Dad of slain teen: Chicago violence 'out of control'


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Ok so is it going to be a daily thing hearing about the violence in Chicago?

"Will police armed with assault rifles help?

"Time will show if that's going to deter them," he said. "I don't think having a bigger gun is going to stop young guys from shooting each other or robbing each other for dope or robbing each other for territory.""

The police could carry around SAWs and 1919's mounted to there cars. If they are not there when the crime happens its not going to help anything. But a victim is a victim because they are there! Allow them to be armed and they have a great possibility of no longer being a victim.

CNN) -- Blair Holt wanted his mother to have a pendant for Mother's Day. His father, Ronald Holt, was purchasing the gift when his cell phone rang: Blair, 16, had just been shot on a Chicago bus.

The dad had his left arm outstretched with his debit card in hand, the phone in the other hand.

"I felt like I had just been crucified. It was just too unreal. I just didn't want to believe it," he said, recalling that day, May 10, 2007.

Blair was killed in a hail of gang bullets when he jumped into the line of fire to save the life of a teenage girl. Four others were shot, but they survived.

A longtime Chicago police officer, Ronald Holt has spent the year since his son's killing trying to bring calm to the streets of the Windy City. He speaks to students, officials and anyone else who will listen, talking about the need for more parental involvement and better education, changing the mind-sets of troubled youth and tighter gun legislation to keep weapons from reaching thugs.

But he's also watched as the city's violence keeps skyrocketing. "It's out of control," Holt said.

In the last two weeks alone, at least 54 shootings in the Chicago area have left 15 people dead. In one horrific weekend, at least nine people were killed in 36 separate attacks. Watch as one man says, "We're sick of burying our children" »

Police dispatched SWAT officers and other specialized units this past weekend to deter potential violence. Some officers were armed with new assault weapons.

"We continue to remain aggressive in combating crime in whatever form it takes," police spokeswoman Monique Bond said in an e-mail. "Our approach is comprehensive, and increases or decreases in crime should not be based or judged on one, two or three weekends."

With warmer temperatures and summer approaching, experts who follow crime trends said violence is likely to escalate. They said the nation's economic crisis and lack of jobs in the inner city create an environment rife for crime.

"During the summer months, we will be taking an aggressive role in enforcing curfew, because juveniles are more susceptible after hours when they become victims and offenders," Bond said.

Tim White with CeaseFire, a violence prevention group that works with Chicago's gangs, spent more than 15 years behind bars for selling narcotics. He now actively tries to calm tensions among rival gangs.

"We're finding that people are losing their jobs ... and they're being desperate. They're being led into desperate situations," he said. Watch White describe, "It makes people make bad decisions" »

White and other ex-gang members with CeaseFire work the streets when they hear of problems in neighborhoods. They don't work with police because it would ruin their reputation on the streets, White said.

"We've got all different ex-gang members sitting at the table. Where we used to fight each other, now we work together to squash violence and come together for peace," he said. "It's a unique situation, but it works."

Mostly, they step in when egos of rival gangs get too big. "Don't nobody want to go to the other man and say, 'I don't want to fight you. I don't want to kill you.' "

"That's like a punk in our street life. But if someone can step in and do it for him," then gangs will accept the truce, White said.

"It gives us an opportunity to mediate situations that no one else will do."

But, he said, CeaseFire had its state funding slashed in September. In turn, the group has gone from 140 employees to 40 workers. As a result, it has resolved 44 gang conflicts this year -- way off last year's mark of 488, he said. The crunch is hindering CeaseFire's work but won't stop the group, White said.

"If we can stop a gang war this summer, then we've won," he said.

Will police armed with assault rifles help?

"Time will show if that's going to deter them," he said. "I don't think having a bigger gun is going to stop young guys from shooting each other or robbing each other for dope or robbing each other for territory."

This week, Sens. Dick Durbin and Barack Obama of Illinois asked for the Justice Department to include Chicago as part of its Anti-Gang Initiative, a federal program to enhance gang-prevention efforts. The program has provided 10 cities with $2.5 million each for anti-gang efforts.

"We are asking the Justice Department to make combating gang violence in Chicago a top priority this summer and in the future," Durbin said in a statement.

As for Ronald Holt, he has no plans to give up his fight. He said he owes it to his son.

"I have to continue to honor his heroism. He showed bravery, sacrifice and courage," he said. "That's one of the reasons I keep fighting."

His son's alleged killer was a 16-year-old gang member, as was his alleged accomplice. Both could face decades in prison if convicted.

Holt and White both said youth need to know their actions have consequences -- that the majority of violent offenders are captured and put behind bars. For White, he didn't realize that until he was in the federal pen serving hard time.

Holt said he hopes his message will reach at least one person on the fringes and that he or she changes his or her ways. He said he knows the pain of what it's like to lose a son in "one fell swoop, in the blink of an eye."

"It's just overwhelming. You just don't know what to do after that. And I think that's the one part that's extremely gripping and you can't get past: You've done all these things. Your child is a normal, typical teenager enjoying life, and then all of a sudden, here comes a devil's advocate, as I say."

Holt said people -- moms and dads, aunts and uncles, grandparents and other mentors -- need to be active in kids' lives to keep them out of trouble.

He then rattled off his favorite memories with Blair: seeing him throw his first baseball, watching him graduate from kindergarten and grade school, and witnessing him mature physically and mentally into a young leader.

This loving dad said one other moment stands out: "Watching him take his first baby steps."

Holt added, "It's just so unfair that he's not here. Just like it's so unfair that all the other children [killed in Chicago] are not

What is happing there is very sad. I am glad that I do not live in the windy city but then again there are few big cities that are really safe.
It would be nice to know how many of these shootings were not gang related. The government stepped in and started public schools in the early 1900s to stop gangs in new york. How about a curfew for teens and shoot to kill order for gang bangers.Put the cops in armored cars and patrol the streets.ACLU and NAACP screw you. They have brought it on themselves.Put the mayor on the front line.
I am just afraid that Chicago is lost. Way to much time has passed and the gangs are in control. It is going to be a long hard road to bring it back. And with all the anti gunners there I just don’t see it getting better.
Kwo51, increasing police presence is not necessarily the answer to all the problems. To turn Chicago into a police controlled, martial law type environment, is just going to escalate the violence, and probably end up in more innocent people in the crossfire. If they were to allow the citizens thier 2nd amendment rights, the gang-bangers would realize that cops aren't thier only enemy anymore.
You must give the power to the people to defend and govern themselves. Police aren't some kind of savior that solves all of our problems. Allthough necessary for safety, they aren't the answer in this case.
People can take care of themselves, as long as the government doesn't impair their abilty. e.g. strict gun laws.
I've worked with inner city people in a social services capacity before. They are as clueless as the rest of us as to a clear plan of action as far as getting out. Now, this is my theory as to the nature of the problem...

There's always been people throughout history that were government dependent. Government doesn't change much, and people who are heavily dependent on a system (whether it's gov't, private or whatever) tend to fall into the same rhythm as their source of bread and butter. Furthermore, many of the families who are in these situations tend to have very traditional ways of thinking, regardless of their actual life choices.

The problem here is that the human capacity to deal with change is a built-in biological constant that can vary somewhat, but not a lot, before their relationships with other people starts to fall apart. We've got a society where the rate of change has exceeded our capacity to deal with it. Until about the early 20th century, being government dependent was really not that detrimental - society didn't change must faster, and you could just kind of ride along. Since then, things have begun moving much more quickly, and it's suddenly a bigger deal.

People who do not have a reliable government teat are forced to actively innovate and change within society - or else. In most cases, this hardens people to the point where they can survive within an incredibly complex system, but still keep life together. People who are dependent will eventually find that teat lacking as they get older. They strive for what the rest of society has, but they are (for all practical purposes) unable to get it. So, they make their own innovations - they employ crime and violence to get what they need. They were raised in a static situation and are now in a world that moves faster than they can emotionally deal with, so they employ the basest of abilities to make their own way.

The only way this problem will be solved is if regular people break these people from their dependence and basically force them to integrate into the rest of society and accept our norms. This means not just youth programs during the day, but vast numbers of law-abiding people moving into "bad neighborhoods" and overwhelming the problems. The critical part is that results won't come overnight. Results will mostly be seen in yet-to-be-born people who haven't yet been conditioned to accept the status quo. The older generations will have to die off to make room for new ideas.

Picture an infant who can't yet walk. The parents either carry it or put it into a walker. As the baby grows, the walker grows. The kid never manages to really touch the ground and his legs never become weight-bearing. Thus, he never learns to walk. For the first 5 years, it doesn't matter that much, but then he goes to school. He uses a wheelchair and the parents make up some "medical" excuse. That doesn't matter either for a while...but at some point he turns 14 or 15 and it suddenly begins to matter greatly. The kid begins to have serious emotional problems. His parents try emotional counseling and drugs, but nothing seems to work.

The real solution is feed the kid protein and have him work his legs every other day in the gym. Lightly at first, then more, etc...but not stopping at a plateau. He keeps trying and falls down a lot, gets bruised, etc. This guy is still capable of learning to walk by age 20, although it may be a difficult goal. The key though is that someone has to step in and force the guy to try whether he wants to or not, and they have to do it consistently and keep after them every day.
Part of the problem is that we have been told so often in this country that we live in a democracy that we have come to believe it. It may have evolved to that but it was intended to be a republic. Hence we now have a well fare state with and a large segment of society that votes to keep themselves on the federal dole.

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until a majority of voters discover that they can vote themselves largess out of the public treasury."
-- Alexander Tytler
"I am glad that I do not live in the windy city but then again there are few big cities that are really safe."

True, but at least in Seattle I can carry as much iron as I can walk with.

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