Violence against CPS students continues

March 4, 2008 5:09:48 PM PST
An alarming number of Chicago students continue to be victims of gun violence. It happens with greater frequency in Chicago's inner city neighborhoods. Once again, there is an outcry to stop the violence.

Just this past weekend, eight school children were shot. Dr. Gary Slutkin of the Cease Fire Intervention Project says it is the leading cause of death of people in the under 35 age group in Chicago.

Three CPS students were killed this weekend, including 15-year-old Kadeidrah Marsh of the Austin neighborhood. Police say she was the victim of an ongoing dispute involving her sisters and another female.

This school year, 17 CPS students have been killed. That's on pace with last year when 27 CPS students died as a result of violence.

"America loves guns. Americans are in love with guns. The national candidates are afraid to talk about guns because they're afraid of elections," said Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Slutkin said he agrees with Mayor Daley that eliminating guns would really cut down on homicides.

"We could get rid of the guns, that would be the single most impactful thing," said Slutkin, an M.D. with the UIC Department of Public Health.

For the past 13 years, Cease Fire Intervention workers have gone to the streets at night and have been able to reduce gun violence. Recently, their funding was cut back.

"The Cease-Fire program has intercepted 1,500 of these potential shootings in the last 3 1/2 years," said Slutkin.

Slutkin says it appears that gangs are not responding right now to community outreach. He says that violence in Chicago and in most cities has become normal behavior.

"The young people are becoming victims of violent crime. I believe that basically if you look at other countries that have no guns or (have) effective gun laws, are very few people killed, very few people killed by guns. But here in America, guns are killing more and more people every day, every week, every month," said Slutkin.

Dr. Slutkin says violence is like the heart disease and cancer of young people and must be treated like a disease. He says that like a disease, it can be transmitted from person to person. He adds that violent behavior cannot be accepted and tolerated, or it will spread.