The Hunger Games is real and is being played out in every disenfranchised neighborhood from Englewood Chicago, to Inglewood, Calif., and the end game is survival.
In a viral video, veteran journalist Walter Jacobson asks a roundtable of Chicago gang members if they could commit murder, and the young men say yes.
The young men also say that they’re hungry, and that they’re out of resources. In fact, one young man said that his situation is so dire that he doesn’t fear death in his pursuit to get what he needs, and that the only thing he fears is God.
With empty stomachs, these youths consume the media’s nonstop portrayal of hip-hop heaven, exotic cars, clothes, and women in the land of eternal sunshine.
The message is clear: ‘Get yours by any means necessary.’
If your talent doesn’t lie in basketball or music, you’d better have a plan B, and that’s a place in the underground economy. If you find work in an underground economy, you would be forced to hustle twice as hard as the guy standing next to you, in an overcrowded market where the pushers, at times, outnumber the users.
Add the relocation of hundreds of hungry youths to the mix — these youths were displaced by the public housing revamp — and the market becomes flooded with even more hustlers — and even more competition for your limited clientele.
In order to ‘get yours’ you may have to be more aggressive in protecting your turf. That may mean dropping a dime on your competitor, or having them mugged, or jumped, or far worse.
The preparation is poor: No education, no option, no stability, no role model, no ally, and no support system, and yet, the messaging is clear: “Get yours by any means necessary.”
What would you expect a youth to do? Are these youths gun-wielding monsters because they want to be? Or are they desperate and out of options?