty. The inner cities of America are largely poverty striken, what comes with poverty is lack of education and lack of opportunity, they're all companions of each other. It is also a cyclical process where you have parents especially fathers in prisons for various crimes and kids growing up with no sense of direction. Gangs are then able to come in and take the place of "father" for these kids and thats why we have gang violence.
    Reduce the poverty level and education will improve.If the education improves, the violence drastically decreases. Its a poverty issue.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  33. Domenic Di Bratto

    Regarding youth crime – you keep focusing on the wrong areas. Come to Canada – we DO NOT have anywhere near the level of youth violence that the U.S. has. Guess why? It's hard to find a gun here. Until you change your constitution which allows citizens to bear arms – you will never solve the issue. END OF STORY ..

    July 11, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  34. David

    My family moved from LA to avoid an unfortuniate event of gang violence. Hispanic gangs have taken over LA, and a lot of Inocent African American children are being killed. It's definetly not all Gang on Gang violence.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  35. wm


    July 11, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  36. POD

    This is what happens when you make certain cultures off limits to any kind of scrutiny or criticism. Any opinion directed at them is automatically labelled racism. Yes that same old excuse. We need to have a zero tolerence towards this type of lifestyle. Political correctness needs to be eliminated and get down to business and eradicate these gangstas and wannabes. I'm sick of hearing about the root causes and how the spineless politicians are doing everything they can.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  37. Laketa Sutton

    I am a clinical social worker and do therapy with youth and families. Some of the biggest issues are systemic and linked to family, schools, and communities. We can learn alot from gangs. First, we must ask ourselves why youth are running to gangs. Research shows that gangs give youth a sense of identity, protection, and stability. Wherefore, the gang is replacing home because of the breakdown at home. The black community has to get back to investing in its youth. This means building up the family unit. Healthy families equal healthy communities. If we were to take a poll for the youth that were involved in violence, a trend probably would be evident that relates to poverty, broken homes, poor education, and lack of positive role models. This saddens me as a social worker, but when I see young black men whom I have worked with during the years go to college and beat the odds, my heart becomes hopeful. Sadly, for every one that goes to college, there are many that resort into the streets and prison. Bottom line, it's a family thing that begins from childhood.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  38. Emma Hatch

    I realize my comments may oversimplify the problem of youth violence, but it seems to me a good place to start would be boundaries. From the cradle to adulthood our youth no longer has any boundaries, we do not stand behind our teachers who try to institute boundaries, and we downplay the role of religion in helping to form good character. We make no DEMANDS on our children, there are no real consequences for their actions, and they are not held accountable from an early age. When I was growing up (a long time ago) the rule for most kids was "you get in trouble in school, and you'll be in twice as much trouble when you get home." We survived quite well! Too many parents don't even know what their kids are up to, and they are allowed to watch anything they want on TV - parents don't even know what they are watching. And as far as I'm concerned, we should bring back "The Hayes office" and Hollywood should be held to strict standards of what kind of film they can make.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  39. Jack A. Brothers

    Every community if not every school must have a teaching regarding morals, values and ethics. A youth that does not have parenting or training in right and wrong, will lead a generation to accept the norm we see today.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  40. Bonita

    I am astounded to hear that some people would think that carrying a gun would make them safer! How many times have there been situations involving angered moments–and if a weopen were available, a person might use it–and then remorse five minutes later! Five minutes after a gun goes off, it's too late!

    July 11, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  41. Rev. Larry Fryer

    I am the pastor of the late Legendary James Brown. I started a project with him called: Stop the Violence. Areas were The Home vs the Government and Education vs Environment (Neighborhood). Church Apathy vs Financial Gain, Adult Parent vs Youth Parent. We must start in the home with responsible parents.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  42. tony

    how can people say that all shotings that are going on across the world are all gang related that is not do we know that 50% of the shottings are not just people being stupid and just being retarded and just shoting because they think it's cool

    July 11, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  43. Atty2BCLT

    The problem is systemic, and I'm disheartened by your deskman's lack of understanding. This issue is resolved, albeit slowly, when caring citizens become involved in the lives of these young people and genuinely contribute to their success. That's community building. Its not just money – resources in the form of human ability and intellectual capacity need to be developed harvested in those communities. Its really simple. The people are hopeless and money is the only thing they think will improve their lives. If people see quality of life improve, starting with their own perspective, then they won't resort to detrimental behavior as readily.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  44. Florence Harrison

    when I was growing up in a Chicago suburb parents were responsible for what their children did And they still are. Parents need to be there to know what is going on after school and to plan. I belonged to girl scouts, took piano lessons, sang in a school choir that met after school. I am a first generation American but my parents knew where I was and what I was doing. My mother did not work although she was a nurse.At times I worked after school.when I was old enough. I worked in the shoe department at Montgomery Ward. Summers I worked for the railroad filing in the office.Another summer I worked for Kodak. We didn't have much money so I chose to work. But Mother and Dad were there for me. Children need a mother AND a father.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  45. Charles

    I doubt my comment will make it to air

    But here is the sad truth black youth have little to hope for
    even with a good education it is very hard for black people
    to get work and the lure of "so-called easy money" is always
    present. If you have no hope of doing well in life and live a
    culture of despair you can fall pray to gangs. The media doesn't
    care about blacks killing blacks....for example here in Toronto, Canada during our so-called year of the gun over 50 blacks youths were gunned down....many not involved with gangs and the media gave it little coverage. However when 1 poor white women was murdered (GOD rest her soul) it was headline news for weeks and a dragnet police went out to find the shooters....maybe if the media cared more about the other 50+ black youths who died....she may not have been killed.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  46. Stu L.

    How can you overlook the fact that lack of parental involvement is the root cause of a rise in violence? Living in the City of St. Louis, I am exposed to a world of unnecessary bloodshed. In the vast majority of cases, the purpetrators come from broken homes in which parents are either not present, not interested, or unable to be involved in their childrens' lives. If the parents don't take an active role in shaping the future of their offspring, we can expect the violence to grow worse and worse.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  47. Saudia

    You ask what are the key things that work. I personally believe that the key thing is family. The families in these communitiies has been broken down by many things. Drugs, illness, poverty, teen pregnancy, single parenthood, racism etc. Until our families are built back up, you will continue to see gangs and violence.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  48. meg seven

    Why is nobody talking about our lacking educational system????? We have few extra curricular activities left in our schools, like art and music.

    Poverty is also not helping. What kinda of country allows someone to work full time, even working multiple jobs, and still be poor. How is this large portion of our citizens supposed to be good, encouraging parents? Where is the time?

    We have some foundational things we need to address before we are ever going to fix our youth violence problem.

    Another thing CNN, why are you asking only adults, like this old guy instead of speaking directly to the youth itself.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  49. Bridgette

    The reason gangs appeal to youth is because youth need to feel like they are a part of "something". Since the family structure has been torn down, they gravitate to the gangs. The gangs provide that family structure that they need. Bring the mothers home. Give the fathers good jobs so that they feel like the man. Most black men in America make less (if they have a job) than their wife. This makes for an unnatural balance in the family. The man is feeling less of a man and the woman is having to take on the role of the man. When the children are not brought up in an environment that is stable, that they can count on, the result is instability in their minds. They begin to act on this instability. They are crying for help. Let's help them by raising the minimum wage and putting more quality jobs for black men in the communities.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  50. Greg

    Poverty IS THE reason for the violence – nothing else. Not culture, media, drugs or anything else! Solve the problem of poverty and you will solve the violence problem and the drug problem.

    Ask any of the youngsters involved in these criminal acts and they will tell you that they had no hope for a prosperous future, no ambition and no hope.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  51. Linda F. Gillis

    I live and was educated in Chicago. I don't remember the violence or the dropout rate that exist today. I think one reason for escalation of violence has to do with the exposure of young people to antisocial peers.
    When I went to school antisocial students were sent to alternative school. If a student was violent, threaten their teachers, became pregnant, other types of behavior were sent to what we called "bad girls or boys schools. I remember my Mom telling my sister and I that they were going to "Geneva".
    We have to remember that old saying "A rotten apple will spoil the old barrel.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  52. Laurice

    I work in a hispanic gang area as a teacher... population is half hispanic and half african american ....I see a nihilism- hopelessness in my kids... "I don't care" is all they ever say...
    I Know the parents don't care because I try to get them involved... many do drugs.... so as a nation we need to come up with programs that give kids HOPE ( the job of the parents ) and we will just have to do it.... because I see so very much of this. and as it spreads it will ruin our country.........

    July 11, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  53. gardening

    When guests are asked a question and instead of giving a direct answer they cite STILL MORE STATISTICS. Either answer the moderator's question or GET OUT OF THE STUDIO!

    July 11, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  54. T.T.L.

    I always find it interesting how these shows, CNN especially, that speak authoritatively on issues that concern underrepresented communities. What is more, when they speak on it, their panels are underrepresented by these people. Even when they do, the context is not framed with the insight of the people to whom they are talking about. What if different cultural news stations began to authoritatively critique European Americans in the same fashion.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  55. john

    I work for a non-profit in the Cleveland Metro area. my job consists of working with students who have problems during the school year. 90 percent of my students are minority males. My program is fairly effective with getting students back in school and away from negative behavior. My angst is that my employer doesn't think it;s important. There are virtually no programs dealing with minority males. The few programs are for when they get out of prison. No one supports prevention. That;s the problem

    July 11, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  56. Bill Heath

    People with jobs use fewer drugs, engage in less violence. Success in school leads to better job prospects. The best predictor of success in school is parental involvement in school. The greatest percentage of involved parents are in two-parent households.

    When do we address the issue of illegitimacy in the current problems of inner city joblessness, violence and drugs?

    July 11, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  57. bronwyn

    I'm watching this program in disbelief. Here is a bunch of mostly white men discussing a problem they say is prevalent largely in the black and Hispanic communities. What irony! No solution is possible unless the people involved are involved.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  58. Jaye Gram

    There is much violence in are urban communities across our nation. We need to come up with some intelligent ideals for tackling this epidimic. There has been for years, here in Rochester, Ny ,the rising of homicides amongst teens. Please can we all work together so that the kids who want to do something with there lives can have a fighting chance. Help us take back our community.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  59. michael armstrong sr.

    hears the out rage the black and hispanic people are killing each other and the white people have to suffer the concequinces the ansewr is simple get more gun control for minority people you dont see white comunitys with this problem .

    July 11, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  60. Rev. Larry Fryer

    Education is not the answer, Home is not the answer, Church is not the answer, Funding is not the answer, Programs is not the answer alone. Their has to be transformation for responsible adults who are willing to braverly change in mind and heart and take leadership. The failure of our children is the society of adults. We have failed them acroos the board.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  61. Carol Malone

    You ask why all the violence among our youth? I am glad you finally inquired. Where was everyone when the decision to take the Bible out of the classroom? Where is the moral compass (Bible) that caused us to grow as a nation? We understood loving God with our heart, soul and our strength and our neighbor as our self was most important. What evil organization brings in drugs to control neighborhoods? What happens when there are little or no employment opportunities? What does a young man do without equal access for meaningful jobs? When role models are actors and actresses that show little or no morals? What happens when there is a church on every corner but the community does not change? Yes, there is a common answer stop the flow of drugs, bring in meaningful jobs, and control the gun flow. We must start with the power of prayer, the practice of prayer and the provision of prayer. Parents and community leaders must come together to not only dialogue about the problem but put together a comprehensive plan combining all of the above mention suggestions and open up a business that would hire and train youth to develop themselves for a better tomorrow not only for themselves but there community. Then maybe one day they may have a street sign or building named after them that would indicate there contribution to there posterity. Yes, we can change and there is still hope.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  62. Betty Burney

    There is activity right now to help counter the violence and help kids to unleash their greatness. Check out the website

    This is a website that has a book writtten by juvenile inmantes – ages 13-18- who are providing an action plan to students and adults on ways to curb violece and entry into the criminal justice system.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  63. Jack A. Brothers

    If parents are not able to redirect the childs behavior, the juvenile detention system and courts will be the only hope (a weak one at that) to take on that role.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  64. cynthia

    I'm a mother of five who use to leave in Chicago ,13 years ago , I move to El Paso TX. So I would not have to cry for one of my kids .We need more help from our government than what we get, we have a war that's been going on for over 8 to 9 years. instead of putting all that money an soldier in other countries, use that man power and money here. To help the wars that's going on in our cities.We have laws that tell parents how to be a parent ,and the don't work . So what now. When people that grew up in the 60's and earlier our parents were able to disciplined us and punish us with out the police at their doors . We have given children to many rights to hold in their hands . They don't know what to do with them but miss use them , then we have the children that know how to be a child a let adults do their jobs, and take care of them the right way. An yes my children are okay 1 college graduate , 1 in college , 1 going in to college , 1 in 3rd year in high school, 1 in middle school , an me i work very hard to keep them off of the streets an that means look for all the help i can get from positive people. Because i can't do it alone. So help us with our kids and stop them from dying . We have a lot of single parents that need a strong hand .

    July 11, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  65. Dr. Audrey Parsley

    The problem with youth violence has a lot to do with lack of jobs and youth perceiving that even with education one may not be able to find work. This was a a perception among the youth of our community even before the recession. The sell of drugs seem a viable means of making money for those with less options. Is there a real concern to stop the sell of drugs..who besides our youth are profitting from it? Many of our youth are angry. They see the disparity. What about the rise in foster children whose resources run out when they age-out of the system. Also, the surge in closing down of schools in the name of charter schools without regard to how a community actually feels about it can be in some cases not a good idea. Students have to cross rival gang lines. This is demeaning to those of the community. The children see this. They take up weapons and take to the streets, thinking that perhaps, they are taking control of their lives. The issues are very complex and warrant serious compassionate consideration and action.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  66. James H. White

    My 58-years old and have traveled our beautiful country and its inner-cities., and I point to the diet consumed by the youth via the 'media'e.g., 'videos, movies. You are what you eat, so, violence that is being glorified causes that youth to aspire in the direction.

    This problem should be addressed as any other toxin, we speak of ridding the community of negative influence. We have to approach the problem of youth violence at its roots. Video games, certain movies
    the lyrics found in certain types of music.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  67. SW

    No one has mentioned that many of the perpatrators of this violence come from broken, proverty stricken homes without the presence of a father. We need not only positive male mentors and role models, but we need fathers in these communities. We live in an age when marriage and the responsibilities of having a family have been tossed aside. When one grows up in environments as harsh as those in Chicago, Detroit, LA, and have no one, particularly, a strong father, to be guided to see how a young man should behave, then we'd see this type of violence decrease. The breakdown in the family, in particular, the African-American family has led to this, and only the build up of the family, can solve this problem.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  68. marshalena


    July 11, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  69. Elizabeth

    It is extremely hard to believe that CNN of all stations is airing this discussion in this fashion.

    First, this 'professor' only addresses the 'black' aspect of youth violence. Has it truly come to the point where people actually block out the actions of other races? Black communities are not the only communities containing violent youth.

    Second, you have this 'black' woman on the show who is doing the best she can to seperate herself from the black community through her speech. Proper speech has absolutely nothing to do with changing your voice in order to fit in with those you believe are 'better' than people of your own race. Clearly, she isn't aware of what goes on in these communities. She can only speculate from what it is she reads in the papers or watches on tv.

    Come on, CNN, I thought this was a station that I could watch that would be real with its viewers. Have people on the show that actually know what is happening in the communities. I believe your viewers are tired of 'spectators' pretending to know something just because they read a book or watched something on television.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  70. Marie Bromley

    We just need to come right out and say it – media and the ganster attitude is what is contributing to violence around the world in a BIG way. Rap music condones and even encourages violence and this is what is desensitizing our youth. Yes, gangs and violence have always existed but we need to come right out and point our fingers at the media, the ganster attitude and rap music WITHOUT stirring up the discrimination pot. This is not about discrimination, free speech, or the rigt to bear arms.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  71. john

    I also work in a community where the gangs are in their infancy stage.
    These gangs are close to breaking out and all I get is a possible funding cut for my program. I'm not worried about my job but the kids who are beginning to embrace the culture, with all that's going on why is so urgent to cut these prevention programs or better yet why aren't they considered important?

    July 11, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  72. Rick

    I always hear people talking about the gangs, guns etc. Why is it that nobody speaks about an anti violence type of education program.
    I would like to see these violent cities institute a mandatory anti violence/gang/gun program which would start in kindergarten thru high school.
    Along with proper parenting,education can go along way if it starts early in a childs life and throughout their youth. It doesn't have to be strictly anti everything but also incorporate volunteerism or other acts which build character and self esteem. What are your thoughts?

    July 11, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  73. POD

    The criminal justice professor wants to talk to the criminals to find out their reasons. Who cares. A lot of them make as much or more money in drugs than the rest of us do in the 9 to 5 world.No rules, too much freedom, money ,respect aka intimidation through violence. Why would anyone change and go to work at G.M. Oh thats right, those jobs going overseas.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  74. South Central LA

    This is primary systemic in lower economic, male role model deprived areas. The root of the problem is the lack of interaction with a positive male role model.

    More male mentoring is needed in these neighbors.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  75. Bonita

    Dawn Turner Trice made some excellent points. I think that this recession has made more people take on extra jobs–if they can get them–and spend all of their time working and then commuting. Thus, they have no time for their families, not to mention their community. No one is around anymore! .The kids are on their own! (And if you think this is affecting just the impoverished neighborhoods, you might think otherwise: the more middle class communities have seen a lot of drug use, and other risky behavior...) Our entire nation is at risk!

    July 11, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  76. Robert

    I say it starts w/ the schools. The education given in city(urban) schools is terrible. As a youth i attended public city schools, parochial and suburban public schools. They all have their differences, but curriculum wise the city schools are terrible. Many ppl say that it all comes down to the home life, and neighborhoods. That is a whole other issue that needs some serious attention. But to make change in these "kids", the schools are the solution. That is where they grow up, and are 8-10 hours a day, 5 days a week for 12 years. I grew up in many city's as a youth and when it came to attending city schools, it always felt like a big detention center-police-police dogs, metal detecting and morning checks. It feels like your about to enter a concentration camp. Its sad and has altered the way students feel about education including me. Suburban schools have some issues too. They suffer from violence as well, but lack having the morning weapon checks and that Auschwitz feeling. I , as well as anyone else would love to see the neighborhoods in all these city's get on track toward something better or normal. Though, that is not going to happen anytime soon or even at all. In the mean time it all come back to the schools. Thanks, Robert NY

    July 11, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  77. bc

    So many factors seem to play into our young people & their attitudes/violence. When I ask folks about their area's increase in violence, the answers are often only just projections of their own priority issues (teachers blame F-Cat, etc). As for indifference, I think it's not so much indifference, as a sense of futility. caring white folks don't have an avenue to approach with help due to understandable mistrust of many black people. All people have for so long tried to voice objections, but have not been heeded; or, worse, have been manipulated by rascist types who want nothing more than to have a reason to hate others. Denial & other factors are significant factors. Kids don't know how to tell their stories. Think back to your own youth.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  78. John

    I wonder if any studies have been done to see if this violence is generational or runs in families.

    It seems to me that a lot of this youth violence may be brought on by this parent or older sibling passing these violent tendencies down to their children through the behavior. witnessed of their older family members, role models.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  79. Grady Monroe

    Being from Philadelphia, the roughest parts. I witnessed alot of violence. I have had alot of violent family members and friend. In and out of jail for murder.... murders they beat because of a loophole in laws. I think that we need to have tougher laws holding those responsible for crimes. But the major reason for the violence is a absence of the fathers in the home. When I had conversations with family and friends involved in serious crimes, most of the times the words were the same...... Grady I wish I had a dad like yours to protect me. None of my brothers or sisters have been in any trouble dispite living in a very rough city.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  80. Angelah & Azima

    If White America remove their proverbial noose off the necks of the black community and allow us to parent our children where they can understand and appreciate OUR language, culture and tribal communication and unity which will develop the systematic sustainable approach to uplifting our own community which will strengthen America as a whole. White America needs to stand up, recognize and acknowledge the fact that we were a country within our DNA that has its own cultural competency. The conflict lies within our DNA. We are not attempting to change whites; yet every where they go, stop, land, conceive and assume a position they feel they hold authority in their hand. So when are they going to wake up to a knowing that we, the world, are not wrong or lacking because we are different in hue, mannerisms, speech, spiritualism, multiculturalism or any other thought process not mentioned.

    Then you have to come to an understanding that Black America is a melting pot of multiple nations. Black's are looked upon as having come from one nation or commonplace when in fact we are a multicultural, multinational, multifaceted unified existence; not allowed to be separate within the same.

    So of course the raising, rearing and educating of our children should indeed be separate and recognize to be different. Until then continually their will be violence and unruly children who are left confused, conflicted and misguided. So the solution to the problem is segregated but truly be equal.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  81. Emmanuel

    Guns are not the problem, the problem are the parents of these kids who grow up without any any supervision. This is a major social and economic problem due to extreme poverty and lack of hope. Unfortunately, I don't think many of these kids are redeemable. The remedies are:
    Massive repression

    Gun control has never solved anything, look at France, there is very strong gun control, yet the Police get shot at in the ghettos just like here and yet the government is so weak that the crime in many areas has surpassed the US.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  82. Steve Corley

    Interesting, so far no one has mentioned how many people have died as a result of vehicle accidents or negligence.
    Let me help you put things into perspective.
    Worldwide last year, 43,400 people died in incidents involving vehicles,
    While in 2008, 1, 420 people died as a result of wounds inflicted by bullets fired from firearms that were not involved in military action.
    So, while my cowboy action shooting buddies and I successfully negotiated puberty after watching streams of Cowboy movies and TV shows, coupled with a deluge of war movies, we all became productive law biding citizens.
    What say you on this amazing reality?

    July 11, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  83. Gary

    To the lady now talking on TV CNN news. She says get the kids out of their neighborhoods and let them see how the other part of the world lives. Not!! I lived in the Beautiful Pocono's in a Gated Community. The parents left them along while they worked in the Big City of NY. There was so much crime in our little community, i was ready to shoot the first Black kid that walked in front of my house. There were 5 black boys that walked by my house every morning on their way to the school bus. We got hit by rocks every morning. Even had security hiding and they still just laughed at us. No parents no decent kids. And, now our problem is 75% of the black women in our country are having babies without a father. Most have more than one and most are out of control while their mother goes off to work. The mother things their babies would never harm a fly. hahahahahahah

    July 11, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  84. Lakindra Askew

    Though I am not from Chicago, the same issues that plague the inner city of Chicago plague the inner city streets of Brooklyn, Harlem, Detriot, Newark and so on. Our problem is that people seem to want to tackle crime as if it has one cause. Look at the facts. Youth violence happens because these youth feel like they have nothing to live for It goes beyond the issues of gangs and to the root of poverty. The youth in inner cities are struggling to find something to live for. Give these Black youth something to live for and stop robbing them of the resources needed for success. These kids see no other way for upward mobility than to kill, sell drugs, rob and steal. But in many ways they are right. Society doesn't give them the opportunities they deserve. This is no to take out any level of personal responsibility but to place responsibility on the larger community as well. Show these kids another option that all of them can do, show them how others from their community has done so and you will see a change. Until then, no amount of police and law enforcement is going to give these kids the sense of worth and mobility to stop the violence.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  85. Bill

    I Have been listening to this and I have to tell you
    I am 50 years old and I never been affiliated with gangs or mobs.

    but the way to end this. its create programs that allowed young kids become man is create atmosphere that doesn't entertain violance and the few scouts that gangs have looking for menbers for gangs find out whom they are give them a jobs to turn all existing menbers scouts for reward money so that they dont return to that lifestyle.

    fear mungers are the ones that create this in our streets. and the way that they should be stop is pass out laws with rewards to turn them in and stop the gangs and affiliations. by rewarding them to end it. put them in jail as terrorist if they dont comply.
    it used to be that most teenagers could work in the local hardware stores and delivering newspapers or work in the local pizza parlors to help themselves for the summers or on the weekends . Youths Today are affiliated with gangs because they are confused in the direction that they are heading and belived that gangs will help them financially but they have to do alot of bad to get rewarded and they thrive on society because they can and not enough enforcement to deal with the problem.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  86. marshall

    It appears that youth is no longer socialized or fit to live in a civilized society. I rarely encounter anyone under the age of 40 with principles, integrity, sense of responsibility, etc. let alone basic manners. I assume their parents are lacking these qualities. Our academic standing international is nothing to brag about. Therefore, why not create classes in grades kindergarden through 12 teaching civilized behavior and thought process. Responsibility for one's actions might help this mess. God knows, money will not.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  87. Matt

    Theoretically there should be no handgun crime in Chicago. Handgun possession has been effectively banned since 1982. Fully automatic military weapons (M4) that the professor spoke of are also illegal in Illinois. If these guns are not being bought legally, which they are obviously not, then where are the guns coming from? How would adding more laws help if the current ones are not being followed by gang members?

    July 11, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  88. bea

    my opinion to youth violence in chicago mostly comes from the african american areas. The high school r most like prisons. Middle class children r forced to pick gang sides in order to survive school.if any ethnic group comes to a more populated african american area they r lucky 2 make it out without a serious injury..but yet we r scared to take reprocussions bcuz we r scared to be called a racist. We dont say anything bcuz that race card will always be played.Due to this the majority of violence comes from the african american gang infested communities. Without fixing this issue first...there is always going to be violence. It will only increase and get more dangerous.Not a racist..just saying it how it truly is.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  89. M. Deen

    As a criminoligist with oover 40 years of experience and a past Chief of Police and someone who has visited every major inner city environment in America there are answers for our problems of youth violence.

    Its about
    1- Community
    4-Giving Hope
    5-Providing positive opportunity
    6-Teaching our youth by example
    7-Rebuilding families not destroying them
    8-Giving our youth a voice
    9-molding our youth leadership
    10-teaching "we" not "me"
    11-providing development opportunities and jobs
    12-teach success
    13-recognize youth accomplishment
    14-build neighborhood cohensiveness to fight drugs
    15-Follow the dollar (who's funding the drugs}
    16-Focus on education and supervised youth activities
    17-Recreation programs are paramount
    18-provide counseling in schools and identify kids needing
    help at an early age
    19-don't put troubled kids on a course of failure and prison
    with our overly legal mindset.
    20- Its about Community and setting an example by building

    21-Kids and adults are self medicating, self harming and resorting to violence because we have destroyed the fabric of civility. . . we can put men on the moon but we can't take care of the people problems that have existed since the beginning of time and will continue until the end of time. We can do so much better its a crime what we do to ourselves and ourt kids!

    July 11, 2009 at 4:52 pm |
  90. aces

    It's amazing to me that we as Americans have become so immune to violence that nothing outrages us anymore. A toddler getting shot hurts me to the core even if i don't know them personally anyone suffering senseless violence should outrage us completely i lived in Detroit @ one point but now live on the outskirts but it has gotten sooo badd that i now call it the land of the lawless.certain gas stations i won't go to when i do have to go to the city because their is no respect for human life anymore and its such a police shortage that God forbid something happens its going to take the police 45 min to an hour to get there if they come @ all. But let a Zoo threaten to close their doors or or someone like michael vick gets caught fighting dogs oh my All Hell will brake loose, but when one of our youth gets gunned down like an animal, nothing! SHAME ON US! and its not just rappers or the music its our culture as a whole that has contributed to this problem from the bottom to the top its starts @home teaching your children love, respect, honor, loyalty, integrity, strenghth, compassion empathy for people's differences. but hey nowadays its okay to cheat on your wife, curse like a sailor no matter whos around or where you are, wear your pants hanging to your knees, steal, lie, that the knew norm, even in government laws that are so outdated that they don't give someone who has what the law considers a non violent offender a chance to redeem him/herself after so many years of having a clean record. so if you get a felony @ 16or 17 you're still being punished @ 27 when an employer sees you have a felony you're fired even though it was a decade ago come on all these things add to the hoplessness that our youth who will one day be adults have to face.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  91. Hines

    Listening to your empty comments make me very angry. All the reporters make up untrue statements based on nothing but false fears.
    The only way to cure the youth violence is for parents to take a more caring and understanding role in their children's lives.
    They must be more caring and strict with discipline of their children.
    They must remove the violence on TV, movies, DVDs', music and video games.They must restrict their children's access to them. They need to realize this is not a laughing matter act as responsible adults.
    On the other hand hand can kids make kids behave since they were never taught this.
    Also your remarks on gun control is just as stupid and without merit.
    I get cold chills everytime I hear you make these stupid statements.
    If you are a responsible adult and take a responsible approach causing change then change will happen.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  92. Elizabeth

    The answer to this is not handing out more guns. Suppose you start handing out guns in Chicago to all the Caucasian people who are afraid of the violence... The result will be more death than necessary which will be written off as self defense.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  93. D. Fernandez

    I guess growing up watching TV crime and cop shows makes some people want to be bad guys and for some of us it made us want to be cops.
    As far as Chicago goes, I guess only Blacks and Latinos live there. So I can project that a Colombine Incident will not appear on the news anytime soon. Drive -bys at parties? Of course! Shooting up the whole school, probably not, I guess that's reserved for white folks.
    So what do we call the disturbed white kids that go active shooter on a community? Hunters gone astray? Kids doing a Cheney? What?

    July 11, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  94. Shaun Coleman

    I think the big problem is that people look at the symptoms and not the disease. We get to see a lot of US media and TV shows in Canada. The underlying theme seems to be a glorification of violence. Reality shows about police show a lot of violence. At times the police seem worse than the suspects.

    If you listen a lot of music lip rap and hip-hop, it glorifies the "gangsta" lifestyle. Many movies show violence. A lot of it goes back to the romantic view of the old west with cowboys and gun fights. People like John Dillinger, Bonny and Clyde and gangs becoming cultural icons.

    I think the problem of youth violence is at the root of US culture. The only country with more people in jail than the US is China. You need to look inwards and ask where this violence comes from.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  95. Cheryse

    The topic in which is going on now on CNN..."Youth and Violence" is a great topic. However the so called experts Hagedorn and Dawn are clueless..CNN needs better people to address this situation. Suggestion: Gang Task Force; Reputed Gang Members; Community Leaders; The Black Church; The people talking about this do not live in these neighborhoods where the crime takes place. So its pointless. You need people who live and breath this everyday to find the solutions...

    July 11, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  96. Gert Morgan

    I have lived long enough to understand when Hollywood began producing violent movies to the extent there is little else to see, there seemed to be more violence within the country; domestic because it was portrayed on the screen, drugs because if anyone wanted to know how to use them, just watch some of the movies being produced, they are very graffic on how to use drugs. "Valley of the Dolls" was the informative one for me.(that dates me)
    Guns are used mostly to kill someone in the movies. I've seen young children in theaters watching movies I would not allow my teenagers to attend. And their parents are with them. Children see these same actors in another movie and think "they just come back after they are killed". A large percentage of movies portray violence, I wonder why it is so prevlant in our country. Duh!

    July 11, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  97. Robert Brown

    I sat through an episode on youth violence and it was sickening the way each moderator (speaker/guest) was blaming another element of society. This is what is wrong with America in toto. We need to look at the "Man or Woman in the Mirrow". There are absolutely, positively few role models for children to emulate. Fathers aren't there in most instances, cops are not role models when u see a male cop tasering a 90 year old woman. or any woman for that matter, another spraying mace on a womand and anywhere from 3 to 12 cops beating the crap out of a person just because he talked back or made them earn their money. He took them away from their comfort zone and p___d them off. No where in sports can the look for a role model, because sooner or later most self-destruct. Thank God Michael Jordan made it through unscathed. I could go on, but i hope you have gotten the message by now. Children follow our example moreso than our advice. Remember this and things can change before we know it. Thanks for listening to me and allowing me to express what i see on TV.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  98. RAMONA

    Teens need hope and need good alternatives to having a successful life. Housing patterns need to change to stop gang formations. POVERTY is the big cause of gangs and violence.

    Long term, to prevent the crime and gangs, we must start early in pre-school and all throughout school until 12th grade. Each school should have a mandatory curriculum which teaches good values, good citisenship, respecting self, others, respecting laws, practice of the golden rule and HOPE. Hope for a good life, belief in each one's ability to succeed.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  99. freddie

    i live in a very bad area the main point i want to make if we get ride of guns how am a going to pertect my family and how older people are going to protect them selfs bad people are going to do bad thing if they do or do not have guns, in jail they dont have guns and what they do stab each other with metal

    July 11, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  100. Anne

    I would not look at all of the parents for the needed guidance. Perhaps we should look to the grandparents for good guidance. They go back to a better time when their parents didn't stand for back-talk, etc. Some of the current parents grew up more and more wild as the years went by and when they became parents their behavior was passed on to the child. Too bad there isn't a law that before a marriage can take place the couple must take a year-long course in morals, good behavior, good ethics and so on. How about mandating that the couple's parents take the course as well.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  101. Sharon Gallagher

    In Philadelphia and throughout Pennsylvania, we are fighting for better gun laws. We agree that gun violence grows because of poverty, poor public schools/eduction - drop out rates, drugs, gangs, but let's try to at least try to get the illegal guns off the streets and out of the hands of youth...or they'll never have a change.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  102. T.T.L.

    Both of my next door neighbor friends growing up were shot dead. I had no belief as a young man that I would make it beyond 20 years old. I am now 30 and consider myself a walking miracle considering the neighborhood I grew up in. My mother still lives in the same house. I have gone on to achieve an undergraduate and graduate degree, so I know that it is possible to achieve. However, those young men that were my neighbors and friends were, in my belief, destroyed by an educational system that saw little academic potential in these young men and taught them accordingly. They were expected to be failures, and they believed what their teachers believed that they would become. I benefited from a great deal of moral and character from a phenomenal pre-K education that gave me a boost that made the difference in my life. This is not to mention that my family would kill me themselves if they found that I was out of character. I say this to say that education and character development makes the difference. I'm all for universal education as the Dr. said.

    July 11, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  103. The Real Issue

    The Real Issue is complex, however it begins with parenting. Children need
    Activities and organized activities....I.e. The arts...organized sports..little league...pee wee football..etc. Bring theses back to schools. ITs not all about testing and test scores..

    July 11, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  104. Beth

    Parents are too hands off. Kids are raised by video games, TV, and radio stations. Many parents no longer monitor who their kids hang out with or where they go. Worst of all, if another adult, such as a neighbor, teacher, or school administrator, dares to discipline the child themselves, the immediate reaction is often to angrily defend the child and make specious accusations against the other adult without bothering to find out what happened. The result is a generation of children with few boundaries and low self esteem. They are searching for the boundaries which society has failed to set. The fewer the boundaries, the more extreme the behaviors. Remember "It takes a Village"? We have to begin raising our children again and we have to allow others, within reason, to help us! Children should be taught to listen to and respect all adults. They should not be in charge, we should!

    July 11, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  105. Tim

    why have these shows if we don't tell the truth! lets try racism, discrimination, poverty, ignorance...etc. lets try cocaine is not grown in Brooklyn or Compton! lets try cocaine gets you rehab and crack (an inner city drug) gets you years in prison...lets try domestic violence (felony or not) is now the new way to keep minorities from finding work and they've expanded from actual violence to now you can't even argue loud...this stuff is aimed at the inner city...don't spank your children, not don't beat them, don't spank them! because spanking is found mostly where and with what type of people? rich neighborhoods have rules, you would never find a liquor store on every corner in orange county, but go north to long beach and they are everywhere...why is that! I'm not about all the conspiracy stuff and i don't believe the man is out to get me...i just believe that there are people who we care about and people we don't and until the people on the bottom realize that and start to care for themselves and be real and make good choices, this entire discussion is pointless!

    July 11, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  106. Elizabeth

    First, unless you live in Chicago you only see what is put in the news. Of course, they portray the violence in the black communities more... Do you know where our President is from? Hello! That's right, a black community in Chicago so right now of course the black communities are targeted because they are targetting Obama.

    Second, hispanic and caucasian communities in Chicago have as much, if not more violence... you just don't see it because they don't air it on tv or papers. The papers and television stations wait until they have serial killer on their hands before they mention anything going wrong in the caucasian communities.

    Before you all start typing away, it would be wise to learn about the places to which you refer.

    July 11, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  107. Sheila

    Politics, Politics. We can talk about gun violence for the rest of our lives and the situation will continue to grow until the politicians put pen to paper and so no. I live in a state where laws have been passed or trying to be passed to allow guns in our parks and food chains where alcohol is served . These same people say that parents need to get better control of our children and raise them with stronger moral standards, while at the same time they stand and argue why its okay to mix guns and alcohol and take these weapons into parks where our young kids are playing sports. We can teach our children right from wrong, we can raise them in church and so on, but what happens after that. I dont want to down play a parents role when it comes to our youth because our children need strong role models, they need too be heard, loved and cared for, but how do we as parents continue to fight to make it right when the politicians control so much in our lives. Healthcare, finances, poorly managed schools and so on. The list grows everyday and so will the violence. God help us all!!

    July 11, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  108. Robert

    If any of you have grown up as a youth in L.A or Brooklyn. Then you might actually know what really goes on behind the scenes. Not what the media news feeds everyone. Theres a big difference. The police and policy does more violence and harm towards communities than guns and gangs. All the so called Renaissance projects and programs dont help at all. They only mask the real issues taking place. As far as gangs and violence. Try being a Black or Latin(hispanic) youth in these city's and see things from the actual perspective. The police are the most violent, corrupt and Largest gang by far. Almost all gangs begin as a group that's motive is to protect themselves from policy & police. It does end up tragic for the most part, drugs-money-murder. But over all, these blocks, burroughs & communities are not where the kids grow up. Its in the public school system. The schools are the center of where change could be made or begin to be made. Violence is a way of thinking, and the schools have done poorly to change that. Poverty is a sickness and relying on GOV programs and Aid other than education is where the problem sits.

    July 11, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  109. GT

    Youth violence is a very important subject. As an elementary school teacher, I have a lot of experience working with kids who lack conflict resolution skills and can become involved in violence as a result. I would offer the following need to be taught cooperative skills and conflict resolution skills at an early age.THAT is the pro-active solution.

    Much of your discussion today offered REACTIVE solutions...actions taken by adults from dysfunctional communities who return to those communities to give back. This is very laudable and highly important. I commend those who do so. Psychological treatment AFTER violence is necessary...preventing the violence by training children in conflict resolution is even MORE important.

    The answer is to be PRO-ACTIVE. We do need community leaders to do more...but we ALREADY HAVE people doing so, with little to no recognition.

    Eden Steele (a former teacher and principal) is the founder of 'Interactions for Peace', 'PEACE PATROL' (a conflict resolution program where kids with skills help peers without them), 'Primary Peace Makers', and 'Bullies Beware.' Here are some links for you to view:

    Again, thanks for your coverage of this very important subject. Please help educate our leaders about the work already underway by some very knowledgeable and caring people.

    July 11, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  110. aces

    martin in shoreline this has nothing to do with liberals or conservatives, this is a human issue! its funny how everything we discuss has to have a scapegoat. NO! it doesnt, because i bet if it was your child God Forbid who was senselessly gunned down being democrat or republican wouldn't cross your mind so stop with the partisan b.s. and lets pull together and save our babies.

    July 11, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  111. Elizabeth

    Since we're on the subject of Chicago why don't we talk about all the corrupt caucasian officers getting away with murder every day? No one wants to talk about the real issues, everyone seems to want to point fingers but don't want to acknowledge the true source of the violence.

    July 11, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  112. Robby G. Dixon

    July 11, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  113. Ms. Hope

    Stop making excuses as to behavior problems and brain association... the problem lies in adults not holding themselves accountable!

    The adult population have left the rearing of the children to the children.


    Adults who live selfish lives that does not consist of raising children. The baby mill called "school " has become the excuse not to get or be involved in parenting, education, discipline of our child population. Think a child can run a war? I think not!

    You think they can raise themselves without your accountability, help, assistance, direction, discipline, and love. NO LOVE rears NO LOVE!

    This country was founded on bloodshed, hatred, separation, slavery, degradation, rape, humiliation; and yet we think different shall emerge. If you keep doing the same things you shall keep getting the same results.

    This nations is still breeding such in a hidden means and still seeking different results.

    When will the adult population do different?

    July 11, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  114. freddie

    the real problem in bad area's are there are not enough resources and reach out programs even the youth programs are hurting, and we dont have enough funds for the youth programs so there cuting funds and closing our schools

    July 11, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  115. Neal

    We are not addressing the key question; where are the parents of these kids? Too often, these kids are raised by a single parent homes. These kids have no awareness, discipline and guidance from adults on how to be a responsible person. Bill Cosby has been an advocate on this issue for a long time, but people in the Black and Hispanic communities are too often ignoring people who want to help solve the youth violence.

    This is not an easy task. We need to go to these communities and teach the parents on how to raise kids before having kids. Fathers of these single parent homes need to be involved in these kids lives to make an impact.

    There is a huge society problem in these communities that no one wants to address.

    July 11, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  116. Robert

    I totally agree with Elizabeth. The news is not to be relied on for the facts . If any of you have grown up as a youth in L.A or Brooklyn or any city. Then you might actually know what really goes on behind the scenes. Not what the media news feeds everyone. Theres a big difference. The police and policy does more violence and harm towards communities than guns and gangs. All the so called Renaissance projects and programs dont help at all. They only mask the real issues taking place. As far as gangs and violence. Try being a Black or Latin(hispanic) youth in these city’s and see things from the actual perspective. The police are the most violent, corrupt and Largest gang by far. Almost all gangs begin as a group that’s motive is to protect themselves from policy & police. It does end up tragic for the most part, drugs-money-murder. But over all, these blocks, burroughs & communities are not where the kids grow up. Its in the public school system. The schools are the center of where change could be made or begin to be made. Violence is a way of thinking, and the schools have done poorly to change that. Poverty is a sickness and relying on GOV programs and Aid other than education is where the problem sits.

    I still say it starts w/ the schools. The education given in city(urban) schools is terrible. As a youth i attended public city schools, parochial and suburban public schools. They all have their differences, but curriculum wise the city schools are terrible. Many ppl say that it all comes down to the home life, and neighborhoods. That is a whole other issue that needs some serious attention. But to make change in these “kids”, the schools are the solution. That is where they grow up, and are 8-10 hours a day, 5 days a week for 12 years. I grew up in many city’s as a youth and when it came to attending city schools, it always felt like a big detention center-police-police dogs, metal detecting and morning checks. It feels like your about to enter a concentration camp. Its sad and has altered the way students feel about education including me. Suburban schools have some issues too. They suffer from violence as well, but lack having the morning weapon checks and that Auschwitz feeling. I , as well as anyone else would love to see the neighborhoods in all these city’s get on track toward something better or normal. Though, that is not going to happen anytime soon or even at all. In the mean time it all come back to the schools. Thanks, Robert NY

    July 11, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  117. Robert

    Violence is a way of thinking, and the schools have done poorly to change that. Poverty is a sickness and relying on GOV programs and Aid other than education is where the problem sits.
    I still say it starts w/ the schools. The education given in city(urban) schools is terrible. As a youth i attended public city schools, parochial and suburban public schools. They all have their differences, but curriculum wise the city schools are terrible. Many ppl say that it all comes down to the home life, and neighborhoods. That is a whole other issue that needs some serious attention

    July 11, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  118. Charlotte

    Why is it that whenever we are asked to find a solution to a major problem, the right wing Christian and family values folks take it as an opportunity to once again speak out against anything that goes against their so called values.

    I am a single mother, I am also gay. I raised a healthy, happy, productive son. He was an honor student, participated in team sports and was an award winning musician. He is now married, looking to start a family of his own, a working, contributing member of society.

    It is not faith based programs or traditional two parent homes that are the solution to the problem of youth violence. It is parents – both male and female, single, married, gay or straight taking responsibility and interest in the future of their children that will make a difference.

    I know many children from heterosexual, two parent homes who have become gang members, committed crimes and have ruined lives.

    There are many role models available for single parents. And they are not necessairly the biological parent. Teachers, coaches, business men and women must step up. We must all take an interest, teach our children respect, teach them how to think and make decisions. And we must give them an alternative to the leadership of the gangs who would lead them down destructive paths.

    It takes all of us to insure the future of our children. It's not about guns, it's not about alternative lifestyles. The more blame you can place on someone else, the less you have to do yourself....Make a difference Take responsibility.

    July 11, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  119. Sam

    I think President Obama should do a lot. He should have monthly open conferences/forums in the communities with a lot of violence. He should seat down with the gang leaders, parents and community activists and share his own experiences on how he was able to do so well in school and as an adult, and how he avoided gangs and drugs. He should set up a American youth Gang and Drug Czar?

    July 11, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  120. Linda

    Thank you CNN for bringing awareness to this problem. This is a nation that used to be outraged at the death of "one child". Now our children are being killed by the thousands every year and nothing is being done. We are peacekeepers around the world, yet we have a "War on American Soil", losing our sons and daughters dailey while America stands back and does nothing. Just as we put our military to use to help people around the world we should deploy the National Guard to protect our citizens here at home.
    Buffalo, NY

    July 11, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  121. NP

    There is an organization called IAHV. An International humanitarian and educational non-governmental organization committed to promote resurgence of human values in all aspects of life across the globe.

    IAHV's high school programs address the current issues of rising depression among youth including suicide, violence and increased drop out rates. Over the last year, IAHV has conducted several pilot programs in Chicago high schools including Gary Comer College Prep High School and Roberto Clemente High School where students have reported increased energy, ability to focus and desire to learn.

    For more info on IAHV: Go to


    July 11, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  122. Lawrence

    There are many reasons children resort to violence. We can't blame it on race. America was founded on violence. Some gangs formed because there is protection and security in groups. Look at the violence of the 50's, 60's and even now. as long as hate is being taught and greed among people there will always be violence. It will never be stopped but it can be controlled. There are injustices in the courts, police department and government with little accountability. I will just touch on one key issue. In my opionion, one key issue why some of the youth resort to violence is THE LACK COMMUNICATION BETWEEN PARENT AND CHILD. It all starts at home. We need to take the time out of our busy schedules and just simply talk to our children and get involved in their lives (Daily). Find out what little joey's interest are before the older drug dealer does. Sit down with Jennie and discuss what is going on in the media, from TV to athletes, The neighborhood, Friends, as well as family. There are so many subjects that we can never run out of things to talk about. There are also lots of children being raised by single parents. Regardless of if its a mom or dad raising the child, the time that a child must have with their parents can never be put off because tommorrow is not promised. Some parents working two jobs to keep food on the table and a roof over their childs head. There are no excuses why we should not communicated with our children daily. I know that it is harder with teenagers but if we get started earlier in their life it will be easier when they become teens. I see it this way: Every child needs guidance and I try to provide it to ANY child before they go astray. If our children are the future leaders of America then we need to start getting involved in their lives, starting today and not put it off for later.

    July 11, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  123. Brenda H

    To add to my previous post, I am not a proponent of the "victim" excuse for all social ills that affect the black or any other community. We must stop giving our youth and ourselves an excuse to not be accountable. Sure, racism exists and probably always will, but we can, and many minorities do, rise above it. I teach my girls to not be a victim and own up to your responsibilities. Most black people were raised in poverty, so "poverty" is not an excuse to kill. Yes, social programs may help, but it's not the only answer. And, can we please stop making excuses for black men not being fathers to their children, i.e., "he makes less money than a black woman," "slavery," yada yada yada. As long as we do this, nothing will change. These black men know they are responsible for bringing these children in the world and owe them a duty to nurture and provide for them. Compared to the '50s and '60s, minorities have come a long way. Can we honestly say racism and poverty are the reasons for gang violence? It's us as parents, that's it, that's all. As for gun control, unless the government is going to go door to door and collect ALL guns, this is not the answer because the criminals already have guns and I doubt they are buying the legally. This will only serve to keep law abiding citizens fronm protecting themselves. I believe in responsible gun ownership, not everyone being allowed to strap on one and walk down the street.

    July 11, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  124. SmileyMee

    Sheila, 'why do we point fingers at the same Politicians that we will re-elect in 2-6yrs'?
    Elizabeth, you maybe right on a certain level, but that definately dont have the number of shoot-outs that occur within the minority communities!
    Martin In Shoreline, Wa, do you fight as strongly(Conservative, i assume) for the right of all Americans to bare arms without Govt. restrictions?

    July 11, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  125. Sandra Hartsell

    Somebody need to tell the GOP to leave Obama alone. Nobody didn't tell them how to run the country when they where in the office. Let them know that it is their mess that Obama is cleaning up not his. It took 8 years and more to mess it up now it's going to take time and money to fix it. It didn't take them six months for them to mess it up., they wan't to make sure they did a good job messing it up before leaving. Now for them all they have to do is set back and play with their hands or read a book, or take notes from Obama and let him do his job. Or just don't watch, just stay at home. It will get done.

    July 11, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  126. Lawrence Blakey

    See article, "Don't Shoot," by John Seabrook in the June 22, 2009 edition of The New Yorker magazine. The article focuses on the youth violence in Cincinnati and the ideas and programs (Ceacefire in Cincinnati) developed by David Kennedy. He, and perhaps some others mentioned in the article, should be interviewed for this topic.


    July 11, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  127. Harry Ferguson

    I think what the Chicago mayor said was true. This problem is all over America. Common sense would tell a person that there is going to be a surplus of things happening in certain areas. This is the same situation in Chicago. Maybe there were more angry African-American people in Chicago at this time than in Los Angeles or Atlanta. I think that there are more killings in the black neighborhood because we are angry, and the reason why we are angry is because of our circumstances. We are economically and racially discriminated against. If you have been paying attention, you see that the North side of Chicago is not in the same shape as the South side. African-Americans have been mentally oppressed. The dream of getting out of our circumstances seem too distant because the magnitude of our very bad circumstances is too great. Most of the black children of America don't look up to professional black people. Most professional black people grew up in different environments than the young black people now. Its hard to study and stay focused when you're worried about bullets fly through the living room. Point blank, most of our problems come from racial and economical discrimination and after that we react by inflicting harm upon ourselves by killing each other. This problem stretches from Chicago and comes all the way down to Mississippi.

    July 11, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  128. Mary

    What kids see, hear, watch, and participate in everyday is exactly what they learn to live. Family violence happens when people are not feeling powerful in their own skin and do not trust themselves or feel protected. Gangs give young people a sense of belonging to a family that takes them in and looks out for them. Being beaten and tested to join up seems ok because their home life was full of violence in the form of cursing at each other, accusations, belittlement, abuse, competition, violent TV, and Video games, etc. What else could we expect? The solution is within us all to change the way we live.

    July 11, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  129. Emmanuel

    If you grow up like an animal without any kind of values then you behave like one. We need to make them understand that there are rules and that they have to be respected. Gangs should be eradicated without merci, I believe none of these guys can be reformed, they have to be put out of their misery. At the same time, we have to create opportunities and jobs. We should reward hard work, education and social values. Military service should become mandatory again to give youth a sense of belonging.

    July 11, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  130. Mark S. Allen

    This is yet another "paralysis of analysis" feature that CNN does to increase ratings and viwership, and NEVER ever gets to real solutions especially those that people I know have been submitting to CNN for MONTHS and yet never seem to be found to help direct the analysis to actual solutions.

    MONTHS AGO, CNN received information from me and others that a majority of the crime intervention and prevention groups were about to lose their funding in the very areas where the crime is increasing and would put HUNDREDS of people out of work and put right back in the illegal street economies that are creating the violence, shootings and death. Now after the crime increases again, they come with another series that did not feature one program director or where their future funding is sitting and can be released to put these people and programs back to work.

    I don't see the need to submit them YET AGAIN, but if you decide that you will actually feature the "solutions," then I and others who have been on the front lines for over 30 years will make ourselves available. So until then, keep enjoying your latest ratings and these "paralysis of analysis" shows as the acts of violence and killings are rising as we speak and these new stats can boost your next feature.

    I just feel sorry for the people who think you're actually trying to find real solutions.

    July 11, 2009 at 5:54 pm |
  131. Edward Tharp

    I think there is a chain reaction happening in America that contributes to youth violence. I grew up in a household that raised me with certain values. Their parents did the same and so on. My parents took an active interest in my life and well-being that included my physical health and mental health. They simply said, "talk to us if you are having a problem—lets work through this problem together—bottling it in doesn't help." I think parents need to talk to their kids more and be more patient with them. We live in an era where life happens at record speed. Kids have access to more "stuff"—good and bad— than I did when I was young. I'm 35. I have two nieces age 6 and 8. They're already computer and internet savvy. I didn't touch a computer until I was 20 years old.

    Parents have to take a more active interest in their children's lives. That means asking hard questions but also affirming that they are doing so because they love them. Kids have to show respect too if they want to earn respect. Parents have to explain to their kids that success and happiness doesn't happen over night. So much of anger stems from unhappiness—whether physical, emotional or financial. I think as a society we need to learn to live with less and really define what makes "you" happy. Learn the difference between "I want" and "I need." There are a lot of things I want that I don't need. Learning to live with less improves your overall well-being. It's a chain reaction. The less you have—the less you have to worry about. I'm happy because I have a good job and I don't worry (too much) about money because I live within my means. My parents taught me that you are going to have to get a job to pay for the things you want in life ... pay your bills first ... put money away for a rainy day—then enjoy what is left over. I know the economy is not great. But, if you define what you really need to make it through the day (basic necessities) and figure out how to obtain them—things begin to fall in place. You are going to have to work for them. It's important to find happiness in the little things. We can blame a lot of things in society that contribute to youth violence. I think the key starts at home—parents being better parents—instilling better values in their kids in the hope that they instill good values in their children.

    July 11, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  132. Ms. Hope

    To Gary...

    I am a black mother, single parent of 4.

    Do you recall how single parenting resulted in America? Willy Lynch ring a bell. Did you not watch Larry King live when he aired Tlyer Perry this year... he said thrice..."It has been said that the black female is the strongest individual figure in America"?
    It is known that the African American woman gets the tail end of recognition but she is not the problem she is the axis that hold the black community together; even in her degradation, being demoralized, raped, abuse, used, walked upon, slain and used as a mother to white America's children as suckled her breast. But now you have a problem with her. Your children sucking up her seed from the black man, killing themselves with skin cancer through tanning, turning the country brown and we can't figure out where the ancestry lines start or finish. Very seldom do you find the black woman in the homes as wife of white man; yet they sneak n creep with them day and night. We were used as breeding machines, milking stations, and bed post by white America... but shhhhh no one will write, talk or apologize for that! Back in the day... white children died young... it was our breast milk that kept them alive!

    Lets not mention it was our sons that won the House of Representative and the US Senate on 5 years after slavery and white America stole that too!

    Get off our backs! Stand on your own your own two feet!

    Where would America be if it weren't for the black woman.

    Appreciation is due! Let us not even bring up... OUR land that was left in wills of white slave masters were stolen from us so there is no wonder thieves rule America!!!

    I AM A STRONG BLACK WOMAN of African/Navajo decent born in America in bloody waters... Let me breath and leave my son's alone.

    July 11, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  133. Sheila

    SmileyMee, LOL.... "You may be right to some degree and therefore entitled too and respected for your opinion. But for me its not about pointing fingers its about finding a better way to control the situation (s) that takes place in all our communities. Our children are dying everyday. Gun violence and Suicide are at an all time high in this country. Yes, guns are out there illegally but my point was to show that our government continues to make it so easy for murders to be committed in our homes, our neighborhoods, our schools and so many other places. So until we as responsible people start taking the Speaker-Lisener Technique serious and let our voices and our childrens voices be heard, those same politicians that were voted in will never hear the crys for all those fallen children and others that were and will become victims.

    July 11, 2009 at 7:08 pm |
  134. Angela

    It has been my understanding, having recently been a teacher in the public education system as well as a single black parent of a child with a disability that concessions are made for those considered worthy while apathy are being displaced upon those who are not. These populations of human beings are segregated, separated, isolated, humiliated, bullied and maltreated not by their peers but more so by the ones from whom they are supposed to be educated: teachers. Parents especially single, black mothers are constantly being berated by factions who created the displacement of a family long before they existed. Was it the single, black mother who beat her husband to a pulp until he became complacent and then chained him like a common animal? Was it the single, black mother who said she could not receive government funds if she had her husband in the home? Was it the single black mother who harassed her husband into criminal activities in order to bind him in jail cells? Was it the single, black mother who told her children that if she disciplined them then they can call Child Protective Services to be “rescued?” The answer was, is, and will be a resounding NO!

    I am not going to point any fingers or call anyone out for the answer to the above questions, because those who integrated this maniacal plan to destroy a culture, civilization a being know exactly who they are. As this is not a paranoid conspiracy or a class x file, not even a cover up as the deceivers are more blatant than ever. On second thought let me just “hypothetically” unveil some of these perpetrators for those who walk around with blinders on until it hits their home. It is the local school district who makes a child walk down a dark corridor in an empty school with furniture piled up on both sides of the hallway pretending to provide her an education. It is the second grade teacher who dejects a black student from the Scholastic Book Fair to hinder the enjoyment of reading development. It is the neurological pediatrician who prescribes a child anti-depressants in order to create aggression because that child is no longer showing signs of aggression. It is the mental health professional who coerces the parent into signing a release of information so that the school may collect evidence against a student. It is the principal who poses as a doctor and school psychologist to ensure admission into a child psych ward in order to mandate a negative stigma in front of the disability, so that they do not have to provide paraprofessional services. It is the state government that gives the funding to this system in order for them to cover up deceptive practices and not hold anyone accountable. It is the federal government that tell parents "nobody wants to prosecute teachers." It is society who turns a blind eye, a deaf ear and play mute to the true victims who endure this recreation of Communism veiled in a socialist, capitalist ideology. But then again I’m not really speaking on anyone in particular.

    July 11, 2009 at 9:56 pm |
  135. Paul

    I have read alot of these post and i have a question for the single african american woman with kids...

    Why is it more accepted to have kids outside of wedlock then in my culture(Caucasian)? It leads to children most often having behaviorally problems especially young men. I mean its crazy to look at gun statistics with black men dying at a rate of 3x-4x higher than white men.Almost all of which are black on black crime, its pure statistics just look it up under national homicide by ethnicity.

    Blame that on racism? Sure their are still spotted cases of racism in america, but most cases ive seen tend to be be less and less frequent and severity, we have made huge steps in the past 50 years. I know my African American roommate gets to go to college for free because of scholarships, and he jokes around that its because hes black (got like a 3.1 gpa, but everyone floats around that in my collage) and oddly his parents make more than mine. People really try to "lift up" the African American

    Do you ever think its not racism? that maybe just maybe African American culture in the United States needs to change in some respects? Look at Canada and some of Europe, blacks have far less homicide deaths. I just don't understand how you can let your sons get woman pregnant and treat her the same way you got treated. Your struggle is now her struggle...

    July 12, 2009 at 1:41 pm |
  136. Steve Nebraska

    OK, Here I go. The problem is that for the last 25 years most men have been spem donors and weman have disposatory. What happened to Birth control that should Prevent 99% of the pregnase.


    Would you believe I meet a guy at the gas station who was proud to say he had 6 kids by 4 difference wemon. I said who's paying for those kids the child support must be massive. He proudly said I don't pay child support.

    I rest my case.

    July 12, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  137. Jada

    The pattern I'm noticing about the violent crimes children are committing in Chicago, is a mother that's not too far behind defending their killer kids. For example, Blair Holt was a young hero on a CTA bus. Moments before he was shot in the abdomen, the honor student pushed a friend down in her seat, shielding her, authorities said. Michael Pace was a gang banger that was on this bus shooting while innocent children were on their way home from school. He was responsible for ending the life of a brilliant young man. When Pace's mother was on the news commenting on what happened she said, "I knew he was bad but I didn't know he was that bad". Oh my God. Mothers like this are a prime example of how bad seeds are nourished and become heinous killers before they become adults. The mother of one of the murderers of Darion Albert said defiantly to the media, "that's not my son", when she was shown the video of him murdering Darion. When will parents of these murderous children be held accountable? They know they are raising killers and they continue to defend them. Neither the parents of these killers, nor the killers themselves show remorse. And you wonder why the 2012 Olympics will not take place in Chicago, a city where more murders occurred over a period of time than in Afghanistan and Iraq. The 2012 Olympics in the killing fields of Chicago? You've got to be kidding?

    October 3, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  138. brenda

    Chicago/Cook County has the highest sales tax in the nation. Therefore, they should provide more sports and after school activity for these children. These children are from broken homes and need school activities and sports to build their self-esteem. Meanwhile, Oprah and Mayor Daley are spending money on an unjust cause. Why is Mayor Daley still mayor when these children are constantly dying?

    October 3, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  139. Valerie


    I agree with Officer Holt. We have so many unplanned and teen age pregnancies and births to parents that are not ready to be parents. They do not have the necessary tools to raise their children to be emotionally healthy. Many programs are there to give them money to take care of housing and medical but not much addresses their emotional health. This is not the only problem. Many other two parent households both parents must work outside the home and no one is there to raise these children. We need jobs that pay benefits and allow parents to be parents. We need more role models and positive reinforcement of family values.

    October 3, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  140. Brenda

    I live in the suburbs of Chicago. It begins with training the police. They need more minority officers to CONFORM TO THEIR ENVIRNOMENT. Many of the officers are WASP officers thrown into these areas and the officers never show up or show up 20 mins after the violence has occurred. As a former cop, I believe these officers need more human diversity and culture continuing courses and they need to create a new curriculum in the police academy. They need more minority officers that are not afraid to deal with the children and will show up when called and could provide a role model to these children.
    Daley needs to leave office

    October 3, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  141. Jamal

    Ultimately, Chicago is a City well vested in crime and corruption. The politicians and other leaders continually neglect the citizens as they enrich themselves through lucrative contracts and other means. The Mayor has consistently appointed individuals in positions of power such as School CEO Ron Huberman and Arne Duncan that lack the necessary skills to perform effectively. Neither even qualifies to be principles in the Chicago public school system. Systematic corruption throughout the government from Mayor to Governor has inhibited any true value added initiative to work at ground level. The City Council has been hand selected and only acts as a rubber stamp to Mayoral pet projects. The Mayors children attended private schools; Alderman’s children go to selective enrollment schools that outperform neighborhood schools. The Mayor has run large Manufactures and other employment producing companies out of the city with huge tax increases. The police department is discredited and not trusted because of wide spread corruption and abuse against black communities. On and On and On....

    October 3, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  142. Brenda

    I live in the suburbs of Chicago. It begins with training the police. They need more minority officers to CONFORM TO THEIR ENVIRNOMENT. Many of the officers are WASP officers thrown into these areas and the officers never show up or show up 20 mins after the violence has occurred. As a former cop, I believe these officers need more human diversity and culture continuing courses and they need to create a new curriculum in the police academy. They need more minority officers that are not afraid to deal with the children and will show up when called and could provide a role model to these children.

    October 3, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  143. Kathy Day

    I think they need to talk to these boys that commited this horrific crime to this honor student / good boy. Ask them why? What would drive them to want to just beat another human being until they killed them. They need to get into their minds, their way of thinking. If it goes back to their own insecurities, maybe their upbringing, then change that. Something has to be done! These kids should not be carrying this much rage.

    October 3, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
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