Few topics have been more arresting or more in need of attention than the skyrocketing murder rates, especially among the youth, in Chicago’s inner-city streets. And, with nearly 500 deaths having already happened in the city, and that number still growing at an alarming rate, many are questioning what the powers that be will do to loosen the strong hold gun violence has on Chicago’s streets. Last Friday, Oct. 26, President Barack Obama answered the call, and during his interview with MTV News’ Sway Calloway, he addressed the violence that is happening in his hometown.
In the half-hour special, called “Ask Obama Live: An MTV Interview with the President,” President Obama read a comment from a fellow Chicago native named Raven, who called the city a “war zone,” and responded to New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s comments that he must provide solutions to Chicago’s growing death toll.
“What I’ve said, is that we’ve got to have an ‘all-of-the-above’ approach. We have to enforce our gun laws more effectively. We’ve got to keep them out of the hands of criminals. We’ve got to strengthen background checks,” the president emphasized.
Obama says that his administration has already implemented a lot of these solutions, but he explained that he has a personal investment in the matter, because the violence is happening just blocks away from the home he keeps in city’s Hyde Park neighborhood.
“Some of these murders are happening just a few blocks from where I live. I have friends whose family members have been killed,” said Obama.
Obama then explained that causes for the violence go beyond gun control laws and stems partially from the socio-economic challenges that plague many inner-city families and leave the youth feeling hopeless and nihilistic.
“But part of the issue also is kids who feel so little hope and think their prospects for the future are so small that their attitude is, ‘I’m going to end up in jail or dead.’ And they will take all kinds of risks,” he said. “Kids feel as if they’ve got no prospects in life and end up killing each other.”
We’re glad that President Obama is addressing Chicago’s violent youth culture. Hopefully, he and other Chicago leaders can help bring an end to the violence. Watch Obama’s full interview here and check out other celebrities working to bring an end to Chicago’s violence below. – nicholas robinson