Activist: Relatives key to help stop the violence

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What a way to ring in the new year — being among the first to die.

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What a way to ring in the new year — being among the first to die.

Marcus Tucker and Nicholas Camacho were fatally shot this week in separate incidents in what some see as a wave of escalating violence strangling the city within the last few weeks.

It’s the same story, just a different day.

Tucker, 27, was found in an alley Tuesday of the 1000 block of North Keystone Ave. Camacho, 19, the first homicide victim of the year, was felled by gun violence on the Northwest Side in an apparent gang-related shooting.

No arrests have been made in either case.

Last week, Dantril Brown, 17, and Jawan Ross, 16, were gunned down at Church’s Chicken in the 6600 block of South Halsted St. Five others were wounded in the shooting. A 23-year-old man, Arthur Chaney, was charged in the shootings.

Chicago police officer Clifton Lewis lost his life during a robbery attempt at a West Side convenience store. Lewis was hired as a security guard at the store because of a recent rash of robberies there. No arrests have been made in his case.

So, what’s it going to take to get the violence under control?

Family control, said the director of CeaseFire Illinois.

“All of the perpetrators of violence have family members who know what they are doing. The only person that can stop a violent perpetrator is someone close to them. Violence is a way of thinking. Some people are pre-occupied with violent thinking and it spreads like a disease the same way people can spread HIV,” said Tio Hardiman, CeaseFire Illinois director.

But some said economics and mental health play a significant factor.

"Unfortunately the Black community is in a State of Emergency, yet we as a collective community are not responding like we are in a state of emergency, and until we do, we will just continue to adjust to the pain and suffering and even death that comes. Our community is facing desperate acts of violence from desperate economic conditions that or collective leadership and community is not responding to with a desperate economic solution,” said community activist Mark Allen.

Allen said the community, as well as Black leadership, was warned about the effects mental health service cuts would have on the community.

“Our communities are paying from our lack of putting an end to years of mental health cuts and allowing the severe cuts to the very programs that were proven to help with crime intervention and prevention. Most of our youth and adults who are in the criminal justice system, commit senseless acts of violence have done these desperate acts trying to resolve their desperate economic conditions,” he added.

State Rep. La Shawn Ford (D-8th) called on Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Gov. Pat Quinn to meet with elected officials from the West Side to address the growing violence.

"My deepest sympathy is extended to all who have been touched by another meaningless act of violence. I urge the Governor and the Mayor to meet with West Side elected officials and other leaders to improve the quality of life for everyone on the West Side," Ford said in a statement.

Copyright 2012 Chicago Defender

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