In a somber moment, President Barack Obamafinally discusses the war-zone level violence in his hometown of Chicago, Illinois, where over 400 murders had occurred by the end of September.RELATED: Dear Mr. President: What About Chicago?
Speaking candidly with Sway Calloway in a 30-minute MTV Special, “Ask Obama Live: An MTV Interview with the President,” the POTUS said that the violence strikes close to home for him.
“I live on the South side of Chicago,” said Obama, who lives in the 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.”
Though he has been heavily criticized for tap-dancing around gun violence, some would say in an ineffective attempt at pandering to the 2nd amendment, NRA-loving crowd who, in all likelihood, won’t vote for him anyway, he says that critics have to look beyond guns and embrace and “all-of-the-above approach”:
“What I know is that gun violence is part of the issue,” he said. “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.”
“If they’ve got mental health issues, are they getting the kind of services and counseling that they need early on?” he said.
“Are we making those investments in those young people so that by the time they’re 11, 12, 13, 15 … they can make responsible choices because they feel they’ve got something at stake?”
President Obama acknowledges that though his administration has addressed some of these issues, community organizations and law enforcement must remain diligent so that “kids don’t feel as if they’ve got no prospects in life and end up killing each other.”