Chicago had the deadliest January since 2002 last month with 42 homicides, which included the killing of Hadiya Pendleton. As a result, many have urged President Obama to put gun control at the front of his agenda.
On Friday afternoon, the president will speak on guns in Chicago, as part of a three-state tour to promote his State of the Union policies. He will also meet with a group of young African-American men who live in a community plagued with gun violence.
But can his policies truly affect change? A dozen of high school students who live in neighborhoods with high gang activity don't believe Obama can change the gang culture, according to the Chicago Tribune. They feel the issues are deeper than just gun control reform.
The Chicago Tribune reports:
While all of the young men at the community center said they had respect for the first African-American president, they noted that it would be difficult for anyone to penetrate the culture of violence.
"People look up to Mr. Obama more than he knows, but the one thing they need is their guns," said Latwon Rufus, 18. "It's about revenge, reputation and territory. That's the city of Chicago."
On the surface, they said, guns are the biggest problem. But there are also underlying issues, like the feeling among some youths that there is no future outside of their communities.
There is a disconnect between their lives and the president's, though he hails from the South Side, they explained. Coming to Chicago is just "publicity" for the president, Minor said.
"A lot of people feel hopeless. (They say,) 'If you don't care about me, why should I care about you?' So they get in a gang because they have so much despair," said Quron Jackson, 16.
It is easier to fall off the right path than to stay on it, they said.
Read the full story here.
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(Photo: Commercial Appeal /Landov)