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August 21st, 2009
03:48 PM ET

Chicago's Deadly Streets: How to Stop the Teen Violence

School children have been dying in alarming numbers in Chicago, many of them from the city's South Side. CNN's Don Lemon sat down with U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan to discuss possible solutions. Before being tapped by President Obama to head the Education Department, Duncan was CEO of the Chicago Public Schools, so he brings a personal perspective to the issue.

Filed under: Chicago's Deadly Streets • Don Lemon
soundoff (81 Responses)
  1. Zoe


    August 21, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  2. marvin a. revitch

    I watch CNN every day but why Jack Cffetty wont wear a jacket it really looks bad. Please let me know.

    August 21, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  3. Betty Phillips

    Hey zoe!! get a life, maybe you have eaten too many pineapples and nuts to know that the Republicans are not your enemy, you need to grab a book and read as to what is happenning to our country at this very minute, I do not believe a Republican is in the office that is doing his darnest to destroy our nation, if you feel Obama is in need of help to complete the destroying of a great nation, do us all a favor and see if he will let you help him. It seems all the democrats are in need of help, Poor Bill Clinton even seeked the help from Monica and he did a good job of destroying her, but, she was only a starry eyed young person that he used violently. Here is an idea, try going back to school and strengthen your knowledge, it will be soooo very good for you.

    August 21, 2009 at 7:09 pm |
  4. Ned L. McCray


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

    Ned L. McCray
    Retired principal of Simeon H. S.
    Tinley Park, Ill.

    August 21, 2009 at 7:53 pm |
  5. gale

    zoe & marvin, wrong forum, the topic Chicago deadly streets

    August 22, 2009 at 8:24 am |
  6. michael armstrong sr.

    If Chicago is having such of a state of emergency and the local police cant control the streets then why dont the governer call out the national guard to regain civil disapline.

    August 22, 2009 at 9:15 am |
  7. Larry Young

    SImple: We take the money that we're sending to Israel and we send it to the police department in Chicago so that they can have the tools and manpower they need. We take people like the Education Secretary who walks around in a suit and tie and who does nothing more than crunch numbers and "show concern", and me have them LIVE in the district where the shootings occur. Trust me, the shootings will stop.

    August 22, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  8. stormerF

    you want to stop the violence,Use a Mandatory curfew,No one on the streets after 12;00 midnight. That will stop a lot of the violence ,then a curfew at 10;00 PM UNLESS YOUR 21 OR OLDER....That is if you really want to stop the violence... Curfews work and there really is no reason a child under 21 needs to be on the streets after 10 pm at night till 06:00 AM in the morning.. There is not one good reason to be hanging out on the streets that late.

    August 22, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  9. Bernard

    I just saw your segment about Chicago's Deadly Streets; however I'm perplexed why you didn't address the problems that cause these heartaches in the streets of Chicago or any city in the United States. The problems in Chicago are not so much different than cities like LA, Detroit, Atlanta or Boston. Complex issues should be addressed that conclude to these reports, such as police funding or lack thereof, unemployment, community underdevelopment, and most importantly, parental responsibilities. How can cities like Chicago guide these children if their parents are not even involved? It's unfair to implicitly put the blame on 2.8 million people when the entire country faces the same problems.

    August 22, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  10. James of Houston

    The best way to stop teen violence on the streets to Chicago is to impose a city-wide curfew. The parents of these kids should make sure they are home studying and doing their homework! That’s probably hard to do though when their fathers are in prison and/or contribute nothing to child support!

    August 22, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  11. Lora Posey

    Hi Don,

    This problem is happening everywhere in the world and I do agree with the school teacher about treating the gang members like our brothers, uncles, etc. Here in Mississippi, I started a Ministry called P.A.G.E Ministries, INC/P.A.G.E Ministries 4 God, which means Parents Against Gang Evolvement in my community and I'm doing it without any money at all.

    Need the money but when it gets as bad as it has gotten in the past few years because our children are dying, it's time to do something. It's time for our communities to step up and say enough is enough.

    You can visit my website at to get a ideal of what I do. I'm glad to know that there are others who are concerned about this problem.

    God Bless!

    August 22, 2009 at 7:52 pm |
  12. Barry E Edwards

    I think that we need more leadership on a local level . If the local governments are only concerned about budgets and selective protection , this problem will expand beyond chicago. Law enforcement in this country is reative instead of proactive

    August 22, 2009 at 7:58 pm |
  13. Ziv

    Larry Young is a racist. Maybe first you stop dealing with terrorists.

    August 22, 2009 at 8:01 pm |
  14. Behind Enemy Lines in IL

    Let law abiding citizens own and carry handguns in order to protect themselves. Chicago has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country. It's obviously not working. It's time for a change! CCW in IL!

    August 22, 2009 at 10:13 pm |
  15. GC

    Why expect Jack Cafferty to wear a jacket when he is on-air, when Bill Gates never seems to wear a jacket or tie! Is it because Gates earns
    more than poor old Jack? Take up an online collection an purchase a nice jacket for Jack!

    August 22, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  16. Greg

    Were is Sharpton or Jackson, they only seem to show outrage when they are on gotcha police. If they are so African, and care so much about there people why aren't they being as loud as they would if it was racially beneficial them . They to suggest that the national gaurd take to the streets, unless they feel that it woul look bad for Africans to have to be baby say because they can't keep from killing each other. FIX YOUR IMAGE FROM THE INSIDE BEFORE YOU WORRY ABOUT YOUR IMAGE FROM THE OUTSIDE, THE BLAME GAME DOESN'T HELP YOUR CAUSE!!!!

    August 22, 2009 at 10:38 pm |
  17. Charles "BraCharles" Lonon

    This is a world issue and if we do not make it our first issue. We are doom to destroy the world according to what my bible say. We must start to train this next generation to love their neighbor. Here me when I say,
    "If we save the children, we will save the world." This need to my the World message not just a USA thing. We are living in the last day. Study your bible and you will know the truth and it will set you free. Free to blow the trumpet on this issue.

    August 22, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  18. atlchaz

    Throughout the slavery and the the civil rights struggles, African-Americans have always turned to the church. Why aren't the black churches more vocal and visible about the rampant crime being committed by our young black males not just in Chicago but country wide? This is an epidemic that is out of control in black communities and the churches don't seem to be doing enough to combat this issue.

    August 22, 2009 at 10:40 pm |
  19. Michael

    It's pretty sad to see that this is the way things are in Chicago. It's things like this that make me wonder if there are any chances for improvement in anything in our world anymore. The world IS like a ghetto.

    August 22, 2009 at 10:41 pm |
  20. Pete Arens

    We need to get the slums out of the people. We won't be able to take the people out of the slums. We need to work on the basic principles of honesty and respect for others. Just telling people to not shoot will not work.

    August 22, 2009 at 10:42 pm |
  21. Justin

    Gun control will NOT make a difference. Gun laws affect law bidding citizens, not drug dealers. Drug dealers are breaking the law when they sell drugs, so why would they care about gun laws. Chicago has some of the strictest gun laws in the country and they have the largest gun problem.

    August 22, 2009 at 10:43 pm |
  22. John McCoy

    Do they have neighborhood watch or have a program similar to San Antonio's Cellular on Patrol. I participated in both while living in San Antonio. The website is:

    August 22, 2009 at 10:44 pm |
  23. BBVM

    You're all just blowing hot air until you get smart and legalize drugs. See Law Enforcement Against Prohibition at

    August 22, 2009 at 10:45 pm |
  24. David R. Palmer

    Dear Messrs Emery & Lemon:

    I saw your piece on the Chicago killings Saturday night. The statistics are indeed horrendous. But once again you at CNN have managed unfailingly to draw the wrong lesson from them.

    Implicit in your story is the suggestion that "if we could just make guns illegal and get them off the streets," everyone would be so much safer and happier and better off.


    If we could get *all* the guns off the streets.


    If we could just get all the *drugs* off the streets, everyone would be so much safer and happier and better off, too.

    Hmm . . . Wait. Aren't drugs already illegal?

    So how's *that* coming . . . ?

    When has making something illegal ever gotten it off the streets?

    Alcohol? As in Prohibition?

    Hey, I guess we learned our lesson there, didn't we.

    Oh, I guess not. We tried it again with drugs.

    But criminal enterprise is capitalism in its purest form. Availability controls price: The tighter the crackdown in any given area, the higher the street price goes, and the more inducement there is for smugglers and dealers to bring it in. Even now, doesn't the government admit that 90 percent of all smuggled drugs make it to the street?

    In heaven's name, Emery and Lemon; you're obviously intelligent persons. What on earth makes you think banning guns, and particularly handguns, would produce a different result?

    (What's the textbook definition of insanity? Trying the same thing over and over again, even though it's never worked in the past, isn't working at present, but expecting a different outcome.)

    Illinois and Wisconsin are the only two states left which absolutely ban concealed weapons permits for civilians (courtesy, incidentally, of governors' vetoes; twice the legislatures of both states have tried to pass concealed carry). This means that only in Illinois and Wisconsin are law-abiding civilians absolutely guaranteed to be unarmed when gang-bangers and criminals of every persuasion decide to attack them or casually settle their own differences on residential streets in a hail of bullets.

    In every jurisdiction where so-called must-issue concealed-carry has become law, violent crime has gone down significantly. Why would you think arming the law-abiding citizens of Chicago would turn out differently? Don't you trust your own people?

    Concealed-carry has been around for years; Florida has had it since 1978. No where has there been the bloodbath organized law-enforcement predicted, in their efforts to prevent this legislation from being passed. Not even in Miami, where, due to what some regard as a hotter-blooded population mix, many were expecting to be completely out of control.

    Do you really want to cut down on the murder rate in Chicago? Arm the good guys.

    Otherwise, keep pushing to keep Illinois and Wisconsin demilitarized zones for honest citizens.

    Yeah, that'll work. Hey, look how successful it's been in the past.

    Very truly,

    David R. Palmer
    Williston, FL

    August 22, 2009 at 10:46 pm |
  25. John McCoy

    Legalizing Marijuana might take a big bite out of crime, make money for towns and make prison population less.

    August 22, 2009 at 10:46 pm |
  26. Peggy Penney

    Does anyone really believe that gun control laws would stop any of this senseless killing? People doing such crime are not carrying legally obtained weapons. Fort Worth, Texas had a similar gang problem several years ago. They cleaned it up considerably by pouring resources into gang control. Until the law enforcement gets serious about stopping the gang violence, no amount of gun control laws will change anything.

    August 22, 2009 at 10:46 pm |
  27. Kim

    How to stop teen violence? Take the guns out of their hands. This is not the Wild, Wild West anymore and guns have no place in peoples' homes, let alone in the hands of teens or any citizens for that matter. Gang violence and armed robberies provide blatant proof of this huge problem in America. Here in Canada, we go to sleep and wake up knowing that neighbours on our streets, in our cities, in our country are prohibited from having the weapons that are rampantly used in the U.S. to threaten, hurt and kill fellow citizens. For the safety of all, weapons belong only in the hands of responsible peacekeepers. It is a system that works very well in our democracy.

    August 22, 2009 at 10:49 pm |
  28. Velma Adams

    I am so happy that you are doing this piece. Throughout this country, neighborhoods are dealing with drug trafficking and gangs, with the thread of violence going through it. I do believe that it can be helped through schools, using conflict resolution programs such as Peer Mediation, Second Step (a character education program that teaches students how to treat each other and how to deal with the pressures of gangs), gang intervention programs that teach students about the threat of gang violence and where it leads.
    As an Assistant Principal, I made it a priority to set up a Peer Mediation program. It worked very well with students helping students work through conflicts. I had teachers teach a Second Step program to help build character skills and teach students how to empathize with others, how to communicate better and work through conflict and how to deal with the pressures of gangs. I also had people come in, (a former gang member) and speak with students about the realities of gang life. These kinds of programs help, especially if you can get parents involved. They should actually start in Elementary school. Many gang members come from homes where the parents are also gang members.
    Thanks for doing this program. We need more of this.

    August 22, 2009 at 10:49 pm |
  29. John McCoy

    How long does it take to "moderate" comments?

    August 22, 2009 at 10:52 pm |
  30. Stefano E


    We have the taliban, insurgents, and Al-Qaeda terrorists killing our soldiers, their own people, and the victim of 9/11, and those numbers are less than the amount of KIDS that gangs kill in our cities.

    When is somebody going to realize, that gangs should be treated like terrorists, and have a "national guard" go after them and eliminate them like the roaches and vermen they are.......

    Wake up, the nexrt life they might take can be yours.

    August 22, 2009 at 10:55 pm |
  31. John Mikkila

    The solution to this problem begins in the communties where these needless deaths are occuring. "Don't Snitch" and similar anti-police or us against them ideas need to change, and can only be changed by the people in these communities. Yes, the government should help, but first you must help yourself.

    August 22, 2009 at 10:57 pm |
  32. kel

    It is so sad to see that the number of inocent victims are higher than the real war zone which is afghanistan.;i belive in a city like this we need to have either more police officer or street military to protect the citizin of chicago.

    August 22, 2009 at 11:03 pm |
  33. Todd

    I am not a parent but I am a the Baby brother of girl 14 who was mudered in nov of 91 I never lived in Chicago but my father was born n raised My sister story is old but still hurts I have no answers 2what really happen I would like2 find out what happen I would like 2meet her family vist her school n where she was buried even get one little picture of her Iwanted 2move on I find it hard to with out answers without answers there is no peace please what ever you can do I whould be very greatful

    August 22, 2009 at 11:03 pm |
  34. Tito

    The government wants to see our people kill off each other. They don't care about the guns distributed on our streets that saves them time and money. They don't care about our education or jobs and that is why our children look at these times with no hope and respect in their hearts. Our family has lost a nephew and have another one in the hospital for th a gunshot wound. People are giving up on hope because our laws aren't enforced properly. Our mayor is getting ready to lay off 3,000 officials and they have the nerve to announce that our cops will be laid off too. What is this world coming too! GREED! Kiladelphia and we call this the "City of Brotherly"?

    August 22, 2009 at 11:06 pm |
  35. Don

    I watched this segment this evening and couldn't help but notice that there was no mention of the fact that Chicago has some of the toughest gun laws in the country. Chicago is a great case study in how gun control is totally ineffective. Reason: Those who ignore laws that prohibit murder and drug dealing WILL NOT obey laws prohibiting guns. Why don't people get this?

    August 22, 2009 at 11:09 pm |
  36. Rev. Michael Howard

    Guns don't kill people, people with guns with mayhem and murder in the hearts and in their minds kill people. We can change the name of any urban city where the destruction of the family has been allowed and systematically assisted and the reality is the same or worst. The foundation of all civilizations is the family. Just like a house that loses its foundation, it will surely fall. What this program is highlighting is the 'fall' of the Black Family in America and a horrifying by-product of this is gun violence and homicide. This daily horror is predicated on the demonic absence of human and family values, which have produced a generation of young people, whom have no heart, nor souls. Their hearts and souls were "lost, stolen or strayed" when the family and then the family was 'surrendered' to a maddening sense of affluence and materialism over human worth, family and community values-A deadly systematic exchange. Dr. W.E.B. Dubois, wrote about, "The Souls of Black Folks", now we are witnessing the Black Folks that have no souls, because of the systematic destruction of the Black Family and community. The answer is reclaiming our humanity, by any educational and informational means necessary!

    August 22, 2009 at 11:09 pm |

    Just watched the show and wanted to add my ideas.
    Its a idea I have been trying to get exposure for the past year called KIDCORP CONCERTS TO CORPORATIONS. The plan was to do benefits that open franchises and purchase REAL ESTATE like small office buildings that kids own and work in. Each kid will have a share of this private equity like firm which will create a job as well as divedends. I even have several entertainer willing to perform for this cause at Please help me fill this void created by kids trying to change their lives without a source of income.


    August 22, 2009 at 11:12 pm |
  38. Don

    By the way Mayor Daly, CLEAR YOUR SCHEDULE!!!! There's nothing more important than dealing with the violence in your city!

    August 22, 2009 at 11:14 pm |
  39. Stan Loscko

    Mr. Lemon,
    You are naive if you think baning guns would stop drug associated gang violence. Wow, I can not believe I am hearing you say that. Like this would stop criminal from carrying guns! OMG! Listen, Mexico just dicriminalized small amounts of recreational drugs. That is a great idea which I would not only recommend we do but I would extend it to legalization to REMOVE THE PROFIT MOTIVE OF A MULTI BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY. Mr. Lemon you seem like a smart guy but to suggest guns are the cause is utter nonsense. Yeah great, take away guns and only criminals will have them! GREAT IDEA DON!!! omg. Think real hard Don about what we as a country could do with the hundreds of billions of dollars associated with the use of recreational drugs if we tax and controled them ourselves insted of the drug cartels. You did not think this thru. Those poor people at the end of your segment actually believe that by President Obama asking people to stop the violence that will do it. omg. After viewing your report I would recommend EDUCATION. Lets remove the profit incentive of the drug cartels and their minions (gangs) and lets capture this revenue ourselves and USE IT FOR GOOD. Build schools, build hospitals, build roads, build drug treament centers. TAKE AWAY THE PROFIT MOTIVE DON, AND THE PROBLEMS WILL DRY UP.

    August 22, 2009 at 11:15 pm |
  40. PavePusher

    "Gun Control" was mentioned several times. It should have been pointed out that Chicago has had one of the nations strictest set of "gun control" laws for decades, yet they have proven to be totally ineffective.

    Perhaps it's time to follow the actual Constitution and restore the Chicago citizens' right to "keep and bear arms" so as to defend themselves, since the police (when they are not actually abusing those they are supposed to protect) obviously are not capable of doing so. It seems to work around most of the rest of the country; I am sure Chicagoans are at least as capable as residents of, say, Vermont or Arizona or, (Gasp!), Cheyenne, Wyoming.

    August 22, 2009 at 11:17 pm |
  41. Rachel

    I felt that i had to comment after watching this segment on T.V., because of what i had just seen. I believe everyone have to work together and not point fingers. I think the Ceasefire program is a great idea. There also has to be more after school programs and a way to get these kids to find out what they have in common instead of shooting first, maybe they dont realize that bullets can reach anyone just like there own mother/father/child/brother/sister/girlfriend. It is normal to hear that someone was shot, but what if it was your fault & you killed your own family members, by accident. Maybe they would think twice before shooting randomly at least if not at all. i also saw the video they showed with the riot & i was shocked. I live in NY and that video showed me why the violence is so high. These kids know that they are untouchable and so they have no fear of consequence. I do not believe that jail corrects everything, i do not think everyone should be locked up forever. People do Change !! BUT, if there was a riot in NY, i bet the police would show up sooner & with back-up right away, all or most of the kids involved would be stopped, searched, hopefully stripped of weapons, id'ed and if needed then arrested. Just to watch the Chicago Police drive up to the group of kids after a while with one squad car, not stopping, blarring sirens & telling the kids to move on....IS A JOKE. These kids know that the police are scared to get out of the car, and too busy to interupt the riot, these kids know that the police just want the violence to go away. Without these kids getting in trouble, they will just move the riot down the block and around the corner...all the while keeping their weapons of choice for every fight. These kids will get used to just shooting and running and laughing because the police dont show up & no one will be caught for the crimes. So after seeing that video, it shows me that more RANDOM people will be killed & more kids realizing that its no big deal or too big a deal for people to be caught.

    GOOD LUCK !!"

    I say, try to reach the kids in school & through the Ceasefire program

    August 22, 2009 at 11:17 pm |
  42. Corey Stokes

    Mr. Duncan has a lot to say about what needs to be done to help children feel safe in school and says that it is hard for kids to learn when they don't feel safe or are hungry, sleepy, etc. He even mentions 400 million or billion dollars that is out there for school districts that have violence and other socioeconomic issues. But for the life of me I can't understand why school districts should in Duncan's words "compete" for the funds. If the kids are scared, they're scared! What kind of competition do you have to see whose fears are eased and whose become larger nightmares? He said that he has two children. If both of them wake up in the middle of the night screaming from bad dreams, do they compete to see which room he goes to? Hell no! He makes sure that he checks on both of them and gives them both the attention they need until they feel safe enough to return to bed. Comments and thought like his are part of the problem and the real reason why change is so slow to come. Instead of just doing what needs to be done, people like him sit back and play games with the aide that people in these situations desperately need.

    August 22, 2009 at 11:26 pm |
  43. Steve Parscale

    It is pretty clear, if you look at the empirical research, that the number of concealed carry permits issued reduce the most violent crimes in most populated areas like major cities (Chicago) at the highest rate or at what the research concludes as the most statistically significant. But Chicago wants o remain a gun free zone, so only the criminals have guns. If good citizens are allowed to carry guns the bad guys do not know who is armed and their crime becomes more of a Risk then an easy prey opportunity.

    August 22, 2009 at 11:32 pm |
  44. Elena Chvany

    Don Lemon and Arne Duncan: We have a new curriculum to present in Seattle, starting with 5th graders, designed to teach skills of conflict prevention. We expect to attract experienced teachers and other educators, along with people representing diverse sectors of the Seattle community. Elena Chvany R'62, Isaiah Landers, Thomas Wilkerson, Ariel Atlas, and other founders of One Voice of Peace.

    August 23, 2009 at 12:22 am |
  45. Stan Loscko

    We need to change the incentives regarding drugs in the US.
    Legalization would remove the profit motive behind the cartels and their proxy gangs. If we could capture the recreational drug revenue and use it for good (building schools, hospitals, roads) the drug gangs would go away. Like what the lottery did to the numbers racquet, legalization would do to the drug gangs. The Mexican government just decriminalized small amount of all types of recreation drugs.

    August 23, 2009 at 12:40 am |
  46. Frank

    You know what this topic is getting boring, fast. When will you realize that when you want to do things by the book, treat these gangs with the same human rights as the rest of us, and talk and talk and talk, you will get no where. The gangs dont have a book, they dont live by a set of rules. That is why they will always be around. You want to do things in a orderly fashion and you get no where with it. no where. why are you giving them the same rights as the rest of us. they dont care about life or anyone else. you may be able to help a few of them get out the life. for every 3 you help 9 more joined. if they are noticed as gang members, grab em, lock em up for now, dont wait til they do something. it all has to do with are laws. when will you ever learn that those that dont live by rules, and laws, or care about life will always be around as long as there is some type of compassion to them.

    August 23, 2009 at 2:58 am |
  47. Frank Reed

    Don, as I watch your awesome interview about the violence in Chicago, I taught about how heart breaking it is to watch theses kids with no hope. When you have a young man with no father to teach him how to be a man; you add hopelessness to that, destruction is inevitable. That is the real crime! The guns are the weapon of choice but the true cause for this epidemic is loss of hope and fatherless families.
    Many years ago when drive by shooting, were on every news channel and no one could figure out what was causing this deadly phenomenon. It dawned on me, what I believe to be the reason for what seemed to be a random but deadly act of violence.
    In a home where a young boy are raised by a single parent, (usually mom) he has spent most of his life watching his mom and picking up her character traits. In the move Fly Away Home (a 1996 film, directed by Carroll Ballard, about the daughter (Anna Paquin) of a widower (Jeff Daniels) who, with her father, leads a flock of geese to a safe nesting place) this was called imprinting. How does a woman usually respond when she breaks a finger nail, runs a pair of hose, breaks the heel on her shoe or accidentally ruins dinner? Her response is usually very emotional. I am not criticizing her for reacting emotionally because that is a vital part of her makeup. Those very emotions are a source of strength, wisdom and compassion in a time of resolving challenging situations and crisis. They are often the glue that holds the family together.
    However when a fifteen year old boy, struggling with raging hormones, peer pressure, acceptance, hopelessness and abandonment by an absentee father. Has his brand new sneakers stepped on, now he defaults to responding emotionally, anger rushes to take the top spot in this emotional pyramid. Then the testosterone kicks in and fuels the anger. Then the young boy wants to act like a man with no previous training or knowledge of how to be a man. This formula would have the same destructive affect as violently shaking, a vile of nitro glycerin.
    We also must take responsibility for one other major factor. We have sent the message to our young people that there life dose not matter. In return they have learned that lesson all to well. However they interpret to say that not only does their life not matter. To them no life matters!!! That’s why they create their own families, we know them as gangs.
    Love is still the answer. How do you spell Love? A hot meal, a warm bed, safe neighborhoods, a good education and a well paying job so that mom and dad can raise a family. Remember life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Too often to the families of the children that are dying on our streets, this is like trying to catch a fist full of smoke. Thank you for allowing me to share my heart. I do believe that I may have some solutions.


    August 23, 2009 at 4:02 am |
  48. Dre

    Chicago is no different from cleveland,philly,L.A. or any other city. You can't stop one city without stopping them all. That's not going to happen so I say stay ready. And by the way Don Lemon & Solidad O'brian do not represent inner city soulful black people......

    August 23, 2009 at 4:54 am |
  49. oliver banks


    It is surprising to me that the real cause of this extreme violence is not discussed more openly. In your report the ex-drug dealer expressed it simply, the cause is MONEY! Better stated, the lack of money and good jobs in the black neighborhoods of America. It seems to me to be as much an economic issue as it is a violence issue. Young African Americans see the finer things that money can buy and want those things too. Commercials boombard them with fine cars, houses, vacations to exotic places and the like and of course these thing appeal to everyone. They know the only way to get these trappings of the good life is to get money. Since a good education is denied them at an early age and they lose hope, they seek other methods to live the good life. Moreover, the media adds fuel to the fire by glamorizing the hip-hop lifestyle of being tough and having lots of woman and drinking expensive alcohol and selling drugs and resolving beefs(differences) with guns. So, they sell drugs for fast and easy profit and defend their turf by "any means necessary" and innocent people get killed. Where are the drugs and guns coming from? Where are the enterprises that can capture all this untapped labor? Why does educational opportunity fail blacks in this country? Finally, it seems that we have accepted this evil culture as status quo and washed our hands of it and bulit more prisons and graveyards. A country that sends people to the moon and orbits the earth monthly in spacecrafts and builds and maintains nuclear weapons should be able and willing to educate its citizens in a serious manner and not just warehouse them from 8-3 p.m. Too many cures for diseases, and inventions to better this world and raw robust talent is being shot down and addicted in the streets of America.

    August 23, 2009 at 6:36 am |
  50. D Wallace

    There Is All this hype about the President is not strong enough on the issues of Health Care. He is a very smart and brillant man and is just sitting back and giving everyone a chance to debate, vent and have their opinions including some members of Congress, some media outlets; distorting the facts, he is a good observant.

    You can be assured after his vacation he will come out with the SPEECH OF THE CENTURY and everyone will know who is in charge. Sometimes "SILENCE IS GOLDEN", HE HAS NOT FORGOTTEN WHO ELECTED HIM THAT IS WHAT YOU CALL CHANGE IN WASHINGTON FOR THE PEOPLE.

    August 23, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  51. Joan

    Don: Both your comments and the comments of both your guests with regard to Obama actions re gays was totally incorrect. Research the facts and you will find out the TRUTH. Obama has said the issue will be dealt later this year or early next year. He does have rather a lot on his plate right now!!!

    August 23, 2009 at 7:06 pm |
  52. Rob Fisher

    Hi Don, I'm convinced that all this violence is a direct consequence of the high level of teenage pregnancy and it's concomitant problem... no fathers.

    August 23, 2009 at 7:36 pm |
  53. Gary

    Once again CNN delivers! It's shocking that parents in Chicago and the rest of the country aren't hugging and loving their kids more. I'm sure the killing would slow down if these kids had more self-esteem. Unfortunately, this story IS scary, but it needs to be told because it is happening.

    August 23, 2009 at 7:47 pm |
  54. Rob Fisher

    Hi Don... Henry David Thoreau stated that "there are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root." I think a "root" not being addressed here is the national rampant teenage pregnancy rate. A child from an intact family with a father, I feel, is less likely to join a gang or pick up a gun.

    August 23, 2009 at 7:53 pm |
  55. Chris

    Has anyone thought of arming law abiding citizens. Everyone is so will to promote gun laws. All that does is take the right off of law abiding people to defend themselves. Thugs and criminals still get guns and commit crimes. Give people more right to bear arms and crime rate will go down.

    August 23, 2009 at 7:54 pm |
  56. Jan

    Thank you, Don for bringing a serious problem to national attention. I have visited juvenille detention centers where the basketball courts were state of the art and no additional tutoring was provided to the young men who were 17 year olds and read at a 2nd grade reading level. Thank you.

    August 23, 2009 at 7:57 pm |
  57. Robert Sheesley

    The government of the city of Chicago has its priorities backwards. The solution to the issue with the violence on Chicago's streets is E-cubed (Education, Enforcement, Everyone). Education of the cities youth is needed. That will cost more. Enforcement of the laws for those that choose to commit violent acts is needed. That will cost more. Everyone (including the city government) needs to devote time and money to this effort to clean up these streets. Ask the city of Chicago how much it pays the private firm to collect parking ticket revenue. Really? Parking ticket revenue? Are the criminals of Chicago parking illegally? No! The criminals of Chicago are wielding AK-47's and shooting its children. Mayor Daley and Team need to get their priorities straight.

    August 23, 2009 at 7:58 pm |
  58. Louis Hill

    I am a former resdient of Chicago Public Housing Cabrini Green. I am now 39 years old so I have been through it and have seen a lot. Threre is a leadership vacuum in Chicago's inner city. Because all of the gang leaders are incarcerated with extensive sentences there is no one willing to fill the void. Mayor Daley and federal officials decided to crack down on gang leaders/potential gang leaders with lenghty federal prison sentences. Don, you asked Chris Mattell a key question "why in Chicago and not in ohter cities" It all begins with Mayor Daley's – U.S. attroney General Patrick Fitzgreald striking fear of incaceration on the leadership of these gangs. The leadership of these gangs are what control gangs and not bureacrats with ties and suits on. Do some reasearch! When Leaders like Larry Hoover, Jeff Fort, Gino and others, back in 1992-1993 began a peace summit from coast to coast, gang crime decreased. Chicago Political Leaders saw this power to organize by gang leaders as a direct threat to their own dynasties. So if you check it out you will see a sharp spike in the murder and crime rate in Chicago, because of a lack of gang leadership. We are the highest taxed state in the nation, with one of the highest murder rates in the country. This is Mayor Daley's chicken coming home to roost. Instead of working with gang leaders, they lock them up and try to throw away the key. I agree that discipline and education should start at home. But we are in the midst of the 1980-90's Crack Baby generation. Crack coacine destroyed traditional family values in most Chicago communities.

    August 23, 2009 at 7:59 pm |
  59. Louis Hill

    Add more Youth Oriented programs. More Male involvmemt programs, more parenting programs. We are witnessing a real vacuum in leadership in Chicago's inner cities. When political leaders decide to incarcerate; as opposed to working with the gang leadership you will conitune to see reckless behavior from our youth. Our youth need real roadmaps to success. Education is the key. But if you have a drug conviction you are almost certain to be disqualified from obtaining student loan assistance. The city of Chicago-Cook County is the highest income taxed city-county in the nation and yet there are very few initiatives that are working in the community to actually engage gang leadershp and bring some resolution to the problem. It will continue and even get worse.

    August 23, 2009 at 8:11 pm |
  60. John Murphy


    Thank you for getting beyond sound bite newscasting and actually doing some in depth research. Your "Chicago's Deadly Streets" segment was informative and exemplifies the purpose of media. I live in Pennsylvania and was touched by the depth of your reporting, which gives credibility to the issue. You may not realize it but, somewhere down the road, your in depth reporting will contribute to the end this ignorant violence. As a result, you will save a life not yet lost. My heart and prayers go out to the parents of those beautiful innocent children caught in the crossfire.

    Sleep well tonight knowing you have serve a purpose.


    August 23, 2009 at 8:12 pm |
  61. Lt. Joseph J. Muffoletto, ret.

    Don, I found your coverage of the "Chicago's Deadly Streets" program to be very interesting and informative. I instruct Criminal Justice at Mainland High school in Daytona Beach, Fl. and one of my blocks of curriculum covers crime in the United States including Juvenile crime and gangs. I would like to use this presentation in my class room. Please advise how I can receive a clean copy ot his program to be used as part of my lecture.
    Thank you in advance for your time in this matter

    August 23, 2009 at 8:12 pm |
  62. bobby

    i'm from chicago, but i live in montgomery now with my son. this is why we are in montgomery because of the violence there and i was not going to let that happen to my son. The mayor need to do his job and stop blaming everything on the president.

    August 23, 2009 at 8:17 pm |
  63. jrn

    This is due to several factors

    1. Quality of education.

    2. Parents lacking responsibility.

    3. Teenage syndromes

    4. Life style and culture

    5. America taking more interests in the affairs of other nations and spending less money in the welfare of Americans.


    6. Needs strict laws for such things to punish them seriously.

    August 23, 2009 at 8:27 pm |
  64. Didier Chatelain

    How many trillions of dollars do we intend to spend to eliminate terrorism in the Middle East before we do what is necessary to eliminate terrorism at home? Don Lemon's eye opening program about Chicago's deadly streets underlines the government's dysfunction and reluctance to accept that our addiction to drugs and money have caused advanced stage internal cancer that, unless we act drastically, could well prove terminal.

    August 23, 2009 at 8:28 pm |
  65. Philip W. Steinberg

    I am a former Chicagoan. I'm appalled by what I saw on your special report. I admire the efforts of those who act to stem the violence. The efforts do not go far enough. I heard nothing about anti-gang injunctions, the violation of which would be an automatic jail term. I heard nothing about personal responsibility of those in the gangs, or the parents of the gang members.

    Chicago officials and the police are using softer methods when there is an obvious need for more draconian action. The gangs are criminal enterprises and criminal conspiracies. Why can't state and Federal law simply put every gang, wherever situated out of business. The gang members are not victims, they are criminals, and should be treated as such. Every avenue of law enforcement should be used to stop the gang violence. If necessary, bring in the National Guard. What are City and State officials waiting for?

    August 23, 2009 at 8:37 pm |
  66. babarishka

    Let's see: the government has spent trillions of dollars bailing out the bankster criminals (that caused the present economic crisis in the first place) instead of throwing them in jail, billions of dollars have been spent on useless wars in the middle east and yet we can do nothing about gang violence. This doesn't seem logical does it?

    The fact is, the government has PURPOSELY allowed our inner cities to become war zones. When the economy comes crashing down, some government created pandemic like H1N1 breaks out AND,as a result, the millions of gang bangers in this nation begin raping and pillaging in the suburbs, all of the mild-mannered businessmen and soccer moms will be BEGGING for martial law to be enstated. This is exactly what our banker-owned government wants. Of course, let's not forget that the CIA is the biggest drug importer in this country – they've been in the drug biz since at least the Vietnam war.

    This is not paranoia. Per

    "The National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive, which also places the Secretary of Homeland Security in charge of domestic "security", was signed on May 9th (2007) without the approval or oversight of Congress and seemingly supercedes the National Emergency Act which allows the president to declare a national emergency but also requires that Congress have the authority to "modify, rescind, or render dormant" such emergency authority if it believes the president has acted inappropriately.

    Journalist Jerome Corsi, who has studied the directive also states that it makes no reference to Congress and "its language appears to negate any requirement that the president submit to Congress a determination that a national emergency exists."

    Hitler burned down the Reichstag government building in 1933, blamed it on the Communists and was able to enstate his dictatorial regime with much greater ease. 9/11 has accomplished the same in this country (funny how three separate buildings can come crashing down in a perfect free fall as if they were controlled demolitions – building 3 was not even hit by an airliner). Our constitutional rights have been subsequently eviscerated via the Patriot Act and Homeland Security Act. Coincidence?

    In other words, if any type of national emergency reared it's ugly head, the president (i.e., the bankers and military/industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned us about in his final address to the nation) now has dictatorial power to enstate martial law indefinitely, given the aforementioned recent unconstitutional executive orders.

    Get informed. We are not living in a democracy but an oligarchy. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    August 23, 2009 at 9:14 pm |
  67. babarishka

    Sorry, that was building 7 that was not hit by a plane. If CNN clears the above posting I will be quite surprised.

    August 23, 2009 at 9:22 pm |
  68. floyd mix

    Chicago school murders was a very good it put a spot light on a growing problem in chicago iam from chicago and know that some murders go unreported in chicago thats the way it is.You go the east side west side northside southside its the same thing young boys hanging out. Nothing to do but look for drama .No real role models to follow.98% of crimes DRUG RELATED. I dont know what it going to take. if they would stop letting all of these drugs in crime would go down drastically.thanks for the spotlight but in the end the spotlight will dim and they will go back to the only they know SHOOT PEOPLE

    August 23, 2009 at 9:39 pm |
  69. GC

    Chicago violence and killing does not surprise me in the least!
    Guns and violence are the norm for most Americans – Most Americans have a mind set about the ownership of guns as being a "right".
    I much prefer life in Canada where medical care is a "right"
    The NRA folks are just a bunch of gun crazed sickos!

    August 23, 2009 at 9:51 pm |
  70. m. e. skipworth

    Don Lemon:
    cc: Chicago Killings
    As a retired teacher who taught in all Black integrated schools, hospitals, home bound, and detention homes for students for 35 years, I want you to hear and reap information from my experience.
    * To churches: the mission field today is in the public schools,
    * In the early 70s a Title I program had teachers teach four hours, use one hour for plan, and have one hour of community contact daily. The community contact could involve visiting in the homes of students or teaching evening classes to parents of students. This program was a very positive step in communicating with the community. Interaction was positive and the school really turned around, but it was canceled.
    *I taught in an inner city school and a girl was killed with a knife just below my room. I could not have done anything had I been there. I recommend that some of the armed reservists be placed in class rooms and in the halls to assist with discipline. We had two security guards for 2,000 students. That didn't get it. Males are needed in the schools.
    When I taught home bound students, I taught students who had been expelled for violence, some for shooting other students, and others for carrying weapons. I also taught students who had been shot or injured in hospitals and their homes. There are no easy answers, but one year I had 43 students in one class. That is just too many students.
    *The media, not you, need to use positive news about teachers and schools. If teachers are not valued by a society, then students won't respect teachers.
    Your reporting has been beneficial for focusing on the problem. Thank you for the opportunity to add my in-put.
    God bless, Mary E. Skipworth

    August 23, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
  71. Frederick

    Here in Washington St provided you are pulled over for a primary auto offense and you are also on your cell phone you will ticketed. I feel with the brain making many split second choices any usage of a cell phone operating any motor vehicle should become a primary offense.

    August 23, 2009 at 11:00 pm |
  72. James of Houston

    Chicago’s Deadly Streets: How to Stop the Teen Violence? ... The answer is simple. In Los Angeles, the city government declared street gangs a "criminal enterprise" and proscuted the gang members accordingly. ... Case closed, problem solved! .... no more punks to kill, recruit and influence our wonderful children!

    August 24, 2009 at 10:21 am |
  73. Zak

    Though your report on Chicago was okay, it failed in one important area. No mention of how many of the shooters were arrested. Of the 30 plus children killed, how many shooters were arrested? Your report was nothing more than a rehashing of the same old material put out by the Chicago media and the Office of the Mayor.

    How many shooters have been arrested? How many have gone to trial? How many convicted and in prison?

    The African-American community deserves the same effort as the North Shore and Wrigleyville. The Chicago media does nothing because their audience is in the white wards and suburbs. They also do not want any negative publicity before the Olympic vote. Only a national media like CNN can expose this data and not worry about the Mayor's Office coming down on them.

    August 24, 2009 at 12:03 pm |
  74. Eva

    Your special report was well done. The Chicago Tribune is chasing your story today at,0,3762222.story.

    You asked great questions and held the mayoral liason's feet to the fire.

    Nice work.

    August 24, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
  75. pastor l davis

    Dear Don,

    I want you to know I watch your program every day. I am writing you from Milwaukee WI. Sherman Rones is at Green Bay Correctinal Inst. He is serving 400 years. he did not killed anyone. The detective who was on his case is making 130 years in Reno Navada for robbery and attemping kidnapping. I am holding a rally a the Federal Court house 517 E. Wisconsin 8/25/09 10-1:00 P.M
    I am concerned about the amount of time they are giving Black Men in Milwaukee. I feel led to let the courts and the city know that this is racial and the law should be fair to all people. The Supreme Court continue to deny him to tell the truth. he did not have a trial. the public defender lawyer and the prosecutor urged him not to have a trial. he was told to take the plea. he was not aware of the elements of his sentencing. please investigate for sherman Rones 315716 at Green Bay Correctional Inst. P.O. Box 19033 Green Bay WI. sherman could use a pro-bono lawyer. graduated and served his country in the coast Guard for 5 years. he always had a job never been in trouble before.

    August 24, 2009 at 11:59 pm |
  76. Rusty Fraser

    Don, your report on "How to Stop Teen Violence" is timely and applies to all our cities, large and small. For a SIMPLE AND SCIENTIFICALLY VERIFIED SOLUTION – GO HERE:

    August 25, 2009 at 12:11 pm |
  77. My city, my town

    Gentrification – Mayor Daley Style

    The first Mayor Richard J. Daley (our current mayor's dad) built the projects to centralize Black voters and was supposed to be a good thing for us in the 60s/70s. But bad people started out-weighing the good people and all that was left was the bad. Little Mayor Richard M. Daley grew up in the Bridgeport neighborhood- who hates the neighbors from the east/the housing projects. So now that he's mayor, it only makes sense that he would pick up White Sox park and move it across the street, demolish ALL of the housing projects, demolish Meigs Field Airport to build a park, expand downtown to 55th street south and the "problem" people were given vouchers to move into existing communities (probably of rival gangs). So instead of the normal dangers of a typical neighborhood (a stray dog, maybe a drunk by the liquor store, oh and the bad family on the block), there's a whole new danger to deal with – rival gangs. I think the mayor's thinking was: a new block or change of scenery would have a positive influence – not the case. Even greedy mayors from the suburbs gladly took the mayor's offer for more government funding for housing vouchers and now the suburbs are also turning into slums. And worse, the mayors of the suburbs don't have an adequate police force, teachers to handle all these new murders and poor schools. Chicago's mayor has been planning for the 2016 Olympics for a long, long time now ate everyone's expense. He's completely re-made the downtown "inner city" to be, how can I say this nicely....ummm...well to look more like him.

    Meanwhile, he pushed his problem on everyone else without a thoughtful plan...economic development, counceling, CAPS, etc. I'm all for getting out the ghetto – it was a bad place to live. But he only cared about more money for him...not about the cost the innocent would pay. Political strategist, advisors and everyday townhall folks urged him to have a thoughtful plan...and well. He get's reelected, he gets Olympics 2016 and we get....shot.

    August 26, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  78. Ari

    The violence in Chicago isn't that complex and the answer is found through a gun. Violence in Chicago comes about because the city is segrigated and resources are scares. Other parts of the city are built up while the south side is neglected. We live in one of the most wealthiest countries in the world, while the south side looks like a third world country. Daley has done nothing to change the conditions of the area, to draw economic growth. How is a group of people going to stop being violent when the resources are scares and you have to fight for whatever you can get. There are parts of the south side that you can't even get an apple or a book, so what's going to motivate you to be better, when there is nothing that are examples of better?

    October 3, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  79. Jonathan

    I'm really ashamed of America right now, we are showing EXACTLY WHY Chicago should not have been picked for the Summer Olympics. Its not a safe place. Its a sad comment on our society.

    October 3, 2009 at 6:52 pm |
  80. linda

    Teach your kids from day one that people get hurt, from their feelings, to their physical body, when they say and do the wrong thing. Teach them to share, not bite or hit, etc. Training starts early and continues on through life. Without that basic start, they quickly become A-moral. It starts at home, quit blaming teachers and depending on "The System" to raise your kids. The kids don't need the parents need to be held accountable. Train the parents...train the children! Thats why manners and guilt were instilled on the earlier generations. Now days people like Oprah are saying "don't feel guilty".......she better break that down, to common sense.

    October 3, 2009 at 7:43 pm |
  81. Rev. Michael Howard

    Alas, this kind of violence is not unique to Chicago. The history of crime and violence is rooted in the Hollywood glamour and sensationalizing the days of Al Capone and the "St' Valentine's Day Murders" and all of the crime and violence that grew out of this period in Chicago and America. People of color became the occupiers of the seats of violence as they became tenants of the same "ghettos". The 'mob', for the most part went 'legit' and the people of color remains caught in the maze and web of a kind of dehumanizing and perverse violence like this soceity and world has ever seen. With this dehumanization came 'devaluation' of each other and then the horrific violent annihilation of those the look like them and were in striking out proximity. The answer to this deadly and maddening predicament is massive and wholesale change of the personal, family and community culture and education system, that has a institutional compotent, which teaches, educate, emphasizes and codifies a healthy code of conduct, absent of violence and self-destruction on a personal, family and community level.

    October 5, 2009 at 5:06 pm |