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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Sunday, April 21

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Andrew Huff / May 30, 2012 12:24 PM

Emanuel and McCarthy announced they'll be monitoring Twitter and Facebook as part of their new gang-reduction strategy. Will that help? What else should they try?

colourful / May 30, 2012 12:28 PM

reduce your crack usage. stick with prescription drugs, kindly written out for you by your enabler, i mean psychiatrist.

vise77 / May 30, 2012 12:48 PM

Not exactly sure, as the problem runs so deep and is much more than a mere local issue. But finding a way to hire more cops might help. So, perhaps, would more reliance on human interactions--beat patrols--rather than technology. But that is all just a guess.

That said (and on a more national level), I have little patience for those who might say 'legalize drugs' as an answer to reduce gang activity. While I can get behind certain legalization plans, and while legalization certainly will kill off many black-market incentives and their associated violence, legalization will not solve the problem of large groups of unemployed, poor youth who will continue to go without jobs, job histories, marketable skills or even adequate education.

Michael / May 30, 2012 12:55 PM

Maybe stop thinking of them as "gangs" in the traditional business sense. It would appear at least a significant portion of violence is driven by interpersonal retaliation. To reference 'the Godfather,' how often is violence "strictly business" and how often is it "personal?" I wouldn't be surprised if a drastic ramp up in 'quality of life' enforcement of traffic like speeding and running stop signs would reduce incidence of violence.

Roger Ebert / May 30, 2012 1:57 PM

What do I think the City should do to combat gangs? Reference more 'gang' movies!! Specifically "The Warriors", and "Bad Boys" with Sean Penn circa 1983. Caaaan yoooouuu diiig it?!?!

gal / May 30, 2012 2:35 PM

i recommend reading UofC sociologist Sudhir Venkatesh's excellent "Gang Leader for a Day" for getting some real insight into life in gangs. Lots of folks have these outdated simplistic ideas of control and law-enforcement, and their thought that more police is the answer is questionable. It is interesting that folks think that this is an "us vs. them" type situation here that can be easily countered by a force they think that apparently works for "us".

vise77 / May 30, 2012 2:56 PM

Gal: I have indeed read that wonderful book, but can't recall walking away from it with any better ideas than the bland one I offered above. Care to refresh my memory?

gal / May 30, 2012 3:59 PM

vise77 I agree with you about not walking away from the book with specific ideas. I mentioned the book because I believe it displays the overwhelming complexity of the situation. I think that being aware of the interwoven-ness of issues is necessary and the book provided an insight into understanding how gray things are. I would like to think that governmental forces can work coherently if given a mandate, but I am afraid of the consequences of too much power invested in any particular force. I also want to mention the series "The Wire", I thought it portrayed very well the politics and complexity of crime and social structures. Guess I'm saying that better solutions might come out of the authorities taking the effort to understand the situation in a broad way rather than a policy of reacting in the short-term (though, of course, short-term response is called for depending on the case).

Mucky Fingers / May 30, 2012 5:23 PM

Whatever the problem may be, it will be solved by creating more restaurants.

Spook / May 30, 2012 8:46 PM

appoint Haki Madhubuti and Tim King to run the Chicago Public Schools and Phillip Jackson to chair the school board

vise77 / May 31, 2012 8:28 AM

Gal: Agree totally it is a complex problem. That said, complex problems usually require complex fixes--many moving parts, different efforts going on at the same time, etc. I do think putting more cops on the street, and perhaps having them do more beat work, would at least help a bit. Not the only fix, of course, but something, locally. Putting more cash/effort into CPS arts and sports programs also might provide at least a bit of relief. I mean, some (many?) kids will go reasonably straight if they have something to do, and are given high goals to meet and treated as though they can meet those high goals, and given the help/guidance to meet them.

As for your idea about 'short-term," I am not sure if I agree, though it's hard to tell via a blog. The gang problem in Chicago is more or less in its third generation by now (well, the current gang problem, with roughly the current structures; there were also gangs in earlier parts of the city's history, of course). I don't so easily assume that local agencies and authorities have NOT looked at the situation through long-term lenses. Chicago's been living with his issue for decades now.

flange / May 31, 2012 9:06 AM

i echo gal's book recommendation. when gangs are enabled by the clergy, the neighborhood, the police, and the city government, you can't just ask "well, what's next?" that attitude is part of the problem as well.

so, i dunno, let's end racism, bring wages and salaries back up to where they were in the postwar through pre-Reagan era, move jobs back here, strengthen unions, reinvest in schools and infrastructure. that's as good a start as any, i guess.

KeepItCool / May 31, 2012 9:28 AM

I would install air conditioning units in all public assisted and low income housing. Might as well make A/C mandatory in the city. Seems like the heat gets to peoples heads. Give them a cool place to stay and they won't be out in the streets looking for something to do.

vise77 / May 31, 2012 10:09 AM


vise77 / May 31, 2012 10:54 AM

The 'LEGALIZE' Vise77 is the same tool who's been digitally stalking me, the real deal Vise77, here for a few days, FYI. Listen, dude/dudette, if you really need to express your views to me, do so in private, via the following e-mail, instead of pissing on this generally polite blog: That is a real e-mail address. I hope you have the class, dignity and courage to keep your apparently personal obsession with me off this blog. Who knows? Perhaps we can meet for a beer. I would certainly like that. Then again, I do have class, dignity and courage. Thanks, and good day.

Andrew Huff / May 31, 2012 11:19 AM

Fake vise77, impersonation is not OK. Please stop, or we'll have to start deleting/banning your comments.

gal / May 31, 2012 11:57 AM

"Putting more cash/effort into CPS arts and sports programs also might provide at least a bit of relief. I mean, some (many?) kids will go reasonably straight if they have something to do, and are given high goals to meet and treated as though they can meet those high goals, and given the help/guidance to meet them."

Well said! And budget cuts in education invariably end up hurting the most needy. I wish education were prioritized higher in our collective consciousness as well as our policy-makers' minds.

vise77 / May 31, 2012 12:25 PM

"I wish education were prioritized higher in our collective consciousness as well as our policy-makers' minds."

In about a generation or so, we are going to realize the self-inflicted pain we have caused by basically giving up on basic education for so many of our fellow citizens. We will still have world-class universities, and good education for most members of the middle-middle class, upper-middle class and upper class. But we will certainly pay for what we are doing now. (Not to suggest that education is a simple matter of throwing money at public schools; just that we are going down a very bad path now.)

ahf / May 31, 2012 1:01 PM

Free birth control.

Jason / May 31, 2012 1:29 PM

no idea. It's such a complex problem, but dare I say: "start with education"?

And, though equally complex, it wouldn't hurt to revolutionize education while you're at it.

Donald / May 31, 2012 6:16 PM

Could we limit comments to one per customer? This is turning into a bit of a monopoly!

Monica Reida / May 31, 2012 7:58 PM

I'm incredibly dubious of monitoring Twitter and Facebook because I wonder if language will be misinterpreted.

I don't immediately have any suggestions, but what if there was more of a focus on education and jobs for teens?

ronald / June 3, 2012 10:43 PM

I realize I am stating the obvious, but vise77 is the quintessential blowhard.

charlie / June 4, 2012 10:38 AM

Pass a law making them illegal. That should do it...

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