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Added Apr 18 2014

For most of you who regularly visit this blog, (e.g. law-abiding, mainstream society citizens) or "white people" (no racism intended), will never become the "intended" target of a shooting, nor will your children. Although you the readers and I share the same community, we have totally different realities within it.

The grey minivan who's occupants killed 16 year old Keno Glass just a few days ago. They were "hunting" with one "game" in mind oblivious to anything else. See, the occupants realities and you guys reality will never cross. But my reality is that they could have saw me before they saw Keno.

I am one of many who live in the economically starved portions of Rogers Park where everyone wants to get out, but just trying to survive the next day, week, month consumes all your energy. Education is the way out, everyone knows this, but finding support and having opportunity to persue it is something rarely given.

So we find ways to pacify ourselves alcohol, drugs, the newest Jordans loud music, the new dance, promiscuity. All to not think about our circumstances or lack thereof.

Yeah we look rough, tough and thugged out, but theres a lot more than what meets the eye.

There are complete retards in our neighborhoods though that have given up all hope of ever be anything other than what our society has labled them. These are the shooters and killers.

Everyday, because of these people I have watch every passing car as I walk through my neighborhood because when the killers from the rival neighborhoods come "hunting" they don't care that I'm not in a gang or that I've never held a gun in my life, they don't care about my dreams and aspirations, but because I look like everyone else I become a target? I may not be a perfect, law-abiding, mainstream society citizen, I smoke weed, I listen to loud music, and I wear Jordans, but this does NOT MEAN I SHOULD DIE!

This is my reality in Rogers Park and I need you guys to understand it.

  • Mitchell Brown Historic Preservation fan

    Anyone caught committing a crime with a gun should get a mandatory 15 years in prison. Contact your local political leaders, both here in the city, and, more importantly, in Springfield (do you know who your state rep. and senator is? - I don't, but I know where that info is).

    We can get rid of any mandatory minimums that were implemented for non-violent drug offenses (if there are any in Illinois - if there are, while you're having a conversation with your rep. tell 'em you want these disposed of, and replaced with mandatory minimums for violence).

    Commit a crime with a gun and we, the people will lock you away for a MINIMUM of 15 years. Right now, the punishment is equivalent to shop lifting.

    SHOPLIFTING.

    All political initiatives in the state only get enacted with the backing of groups of people (as it should be in a democracy). Should we form one? Should we get involved with any groups already established for this policy?

    (pssst, the answer is clearly yes)

  • Anne Sullivan In and around Rogers Park since 1970

    One thing that really gets me on these threads is when people vilify "section 8" as the problem as though removing the poor people is the solution to crime. There's less crime in Highland Park because people have security systems, sturdy locks, and responsive cops who don't come to the scene of the crime and treat the victims like criminals. They see the police as public servants who are there to assist them, hence their willingness to report crime and work with the police. But call from the Broadmoor sometime and it's a completely different experience. The poor people in our community are far more victimized by crime. First, by the criminals lurking among them, second by society blaming them on the one hand, then exacerbating the problem by defunding the very things that create a safer community: schools, access to health and mental health care, healthy and secure housing.

  • Anne Sullivan In and around Rogers Park since 1970

    Look at the case of the rape in January on North Shore. It created an uproar because it was near Loyola and not in one of the "dangerous" parts of the neighborhood--but it was in a building with lower rents. The city had cited the building for the broken locks (which allowed the rapist easy access) the PREVIOUS AUGUST! Nothing was done about it. Five months later that inaction resulted in a rape. The alderman made a big show about the landlord's responsibility. A more productive response would have been to stand up in the city council and demand that, rather than funding a pricey private school's stadium or throwing money at luxury housing developers, the city should re-hire some building inspectors; demand that lawyers for the city in Administrative Hearings and Housing Court hold landlords feet to the fire who ignore the building code. “It seems like here, based on our inspection today, the landlord so far has done just the bare minimum,” Moore said a week after the crime. I think the same can be said of the building department and our City Council! But providing working class salaries and protecting the safety of regular people is not a priority.

  • Roxanne psychotherapist, gardner. 39 yr. resident of RP.

    Wow!!! Thanks thechiraqi for sharing your reality of what it is like, for you, living in RP. I have been in the vacinity for 72 yrs. (32 in Edgewater--40 in RP.) and have seen many, many changes but I have never seen the levels of difficulty that people are experiencing and dealing with just to survive...never mind thrive...as they are now. Thank you for showing me another view of what is happening to our community. I, myself, don't know what I can do about it...yet. But I will think long and hard about what you wrote here and hopefuly come up with how I can help healthy changes come about here. Thanks so much for the insight.

    p.s. You have a great way with words when expressing yourself. Ever think of becoming a writer? Professionally?

  • Craig_Gernhardt Official Account

    Chalk one up for the good-guys. Last night some LOC's came down to Morse "hunting" for some PBG's.

    Thank goodness the CPD cut them off at the pass. Hat-tip, officers.

  • Catherine NO!

    I agree with some of your points Mitchell and Ann. There definitely needs to be stricter penalties for gun crimes and lesser penalties for non-violent drug offenses. Could this be addressed by changing Chicago laws?

    If so, Rahm is up for re-election next year, is he not? Perhaps that's a good place to start, since the City Council is generally weak when compared to the influence of the Mayor's office. Around what time of year do people announce when they intend to run for mayor?

  • (My rose colored glasses, which always sit precariously above my brow have fallen down often lately.)

    I've been pondering the stark difference with which we treat gang members and terrorists... Being a member of terrorist organization, making a terrorist threat or even aiding a terrorist group has severe penalties in our system.

    Yet being a gang member, aiding a gang, or the illegal activity associated with a gang bears no differentiation in our penal code? Perhaps that's why gangs have flourished to numbers that they are at.

    Besides not having the resources, prison space, and the slippery slope of proving someone is in a gang (without infringing upon personal rights)-- why don't we treat its members like the domestic terrorists that they are?? A crime committed by someone in a gang should carry its weight to court and face more severe punishment.

    Knowing who's in a gang and having knowledge of their activities without reporting is aiding them too... They do not exist in a vacuum.

    Of course we could always dress all the young men on Howard in khakis, button up shirts, and loafers, hoping that they don't become "innocent" victims of the next "hunt".

  • Stop the influx of guns. Then people would actually have to get close to each other to fight. You know, like men used to fight, with fists and maybe knives. Without innocent children in the crossfire. You won't hear about a knife flying through the wall of someone's house and hitting them while they watch TV.

  • thechiraqi Tired of seeing people die....

    I think good deterent for the people most likely to carry guns and commit violent crimes,.... would be for law to be enacted that demands ten years mandatory for anyone caught even for unlawfully "POSSESSING" a gun. No parole, no good time, A FULL TEN YEARS!

    If enacted and fully publicised on all media formats, every illegal gun owner or potential illegal gun owner would have a very tangible dilemma when contemplating keeping or purchasing a firearm illegally.

    Although this law wouldn't eliminate the current crisis we have in Chicago, I believe it would significantly decrease the amount of gun crimes in our city, possibly by half.

  • Craig_Gernhardt Official Account

    Chechiraqi, the same thing happened to my friend, Tiwon S. He got laid off from the cuts to CeaseFire, also. Quite frankly, CeaseFire doesn't work with interrupters from other neighborhoods.

    Nor does it work if they don't work with the CPD. The "No Snitching" ammendment the gangs use - is our biggest hurdle to jump over.

  • @chiraqi. I second the vote.

  • thechiraqi Tired of seeing people die....

    @Craig_G, I actually designed an operations communication tool for CeaseFire operatives in the field aimed at remeding the old, slow, unsecured and obsolete system they have in place now...."The Telephone". My concept allowed the opportunity to give CeaseFire more efficient and effective operatives. I presented the concept to the interim director of CeaseFire 6 months ago, and while he totally loved the operational value of the tool, he told me that there was no money for it. The development and deployment would only cost 50,000$....smh.

  • Helen NoH North of Howard for 55 + years

    Paco, how is it that I, who allegedly lives in the MOST dangerous area of RP if I'm to believe all the garbage that's spread about my little corner of RP, have never in all of my nearly 55 years here felt the need to move to someplace safer? There is no place in RP that I've ever felt unsafe.

  • Chiraqi, have you looked into grants?

  • This comment has been removed by EveryBlock staff because it contains inappropriate content.
  • Helen NoH North of Howard for 55 + years

    E&A, this neighborhood was lily white when I moved here as were most, if not all, north side neighborhoods. Gradually, it became the kind of neighborhood I wanted to live in without moving to Hyde Park. I find your comment disgustingly racist.

  • Carl Good

    One of the ugliest comments I've ever read on EB.

  • John Versical all around nice guy

    E&A -- That's enough from you. I mute you and salute you for the most racist comment on EB that hasn't yet been deleted. Good work, poor soul, with exceeding at being a completely out of touch human being.

    To the original poster, thechiraqi -- Thank you for your perspective. Please keep posting! I'm glad to know you're my neighbor.

  • NewToRp Native New York...new to RP.

    You have lost your mind EB to generalize black people as thugs and section 8. Quite offended!

    Wow!!! So what happens when the thugs are white, because yes they do exists....

    Racist!

  • To everyone who was offended by the comment that section 8 breeds bad crowd: I understand your outrage because I know from experience that there are hard working people who need government assistance at times (my aunt was left alone by her husband to provide for 5 children, used government assistance for 5-8 years to get kids through college. Now all of them hold good jobs and pay taxes) but yet why there is hardly any gang crime going in Lincoln Park where section 8 housing is not offered?

  • People can take away your freedom, money and the list is ad infinitum. But they can NEVER take away an education. Education is empowerment. I encourage everyone to seek a good education. Its in the reach of all.

    I volunteer in Uptown and live in Rogers Park. I help those less fortunate better themselves to get an education and job training. I see the succeses and the change in people. May I recommend a good book Recipe for Hope. Written about this inspirational organization and the people who have been empowered by education.

  • Andrew Mann Hippie with a job

    I blame rap music. Killing your own people is cool? Parents, don't let your kids listen to that garbage!

  • Michelle Edgewater Edgewater Resident: Love the neighborhood!

    Ira, First, there is section 8 in Lincoln Park. I don't know where you get the idea that there isn't. I know the Webster House has section 8 units, and I'm sure they aren't the only building. Maybe you're thinking CHA buildings, which are different from section 8 units.

    Second, I strongly suggest you look up crime rates for Lincoln Park. It always makes me chuckle when people act like neighborhoods like Lincoln Park are in some sort of bubble that criminals can't penetrate. There were 185 reported violent crimes in Lincoln Park in 2013. 187 were reported in Edgewater.

  • MoodysDweller

    @thechiraqi
    You really must continue writing your stories and send them to local mainstream publications. And if they don't get published, keep sending them! "Everyone" must understand what you are saying; on both sides... You have a powerful perspective and a seemingly loving voice. Please, please, please try to get it heard to more communities.

  • Michelle Edgewater Edgewater Resident: Love the neighborhood!

    Also, the former PoliSci major in me feels the need to make a point about CHA and section 8. Public housing and section 8 is plagued with issues, specifically housing good families in the same buildings as criminals. I suggest anyone interested read about Hills v Gautreaux, which is what started section 8 in Chicago. Instead of helping uplift those less fortunate and benefit the entire community, they intentionally let black families live in horrid conditions among criminals because whites didn't want to live anywhere near blacks. They knew, even documented, that they would hurt families' ability to uplift themselves and hurt the economies of the south and west sides. But that was better than making whites live near blacks. Those precious few who were given quality section 8 right after the case were followed through the generations and have almost entirely led productive lives. The U.S. Supreme Court ordered CHA and HUD to resolve the issue racially discriminatory public housing in 1976, and yet it was only a few years ago that they actually started taking down the high-rise projects.

    http://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/425/284/case.html This doesn't even begin to get into how audacious CHA was.

  • robin in WRP I support a 28th Amendment 4Free & Fair Elections!

    Rap music? Really? I have an 18 year old daughter, went to Decatur and Whitney Young (there were years she qualified for free lunch and fee waivers), college freshman, dean's list, listens to rap.

    It's all about education. When someone doesn't have parenting skills, there is not much of a chance of a child turning out like mine.

  • This was (and is) the best and most thoughtful string of posts that I have ever seen on Everyblock. It is nice to hear from somebody who really understands a problem rather than those who think they know without having been acquainted with the reality of what they are talking about. Too many posts here are like a travelog about a country that you haven't been to. Chiraqi, stay safe and keep on doing what good work you can.

  • Mitchell Brown Historic Preservation fan

    I believe if you want tougher gun laws - long sentences for crimes committed using a gun, legal or otherwise - you must take it up with your representatives in Springfield. I don't think this is an issue the City Council can deal with. I could be wrong, but I don't think I am.

  • Michael Luckenbach 36 year resident of Rogers Park-North of Howard

    "Low income people living with lots of other low income people creates an environment where healthy economic growth is nearly impossible and crime flourishes. Everyone knows that it within an economically stable community, adequate education can be provided, and stable family structures can be established, which allow the children of this community to take advantage of the numerous resources available, thereby going forth into the world to become productive citizens of society.
    In many low income communities the exact opposite has been prepetuated for generations and generations. How can a kid be expected become anything other than what he's seen in his home and in his community all his life and his mothers and fathers before him? Is he wrong for doing what humans have done throughout existence, adapt and become a part of his environment weather good or bad? Most of these kids spend 90 percent of their lives within a 6 block radius of their homes."
    thechiraqi

    IMO, everyone has the right to and must be provided with the opportunity and or subsidy, if needed, for safe and affordable housing, whether it's rental or owned, The problem is concentrating subsidized/low-income housing in a single building, block or neighborhood.
    Striving to create true mixed-income communities is a long term solution for all residents, especially those with the least advantages....who do and have become generationally trapped in this kind of 'poverty based' environment and economy.

    This is the 900 lb. elephant in the room and it needs to be confronted

  • AWOFINC Continual Growth Through Service

    We'd love to have all those truly interested in reducing and preventing violence join us for the next Violence Prevention Coalition meeting for Rogers Park. The VPC is comprised of residents, business owners, clergy and stakeholders who meet regularly to discuss and implement solutions to violence in RP. We love all these great opinions and could use this intensity at our next meeting in May. We will be sure to post the date and location here on EB.

  • Paco 50thWardFollies.com

    Helen, your experiences clearly differed from mine. After 30 years, I felt that the risks to my personal safety warranted moving. I'm glad you feel able to stay. My choice is not a reflection on you or your immediate area.

  • Bruce_ Comment by TBD, whom you've muted

    As is most of the experiences with the families that have fled from that area.

  • Andrew Mann Hippie with a job

    So your daughter likes to listen to lyrics about drive-by shootings and crack dealing?

  • If you think there's all there is to rap music, or that every artist raps about negative topics, then you simply haven't been listening to the right songs. Don't assume everyone shares your musical myopia.

  • John Versical all around nice guy

    Don't respond to Andrew. It's a troll. One who evidently just returned from vacation.

  • Andrew Mann Hippie with a job

    Hahaha! Yeah, Turks and Caicos was great as always. BTW Versical, even that you like to insult people I won't call you any names. You're OK in my book. Maybe way too "peppy" and "bubbly" and a little "keyboard warriory" but that's it.

  • This comment has been removed by EveryBlock staff.
  • Estes&Ashland Rogers Park & West Ridge Resident since 1960

    I actually like it when my comments get "pinked" -

    It just draws even more attention to the truth of the things I say !!!

    KEEP PINKING, FOOLS

  • This comment has been removed by EveryBlock staff because it contains inappropriate content.
  • Marcus Rogers Park Resident

    OP thank you for a very insightful post. Glad I can call you a neighbor.

  • John Versical all around nice guy

    Estes:

    Any person with even the most rudimentary reading and writing skills should be able to view your badly composed, grammatically incorrect message as being an intentional if not poorly veiled racist, baiting message.

    Your line of thinking has expired and is no longer relevant in a civilized, modern society.

    There are several neighbors in this forum who I often disagree with and we have both playful and sometimes more serious disagreements. Either way, I recognize that all of those neighbors, despite our disagreements, mean the best for our community no matter how differently we view the problems and solutions.

    You, on the other hand clearly want to disrupt everything.

    Please move along and make way for critical thinking, problem solving, and action. That's what most neighbors in the community need and want. Race baiting and foolishly veiled messages intended to cause conflict are not.

    Whoever you are, behind your fake name, please be gone. If you have courage enough to place a name behind your thoughts, then maybe you can begin to be taken seriously.

  • Thank you for such a sincere telling of your very personal history. I moved to RP from Oakland CA only four months ago and have been constantly invigorated by how neighborly the people are around here. Please continue to shine on for our brothers and sisters of all kinds, types, minds and histories.

  • robin in WRP I support a 28th Amendment 4Free & Fair Elections!

    John V (and others), don't feed the trolls; it only encourages them

  • Thanks thechiraqi for the post. Hope you find employment soon. The concept may seem counter-intuitive to those on the right but the best solution to the illicit-drug-trade-feeding-youth-gun-violence problem is a Basic Income Guarantee (B.I.G) America can't afford poverty anymore.

  • Andrew Mann Hippie with a job

    John V, the use of intentional "overly proper" language as to portray some form of "intellectual superiority" over your enemy, is a very tired YouTube form of retaliation.
    Are you new to the internet?

  • This comment has been removed by EveryBlock staff because it contains inappropriate content.
  • Craig_Gernhardt Official Account

    "Understanding the Violence in Rogers Park" - Part #2.

    John V. said: "a$shole, let's meet up some time."

  • A.S Living and Playing in Chicago

    Chiraqi, I encourage you to start a blog with your great writing. When you get a lot of pageviews(which you will easily) You can then sell ads on your site. There are many bloggers doing this and generating income.

    You can hold events in the community too.

    I lived on Howard St for a year in a studio and although I didn't look like a target still was to go out alone unless my 6'4 230 lb fiance was with me. It didn't phase him at all though. I got used to the neighborhood. I love the movie theater and the Starbucks plaza for people watching. They did a nice job with the Howard Station and we were taking it downtown everyday. We still use the tennis courts.

    I would not been able to get out of that studio if I didn't have my education. We saved enough to buy a condo in Edgewater that we were admiring for awhile because it was next door to the park for my kid and it had everything we wanted.

    We still hang out in RP of course.

  • A.S Living and Playing in Chicago

    Wasn't comfortable I mean sorry for typo.

  • This comment has been removed by EveryBlock staff because it contains inappropriate content.

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