Thursday, October 04, 2007
Makeshift memorials dot city
PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania -- Driving through southwest Philly to the scene of a recent murder, it's impossible to miss the evidence: a makeshift street corner shrine to a murder victim.

We thought we'd found the place we were looking for, but we hadn't. Our corner was four blocks away, another shrine.

That's what it's like here, with piles of stuffed toys, photos of the dead, testimonials scrawled on poster board, every few blocks.

There is hope, but everyone agrees you have to get to the kids while they're young, before the culture and economics of the street suck them in.

At Smokin Joe Frazier's gym in North Philly, we met teenagers, some doing homework, others sparring in the ring, determined to stay off the streets. Boxing, a passion here in Philly, gave them an alternative.

The man most likely to take over as mayor next year, Michael Nutter, told us he intends to get back to the basics of community policing to try to stop the killing. He has a lot of work to do.

-- By Steve Turnham, CNN Producer
Posted By CNN: 2:08 PM ET
  7 Comments
I'm sorry to hear about the violence in Philadelphia. My parents both were raised in the city. I know people in Chicago whose children were accepted to the University of Pennsylvania, but declined because of the neighborhoods surrounding the college. The problems seem similar to Chicago. We have to catch these children before they are exposed to crimes, gangs and violence. Parents need to know where their children are. Thanks for the story. P.S. Boxing is big in Philly. I remember my friends and I doing the "Rocky" run up the steps of the Art Institute!
Posted By Kathy Chicago,Il : 3:09 PM ET
The culture has to change from within the home, within each family. As long as parents abandon their responsibilities at home, the children are going to grow up without guidance. Many of the fathers abandon their families leaving the mothers alone to work and raise children in poverty.

The only thing remaining for these kids are the gangs which creates a cycle of community violence.
Posted By Joseph Kowalski, North Huntingdon, PA : 3:38 PM ET
This is an issue that needs to be dealt with on a national level. It's not just local community politicians that need to focus on this issue- action clearly needs to be done nationally. We can't ignore issues of violence, poverty and race anymore just because they are unpleasant to think about.

I think Hurricane Katrina has brought a lot of this to light. There's a new documentary coming out called Desert Bayou (http://www.desertbayoumovie.com) that addresses these issues of poverty and violence closely, in New Orleans and beyond. Hopefully media like this can force people to stop ignoring the fundamental flaws in our system that are leading to this type of violence in impoverished, urban areas.
Posted By Christina Shideler, Austin, TX : 3:53 PM ET
I am a high school teacher and counselor, and it always saddens me to hear of teen deaths. It also gladdens me to know that people do care and are working in communities to help kids become successes in life.

The solution to teen violence and other issues is multi-faceted. It does start with parents actually being good parents. It also involves teaching kids to handle anger properly, showing them they have a future without a criminal lifestyle (many of the ones I work with already have juvenile records and if we don't get them now we may lose them forever), and providing skills and education to them they can use to further their training post-high school and get a legit job. It involves letting a kid know they have a safe adult who cares about them, won't judge them, but will do his or her best to help them through the tough stuff teens experience in life. It finally involves giving kids something in the community to do like sports, church, family activities or service work that makes them feel good about themselves without using alcohol, other drugs, sex or the guns and weapons that accompany the thug lifestyle of violence that some are dying over each day.

I have always said it is the community's responsibility to raise its children in a healthy manner as parts of Philadelphia and other cities are trying to do. I believe that doing nothing makes us just as guilty for what happens to our future generations as those who provide the guns and drugs to these kids. We all are our brothers' (and sisters') keepers. If we don't take charge of our youth and lead them in the right direction, who will, especially if the parents are incapable of doing so?
Posted By Tammy, Berwick, LA : 4:20 PM ET
It is sad and scary to hear about all the violence in Philadelphia and other cities across the country. There was just a shooting this morning in Philly that killed two men. Something needs to be done about this. Something needs to be done in the community and in the home. Parents need to help guide their children along the right path and the community should offer programs to help keep kids and adults off of the streets. I was just watching The Ellen Degeneres Show this afternoon and she had a man on who is a band director at a high school in a bad area of Washington, DC. He was in the same band when he was in high school, and he says it kept him off of the streets, and now he wants to keep other children off of the streets too, that's why he wanted to go back and work at his alma mater. We need more programs like that to keep kids involved and off the streets whether it is school related activities like band, or sports or even community activites.
Posted By Kaitlin, Bethlehem, PA : 4:46 PM ET
Well, why does it always take 5 or 6 police officers to handcuff someone. In this case a woman. No wonder they couldn't get her arm out from under her, they were all on top of her. As for no video camera in holding rooms because of privacy issues. What privacy, we just witnessed the video of her arrest on TV. There are cameras in police station holding rooms, why not at the airport?
Posted By Maggie, Ft. Lauderdale, Fl : 10:46 PM ET
Where is Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton? Oh yeah thats right they only get involved when its white on black crime and there are TV cameras around. The problem with the inner cities in America is the black culture as it is portrayed on MTV. BLING BLING, Drug use, and gang life is almost encouraged by all rap artists and nobody is looking to stop it. Oh lets remove the N-word and H-Word and stop degrading women. But glorifying drugs, gangs and bling, well without that then there wouldnt be rap. Jail and Prison time is seen almost as a rite of passage. You aren't anything on the street unless you have served time. Try to get out, do the right thing, get good grades and you are labeled an 'Uncle Tom'. I mean only in America can we have a black presidential candidate questioned on his blackness by his own people. Even Al Sharpton claimed he didnt like him as a candidate because he wasnt 'black enough' and didnt talk like a 'black person'. What the heck does that mean?
Posted By Peter : 12:14 PM ET
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