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The Mechanics
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Chicago Thu May 30 2013

Rush vs Kirk

Longtime Rep, Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) had harsh words for Sen. Mark Kirk's (D-Ill.) plan to arrest nearly 18,000 members of the Gangster Disciples. Rush told the Sun-Times on Wednesday he believes its a, "elitist white boy solution." Rush has been an advocate for the black community and he knows prison will not solve decades of urban degradation and economic drought which has led to massive gang recruitment and illegal activity over the years.

Yes, the Gangster Disciples are notorious, dangerous and need to be dismantled quickly but people's lives are at jeopardy so the plan needs to be carefully maneuvered. If Kirk believes mass arrests are a sufficient penalty perhaps we should incarcerate the antagonists behind the banks and mortgage companies which led to the painful housing crisis--which has critically affected the African-American community. In another sense, I applaud Kirk for making targeting gangs a top priority nonetheless he is not too familiar with life in gangs territories. He is foreign to crack houses lining the street, dire poverty, thugs raiding the corners, ill-equipped schools and the fear of being a citizen in urban America.

Kirk's plan includes a $30 million request from the Senate Appropriations Committee to fund sweep arrests. Rush prefers the money be utilized for job creation and job training to prevent gang activity. Incarceration is a tactic that has been used for years but reaped no benefits because inmates often repeat offenses and consequently creates fatherless children. Rush's area includes West Englewood, Auburn Gresham and parts of Roseland--all neighborhoods that suffer from crime, fiscal ruin and low property values. On the West and South sides, streets are vacant for blocks hampering much-needed employment. These communities need investment not more aid programs, but infrastructure to produce revenue, encourage education and provide sustainable career options for men who come from severely broken homes.

Critics will be the first to blame large numbers of gang activity on whites or blacks but the reality is both sides of history play a role. Sadly, there is no clear target or solution. The demise of the African-American community is an accumulation of the breakdown of the black family, incompetent government interference and mostly the sin of slavery and racism that endured for decades that have led to a heartbreaking price that Americans will pay regardless of color. The staggering incidents of daily violence, increased rates of poverty and the grim future of minority communities have yet to be ammunition for political leaders on both sides of the party and race line to develop strategies that promote financial stability, educational equality, and individual accountability.

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PV Bella / May 30, 2013 8:05 PM

You conveniently left out the fact that Rush's comment was extremely racist in nature.

Dave Stieber / May 31, 2013 7:11 AM

Kirk first then Rush both can be accused of making statements that don't really help anything/ The difference however is Rush once you get past the name calling is making a great point that to understand & fix the problem you have to get to the root of it. Jobs & infrastructure is the key to reducing crime not more punitive measures.

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