Daley on Violence: "We Are Not A Third World Country"

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Thirty-three CPS students were killed during '01-'10 school year. (Published Friday, Jun 18, 2010)

    The sun broke out Friday evening after a series of violent storms, just as voices -- and hopes -- were raised on the steps of St. Sabina's.

    The South Side parish has been ground zero in the fight to end the violence that has taken the lives of 33 Chicago Public Schools students.

    "This is not a third world country, this is America," shouted Mayor Richard Daley. City officials, led by an impassioned mayor, joined a crowd of 300.

    "You have to say enough is enough," he said to applause.

    The rally was a clarion call that closes a violent school year.

    Last September 24, Fenger High student Derrion Albert was on his way home after class when he came across a fight between school rivals. That fight, captured on video, was seen across the country.

    An antidote to that chaos has been created.

    On the 15th floor at school board headquarters, television monitors scan both inside and outside Chicago public schools. The hope is to give security personnel a jump start on problems.

    Officials had already begun discussing using this technology before Derrion Albert’s death. Then came his beating death and the urgency kicked in, said Michael Shields, who heads Safety and Security for CPS.

    Shields says part of what they are trying to do is to gather intelligence to stop potential acts of violence.

    "For example, here at CPS, intelligence is Mike and Carol got into a fight.  Carol is a Satan Disciple and Mike is a Latin King.  That means something. That is intelligence that somebody needs to act upon," he said.  "Anybody who is involved in schools will tell you that things that happen in the school go out in the neighborhood and things that happen in the neighborhood come into the schools."

    This school year the number of CPS students shot was down by 50; the number killed down by 2.

    A small success.

    But according to Daley, there remains a much larger question when talking about violence, not only in Chicago but across the country.

    "Since Martin Luther King was assassinated, and Bobby Kennedy, over a million people have been killed by guns in America. Now think of that. Over a million people killed by guns in America," he said.

    And while not all CPS students were felled by gunfire this year, the great majority were: 27 of 33 students died by a bullet.

    "I believe we can not only lower that statistics," said Father Michael Pfleger, "but end the statistics."