What can be done to stop the violence plaguing the city of Chicago? With news of more fatal attacks, we’re reminded that there is no easy answer.
On Friday, 18-year-old Janay McFarlane was shot to death hours after her 14-year-old sister Destini heard President Obama condemn gun violence in a speech in Chicago. Now Destini is mourning her sister. Her family says Janay wasn’t the shooter’s target, but became a tragic casualty.
Many have tried for years to help stop the bloodshed, but young people continue to die on Chicago’s streets. We interviewed kids who have no choice but to live in gang-ridden neighborhoods and carry weapons just to protect themselves.
When we asked them if they were afraid of getting caught with a gun and having to serve jail time, their responses illustrated why the problem is so difficult to solve. They told us that getting caught with a gun and serving time was a better option than getting caught without a gun and dying.
We were accompanied by people who know a lot about life on the streets. They’ve been arrested, carried guns, joined gangs and learned the hard way that it wasn’t the life they wanted. Now these former gang members are using their experiences to help defuse potential violence, through a group called Ceasefire.
Ceasefire volunteers learn all they can about feuds in Chicago, then try to de-escalate potentially dangerous situations through conversation and by calming tempers. The neighborhood locals seem to trust them or at least respect them. It’s a tremendous task with no guarantee it will work, but the volunteers believe that preventing just one death is worth the effort.
Learn more about the battle to reduce crime in Chicago and Janay McFarlane’s story at 8 and 10 p.m. ET tonight.
Follow Ish Estrada on Twitter.
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