October 7th, 2009
03:50 PM ET

How to stop the violence?

A memorial honoring the victims of the violence in Chicago, including Blair Holt.

A memorial honoring the victims of the violence in Chicago, including Blair Holt.

Ismael Estrada
AC360° Producer

I'll never forget the day I met Ronald Holt and Annette Nance. It was in the spring of 2007 and their son, Blair Holt had just been killed on his way home from school on a city bus.

CNN Correspondent David Mattingly, Photographer Derek Davis and I walked into their home to interview the grieving parents of their honor roll student who had plans to move on to college. Two gunmen got on the bus and started firing when Blair jumped in front of his friend to protect her. He was killed.

As they told us about their loss, the pain in their voices was gut-wrenching. In the end they made a promise - to do all they could to stop the violence that is killing so many school children in Chicago.

They marched, held rallies and worked with social programs, but kids continue to die.

Two weeks ago, a video underscored the violence. A cell phone camera caught the brutal beating of 16-year-old Derrion Albert, another honor roll student whose life ended before it even got started.

Now, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and Attorney General Holder are in Chicago to meet with Mayor Daley and other public officials to figure out how to stop the kids from killing each other.

We have been covering this story for three years. In that time, more than 100 school kids have died. How can this stop?

Filed under: Chicago Killings • Ismael Estrada
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Shanteria

    The probelm starts at home. If kids dont get the adequate support and attention they need at home they tend to find it elsewhere. Parents need to involve there kids in extra activities, outside of school.
    The communities need to help as well. The communities should take their probelms and issues about the violence in their neighborhoods to the city council and ask for better help. The most important step in helping is the parents, they need to really take control of their children, its all their fault. Stop letting your children get away with negative things at a young ages, because it esclates into their future.

    October 7, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  2. alex lyrics

    I can't stress how we need to regulate media cartoona video games and rap music.
    We have allowed our inner city kids to grow up viloent.

    October 7, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  3. Dave S, Tinley Park, IL

    Sure–an undercover adult would never be recognized in a room full of high school kids. It absolutely starts with the parents!! Don't have a kid before you can afford it and then blame 'society and the politicians'. Unless society or a politician made you pregnant, that excuse is weightless. Take responsibility for what you do and/or did. No, it's not 'every' parent, but it's obviously enough of them. Notice how whenever there's an overpopulation, nature has a way of cutting it down?

    October 7, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  4. Elyse

    Blaming single parents is overly simplistic. Every parent does the best they can; some are hampered by their circumstances, their own lack of education and/or ability, by the choices they made and the choices that were forced upon them.

    October 7, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  5. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    The people in these communities have no one to blame but themselves. There is a perverted subculture which says it's better to let children die than call the police and turn in the guilty. As long as people refuse to stand up for themselves, no amount of government help is going to fix this.

    October 7, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  6. Doug Binkley

    Just so you know, I love America...most Canadians do.

    But we feel your pain deeply and sometimes wish you could find just enough humility to be honest and pragmatic...maybe reconsider the value of 'winning" and what it really means. It might make values and ethics easier to teach and to live by.

    October 7, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  7. Melissa

    How? Here's an idea, stop promoting selfishness as though its a good thing like has been done these last 8 years.

    October 7, 2009 at 1:43 pm |
  8. Syl

    We are simply worse then animals since animals do not kill for the sheer pleasure of it. I think we should set up programs to keep the kids busy. For exemple, setting up farms where teens can take care of the animals, or in horse riding camps, or camps for Kid with cancer. This would give them responsiblibilities, values and a sence of belonging.

    We could have these teens cleaning up the streets and parks. Anything to keep them way from the TV and gangs.

    Unfortunately this is not just in Chicago but rather accross North America.

    October 7, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  9. Cindy

    The problem in Chicago and elsewhere where they have huge crime rates starts at home. These parents do not take time with their kids to teach them right from wrong or morals and values. So they have none and care for no one not even themselves. Until this problem is fixed then no matter what the city or state does it won't help at all.


    October 7, 2009 at 1:12 pm |
  10. felicia

    we need to stop blaming single parents for the kids being bad. majority of single parents work hard and take control of there kids. we have a few parents out here that are single parents that do not come up to the table and do right with there children. some of these kids out here with guns come from two parent homes also. but the issue is alot of these kids are having comprehension problems and they get over look and they are not learning what they need to learn and it is over look all the times. we need to go back to the board a teach these kids. and make sure we keep honoring the kids that do well with out extra help. but these kids need help from all of us. i think that maybe we need to have undercover police in the classroom without the teacher knowing to see what is going on in the schools and get some of these bad teachers out the school and also help these kids that have a promblem with learning and get them help so they can feel good about themselves and others and i think that will be a start to help some of these kids

    October 7, 2009 at 1:03 pm |

    How come there is no violence in economically affluent communities?

    October 7, 2009 at 1:02 pm |