.
October 29th, 2008
08:02 AM ET

Stop killing the children

[cnn-photo-caption image=
http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/28/art.chicagopolice.jpg%5D
Gabe Falcon
AC360° Writer

A squeeze of the trigger ended Juan Rivera’s life. The 44-year-old was the victim of a robbery at a grocery store over the weekend in Chicago. His death did not receive the national attention paid to the slayings of Jennifer Hudson’s mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew.

But the two cases, the two crimes, represent a singular tragedy unfolding in the city’s homes, streets and neighborhoods.

Chicago has become the murder capital of the United States. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, 426 people have been killed in since the beginning of 2008. No other major metropolitan area in the country can match that grim statistic.

AC360 has covered Chicago’s rising violence in previous years. Anderson reported from the South Side in the middle of a particularly brutal crime wave. The victims included dozens of public school students. The stories told to us were heartbreaking.

Since that first report, the situation has only gotten worse. More children are dying, more lives are lost. Families and communities are left broken.

From activists and civic leaders to politicians and the police, many say they are trying to stop the bloodshed. But why aren't more dramatic steps being taken? Why can't they stop the city from being torn apart? And when will it end?


Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. JAMES K HARRIS

    IM A EX-FELON THAT MADE A FEW MISTAKES IN MY PAST WENT TO PRISON PAID MY DEBT TO SOCIETY OVER 10 YEARS AGO AND NOW IM A CEO OF A ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY FOCUSING ON A SONG WRITING/EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM DESIGNED TO HELP ECONOMICALLY DISADVANTAGED YOUTH AND ADULTS IN THE RANGE OF 12-28.HAVE A TOOL TO USE BY MEANS OF MUSIC .THINGS HAVE BEEN HARD TO KEEP THE PLATFORM AROUND FOR THE AT RISK YOUTH TO UTILIZE .MY QUESTION IS COULD OR WHAT WILL MC CAIN OR OBAMA DO FOR PEOPLE LIKE MY SELF AND MILLIONS OF OTHERS THAT HAD TROUBLE IN THEIR PAST AND PAID THEIR DEBT TO SOCIETY AND WANT TO BE INVOLVED IN HELPING OUR AT RISK YOUTH THATS GOING DOWN THE ROAD THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE LIKE MYSELF WENT DOWN .AND KNOW IS HERE TO TELL THEM THAT ,THAT’S NOT THE RIGHT WAY TO GO ,BUT BY HAVING A CRIMINAL HISTORY AND NOT HAVING A VOICE AND NOT BEING ABLE TO HELP AND GIVE DIRECTION TO OUR YOUTH.WHAT WOULD OR WHAT COULD EITHER SENATOR DO FOR PEOLPE LIKE MYSELF AND MILLIONS OF OTHERS THAT HAS NO VOICE

    October 29, 2008 at 10:20 pm |
  2. Rachel Farris

    Why blame it on Major Daly? He has no control of these sicko's. Our morals have gone down the tube. Violence on TV and in movies has desensitized our kids to where they are have to regard for human life. There is much violence in other big cities and throughout the country. Common Sense has died, manners are not taught., regard for human life is not taught. Children and people only think of self. We need to get back to basics in raising children and putting people away that want to act like wild animals.We don't have to cram the bible down peoples throats. Just reinforce some of it's teachings and get back to being a more gentle civilization. We need to in order to protect out children. More of a family structure would help. Stay at home Moms and give the husband good enough wages they can do so and not try to keep up with the Jones'

    October 29, 2008 at 5:23 pm |
  3. Mary

    It might end if Illinopis has the right to carry.
    These bangers & thugs will think twice before commiting a crime, knowing they are the ones who will be shot at.
    If they don't think, and do the crime, oh well, shoot the ones who want steal, rob, rape, and kill.
    This will help the streets of Chicago.

    October 29, 2008 at 2:08 pm |
  4. Jim

    Why Can't they stop the City & Country from being torn apart? Because they refuse to repent – they have chosen to take the ONLY one who can help them out of our schools, out of our politics, out of our Nation- GOD
    Gave man His Laws, Gave Moses, the Prophets,& His only begotton son
    & You will not hear them nor heed their warnings- " In the last days men will be lovers of themselves,proud,unthankfull, unholy,without natural affection"- As it was in the days of Noah so shall the it be when the Son of Man returns" When will it end?- We are in what the prophets called the beginning of sorrows – we see wars & rumors of wars,eatrhquakes in diverse places, economic collapse, perplexity of the nations- We have the verichip or mark of the Beast that can be implanted under the skin of the right hand or forehead,people travel too & fro & knowledge is greatly increased- Get a Bible & read for yourself what is to come- God said it & HE WILL DO IT- He spoke it & it will come to pass- Mark my words this day & remember them when
    you see people being executed in America for their beliefs.When you see a one world government & leader, when you see 1/4 of the earths population killed then another 1/3rd after that, when first 1/3rd of the life in the sea is dead then all life in the sea is dead, When the earth is scorched with great heat-( You think global warming is bad now)

    October 29, 2008 at 1:13 pm |
  5. KMiley

    As an area resident, it is sad to watch the city take on this mantle of shame. The mayor presses parents and residents to take responsibility yet he seems to ignore his own. The governor is a disgrace and embarassment so no one takes his offers of having the Illinois State Police assist seriously. The new police chief hired to break the cycle of dysfunction in the police department seems to make little headway. With budget cuts, they aren't hiring more police.

    I don't see anyone willing to step up and take on the needed overhaul that would be necessary to turn things around. Daley is entrenched and insulated from being held accountable. Will Olympic bid shame him into doing something? I don't see the Olympic committee being impressed with Chicago's newfound nickname of "murder capitol"!

    October 29, 2008 at 12:07 pm |
  6. Kim

    Wasn't Sen. Obama a community organizer in this area? Is this the wake he leaves behind?

    October 29, 2008 at 12:00 pm |
  7. GF, Los Angeles

    I just read an article on CNN that 1 in 4 drop out of high school. Where are the parents? How can we expect these kids to have a productive life if they can't even apply themselves to finish school? Are these the kids out there shooting at each other since they have no direction? It's not the government's job nor the school to convince kids to stay in school and be a productive member of society. The only people that can do that are the parents.

    October 29, 2008 at 11:50 am |
  8. GF, Los Angeles

    It's not just Chicago that has this problem – Los Angeles has this problem too. I read the Homicide Report on the LA Times website weekly and it's unfortunate the number of black and Latino youths that are killed. Many are gang members while others are innocents who happen to live in a bad neighborhood and it's only bad because of the gang infestation in them. The city can only do so much. Many of these youths have parents who either belong in a gang or are indifferent to what's going on in their neighborhood. Others are too scared to speak out so there's only so much the police can do. If these parents, who are unfortunately single parents, took control of their kids and gave them productive goals – maybe then the killing will slow down and one day stop.

    If it weren't for the fact that Jennifer Hudson was famous – her family would just be another statistic that we wouldn't know about. Her sister is married to a known felon who has served time for attempted murder and narcotics charges. They aren't any different then the other people I read about in the Homicide Report other than the fact they have a famous family member.

    October 29, 2008 at 11:35 am |
  9. Vickie MO.

    Taking our guns away will only make it worse. Criminal's will always find a gun. That's what makes them a criminal. It's not the gun that kills someone. It's the person controlling the gun. Take away our gun's and you might as well take away anything that can be used as a weapon. A kitchen knife, whatever! The only ones who will be left with a weapon are, the criminal's themselves. If, possible, I want to keep my right to bare arm's. Automobile's killed thousand's of people everyday. We don't stop driving because if it! True, it's a tragic death. But, we need a better solution to these kinds of crime's. "Death Penalty"! We need a system that, will work for both innocent and guilty. We need to take the flaw's out of the law. Put police officer's out on every corner if you have to. Do something! Our military men patrol the street's in Afghanistan. Why not, here as well!? We have a war going on in our own towns. And no one has a solution but, to, take away our rights to protect ourselves? WOW!

    October 29, 2008 at 11:20 am |
  10. Texas

    Tragic loss- Condolences to the family of Juan Rivera-
    It is, in fact senseless when someone gets up in the morning or evening and goes to his/her "honest" job- only to be shot/killed for a few bucks! Chicago law enforcement/America's justice system – something is defintely "not working"!! I

    f I had my choice to work in a convenience store, or starve, I'd rather eat out of a garbage can!! These store owners do little to nothing to protect their employees! Employees should demand a bullet proof window, at least. More patrols of these areas should be demanded...

    I realize that there are not enough policemen/women -and most do a Damn Good Job at what they do– Instead of paying our athlete millions, higher salaries should go to officers and teachers- folks in public service!! When was the last time anyone saw a pic. of an officer, soldier or teacher on the Box of Wheaties. This country applauds athletes (yes, all great) but I'd rather have an officer as my neighbor, than a star athlete, any day!

    America get your PRIORTIES straight... enforce higher salaries for public servants, enforce stricter laws- Help so that the senseless "Massacre of Innocent" folks stops.

    October 29, 2008 at 10:54 am |
  11. Larry

    Why is Mayor Daly, Sen. Obama's buddy and shared mentor with David Axelrod, not doing more to make Chicago a safer place to live?
    Is this just something that goes along with chicago politics? I guess Capone had a reason for working there.

    October 29, 2008 at 10:40 am |
  12. marie

    Part of the a blame lies on the parents of the ones doing the killing. Society has made it hard to correct children. They grow up to be killers.

    Unfortuanately people would like to say that it is mostly blacks kill black. But that is now true. Every race has this same problems and it seems like no one can end this. Do we need more policeman and would that help. I doubt it because people have concious.

    Also the bible speaks of these things happen and it is. We have not seen anything yet. It is going to get worset before it get better. People will try to blame this Obama if he becomes president. But it will not be his fault, it just mean that things in the bilbe is coming true.

    October 29, 2008 at 10:24 am |
  13. Nate

    The violance affecting our kids can be directly attributed to the Hip Hop culture. Most single parent have to work long hours with noone home to supervise the kids, is the results of the equal rights ammendment, and the womens right ammendment. The high number of single parent homes is also related to the womens equal rights ammendment. Crimes were lower when the men worked and the women stayed home and reared the kids.

    As for the adult crimes, I supose that if racism and sterotyping was'nt the root cause of black people being under employed and under educated, their crime rates would drop dramatically. Dog owners can take a lesson , that if you confind a dog, that dog will only become more aggresive, and thats what is going on in the Black sommunity. People confined in parvaty, are aggresive, and nothing matters but their right to servive. Those people are willing to kill over a penny. The value of life in Chicago is equakl to or less than a penny.

    Strap on your guns, they live in Lawless times, where the police are also getting away with murder.

    October 29, 2008 at 9:52 am |
  14. Max

    There are WAY too many people in the US that should NEVER be allowed to OWN a gun in their lifetime.

    October 29, 2008 at 9:33 am |
  15. Cindy

    Chicago has been the murder capital of the U.S. for some time now. The government there can't do anything about it because a lot of them are corrupt themselves! It's kind of hard to combat crime when you are knee deep in it yourself and are a part of the problem!

    Barack did nothing to help Chicago...and we want him to run the U.S.!? PLEASE!! What's that old saying....fix your own back yard before you try to fix mine...someone needs to tell Obama that!

    Cindy...Ga.

    October 29, 2008 at 8:51 am |
  16. Annie Kate

    Gabe,

    I'm sure that the families of those killed are asking the same questions you are. I wish there were some easy answers but to be able to stop it or fix it means that first we have to identify the root cause(s) of it and what are the factors that contribute to that root cause. Only then will anyone be able to effectively come up with a plan/dramatic steps to defuse this crime wave. I hope a remedy can be found soon but nothing will happen overnight and unfortunately more innocents will die. I just hope that an end is in sight soon.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    October 29, 2008 at 8:30 am |