President Obama said young people need to have hope for a future outside of jail or an early death.
Although much of the national attention has shifted to the upcoming presidential election, Chicago’s gun violence hasn’t slacked much since this summer when weekends brought news of record death tolls among the city’s Black youth.
In an interview with MTV News, President Obama, a resident of Chicago’s South Side, opened up about how the city’s violence has affected him personally and what he believes the country needs to do to stop the bloodshed.
"I live on the South Side of Chicago. 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, who maintains a residence in the city's Hyde Park neighborhood. "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."
On Monday, Chicago recorded its 436th homicide of 2012 — matching the total number of killings in 2011 with two months left in the year. Over the weekend, there were six fatal shootings in Chicago and 14 were left wounded from gunfire.
President Obama acknowledged that Chicago’s youth are overwhelmingly involved in the violence and called for solutions specifically tailored to helping young people feel vested in their futures.
“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."
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(Photo: Courtesy of MTV News)