Friday, October 12, 2007
'Anything goes' on Philly streets, teen says
PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (CNN) -- On the streets of Philadelphia's toughest neighborhoods, just trying to get ahead can get you killed.

"You got a good-looking girlfriend, you're going to get shot; someone wants her," said 17-year-old Andre, who asked his last name not be used for this article.

"If you're getting a little money, you're going to get shot -- someone wants that. Any way you look at it, it's just a bad situation."

Andre is caught up in the tough life on the streets of Philadelphia's Southside neighborhood. At 13, he watched his brother get shot and killed in front of his home by another teenager. By 15, he was wanted for two counts of armed robbery and theft.

Click here to read more

By Ismael Estrada, CNN Producer
David Mattingly, CNN Correspondent
Posted By CNN: 5:39 PM ET
  27 Comments
It is really sad to hear about the constant crime on the streets of Philly. Living not very far from Philly and having some friends who go to college there, it's really scary to hear about all the shootings and crimes that go on all the time. Something needs to be done about it. It is way out of control.
Posted By Kaitlin, Bethlehem, PA : 5:54 PM ET
This problem is spreading like a contagious disease, you never know what city or state is going to be next. Guns and violence is becoming more like playing a game of ‘equilibrium’, where the young generation lives and dies by the gun. For all we know, we are indeed losing the Price of Humanity.
Posted By Elsabeth - Ontario, Canada : 6:31 PM ET
What a sad story. I was born in Philly but raised in the burbs. Where are he parents and family of all of these lost souls? It seems like way to much free time and way too little supervision. I hope that the community and local authorities can work together to find a solution before all hope is lost. Thanks for the story. Have a great week-end!
Posted By Kathy Chicago,Il : 6:34 PM ET
I think crime in Philly and really all over the United States is getting worse because everyone has become so desensitized to violence. The more you see of it the less it bothers you. It has become this vicious cycle. As you are growing up the violence just graduates to higher levels and you think that is just how it is. And you do what you have to do to cope with the situations around you. Unfortunately for alot of kids now that means carrying weapons which leads to more severe violence. When will that ever end!? It seems that it will just get worse!

Cynthia, Covington, Ga.
Posted By Cindy : 6:37 PM ET
Kids turn to gangs and don't care about the consequences of their behavior because the people in their home life don't care about them, either. It's time we go back to basic family values and spend time with our children, tell them how much we love them and care about them. We have underestimated the importance of quality time for way too long, and we are now paying the price.
Posted By Lilibeth, Edmonds, Washington : 7:07 PM ET
I believe we have to make the penalties for crime more harsh because if you know you're going away for 20 years for a gun crime, hopefully you're going to be more sensible.
Posted By Mike S., Seattle, WA. : 7:14 PM ET
Even these teens know the justice system is set up to get off with the least sentence (if you get a fast-talkin' lawyer); especially with celebrities, it's almost as if you can buy your way to a lighter sentence. That's wrong isn't it?
Posted By Jane B., Boston, Ma. : 7:18 PM ET
What's different in 2007 from the way things were a hundred years ago? There were guns back then, people were the same back then, but what's different? I think it's lack of respect in our present society for the traditional family.
Posted By Jim J., Indianapolis, In. : 7:21 PM ET
The problem is the culture of the inner city that encourages fatherless children. The City and State put you on the dole if you have children, and the more children you have, the more money you get. Then the mothers of these children turn them loose on the streets. I think one solution is free birth control for teens so there's less unwanted babies being born.
Posted By Noni - Philadelphia, Pa. : 7:33 PM ET
These kids don't have supervision, so they look to solve their problems with violence because it "gets the job done." Im not saying it's the right answer, but when you grow up in a home with gun and violence, those are the tools you use.
Posted By vincente j., atlanta, ga. : 7:37 PM ET
I wish more celebrities, especially rap stars and basketball players would mentor kids to find their own success and not follow the gang lifestyle.
Posted By chas, virginia beach, va. : 7:40 PM ET
It's sad and overwhelming to keep reading about Philadelphia violence. It's wrong that a kid can get a gun on the street corner easier than he can get a book or a library card.
Posted By Courtney L., Providence, RI : 7:47 PM ET
I think the long term solution is to fight poverty and lack of opportunity for these kids. Otherwise- whether someone is using a gun, knife, pipe or baseball bat - victims remain.
Posted By Don P., Raleigh, N.C. : 7:51 PM ET
If teens don't have access to guns, it makes it alot harder for them to make bad decisions. Most people who shoot someone are doing it over very minor disagreements. They are simply not thinking about the consequences of their actions. We've got to make it easier for teens to get guns.
Posted By Elizabeth Rose, Idaho Falls, Id. : 8:02 PM ET
We need to come up with practical solutions to getting guns out of the hands of teenagers, but as a community, as a city, as a country, I'd like to see some acknowledgment and a willingness to act on the bigger problems of family support, education, wages, jobs, prisons, that are causing the problem in the first place.
Posted By Christopher, Washington, D.C. : 8:10 PM ET
Just a side note--- we want to pay for more middle class childrens' health care by taxing cigarettes. Why don't we pay for everyone's health care by taxing guns with double digit sales tax on them?
Posted By Suzanne H., Houston, Tx. : 8:14 PM ET
People need to step up and mentor some youth, instead of just talking about them or being afraid of them as they walk down the street.
Posted By kate p. - novi, michigan : 8:18 PM ET
I think the issue has to be dealt with by fighting for more gun restrictions, along with spreading the word to a larger audience, about the distress and anger that is felt in Philadelphia.
Posted By Jennifer S., Kansas City, Ks. : 8:22 PM ET
I strongly believe that education and after-school programs can help a lot of kids learn how to handle conflict better. Removing stressors, such as lack of good wages, lack of decent housing,and access to health care sure would help a lot of folks out.
Posted By Quinn Baylor, New Haven, Ct. : 8:27 PM ET
This is not just a Philadelphia issue. Where are the black leaders who come out when whites commit crimes against blacks? Don't they think black-on-black school shootings are a problem?
Posted By John G., Stuart, Fl. : 8:34 PM ET
It takes a parent - preferably two - to civilize a child.
Posted By casey - santa fe, nm : 8:48 PM ET
You have a section of town that is poorer than the others, have limited opportunities for jobs or advancement, and have no hope for anything better, then its not surprising that some use violence to survive. Perhaps they do not value human life because they do not feel valued themselves. Somehow we as a nation need to help people like this have access to opportunities that the rest of us have.

Annie Kate
Birmingham AL
Posted By Annie Kate : 10:43 PM ET
philly is just 1 city, pick any large city in the us, the teen thugs, rule the inner cities, where are the parents (in jail, doped up, drunk)
where are the police? too afraid to go into the mess? imo, most inner cities need to be put under martial law, patrolled by the national gaurd, and their orders are... shoot first ask questions later, till these gangs get the message
Posted By Anonymous : 1:55 AM ET
I think that parenting has alot to do with the way kids behave and act these days....Maybe if we talked to our kids more, show them a good example as the saying goes "monkey see monkey do" you can not expect your child not do drugs himself, if you the parent have been all his life!!!
Posted By Amanda Ontario Canada : 11:41 PM ET
What are these children's role models??? Are the parents around??? Do they care??? For the love of God and your children....MOVE!! It's not impossible!
Posted By Anonymous : 9:11 AM ET
I was raised in SW Philly and left when I was almost 25 Yrs old.Now ten yrs later I can tell you it's really gotten bad in the time since I left.I know this because my parents are still there. They say it's because they don't want to leave, but in actuality it's because they can't leave. Being elderly and on a fixed income they are forced to live in a very different neighborhood than of my childhood. Both my parents have been mugged in the last 7 yrs. Not to be prejudiced,but since it's turned black it's a war zone.It seems that the poorer blacks,who by all accounts are mostly section 8 renters,don't have any respect for themselves,others,or where they live. Some,not all, prey on others to get what they want.The older ones instill no values in the younger ones and this is why the neighborhood is in such a state of despair. Drug dealing on most corners, no desire to be educated in school, relying on the government to support them and the list goes on. Those "white residents" who chose to flee to suburbia did so because they wanted to give their children a safer environment to live in. They knew 20 yrs ago that the neighborhoods of SW Philly,like other areas of Philly,could not be saved and would eventually be destroyed. I've been a witness to the change over the years and quite frankly it makes me sick.
Posted By Anonymous : 5:06 PM ET
Why do our leaders spend billions to wage wars of attrition against drugs and faceless terrorists? The real war is for the future of America. Children need to be raised to value human life, all starting with their own. Schools need to teach and equip kids with 21st century skills. Right now many people having kids do not have the ability or wisdom to care for them and are raising dangerous, selfish,narcissitic kids who can cause more havoc than any terrorist can imagine. We need to teach kids the golden rule and love them before it's too late.
Posted By Anonymous : 5:14 PM ET
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