Gang Violence Essay

Length: 3 pages Sources: 1+ Subject: Law - Constitutional Law Type: Essay Paper: #76830911 Related Topics: Youth Gangs, Symbolic Interactionism, Grieving, Youth Violence
Excerpt from Essay :

Gang Violence

For many years gang violence has plagued cities in the United States and around the world, causing disruptions and chaos in communities, and bringing grief and grieving to families in those communities. There seems to be no end to the killings and gang members appear to have access to unlimited numbers of weapons. Lately Chicago Illinois, in particular, has been the scene of numerous deaths due to gang violence. This paper reviews and critiques an article in The Atlantic in which noted University of Chicago Crime Lab scholar Dr. Harold Pollack is interviewed by Ta-Nehisi Coates. The interview took place in Chicago around the time that Hadiya Pendleton was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting in a Chicago park on January 29, 2013. Pendleton was a member of a marching band that played at the inauguration of President Obama. At the time of her murder, she was hanging out with her volleyball team and was shot in the back when a shooter just apparently aimed into a crowd of students.

How does society address the issue of gang / gun violence?

Pollack, a public health researcher the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration, is generally credited with bringing the issue of gun violence into a public health perspective (instead of being just another law enforcement issue). Pollack recalls the fears he experienced growing up in New York City's Washington Heights. One day while on his way to an AP class at Columbia University, he was "jumped" in a subway station by a gang of high-school-aged boys who wanted his watch, which his high school sweetheart had given to...


He resisted until a kid "…grabbed me by the hair and smashed my head against the concrete floor" (Coates, 2013, p. 2).

Pollack's cousin was "beaten to death by two teenage house burglars" a couple years after Pollack was attacked, so he set the table in the interview as far as fully understanding gang violence. One of the dynamics that apparently causes gang members to attack is the fact (according to "academic literature") that "aggression-prone kids aren't very good at deciphering the unspoken intentions of other people," Pollack explained. In other words, violent youths misinterpret other people's behavior and see it as "more hostile and more threatening than it actually is" (Coates, p. 3). Why do aggressive young toughs in Chicago mistake a normal expression for something hostile? Perhaps many young African-Americans don't have a father or an adult law-abiding man in their lives to model mature behaviors for them, Pollack surmises.

Chicago has more guns on the streets than New York does, Pollack explains; in fact the Chicago Police Department seizes "…roughly six times the guns" that the NYPD does. So Pollack and his crime lab colleagues are looking into ways to "…disrupt underground gun markets," he said. Coates asked Pollack how he plans to disrupt the underground markets. Pollack reported that "Chuck's Gun Shop," just outside Chicago's city limits, sells guns illegally. Pollack supports "reverse buy-and-bust operations" (a kind of sting operation) to shut down corrupt gun dealers.

Moreover, Pollack insists that when a police officer finds a young man with a gun, "…we don't always respond with the urgency that we should"; just because that weapon has not been used in a crime doesn't mean the sentence by the judge…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Carlson, Lois. (2012). Toward stopping violence in Chicago: why there is hope. The Christian

Science Monitor. Retrieved February 17, 2013, from

Coates, Ta-Nehisi. (2013). The Social Trends Driving American Gangs and Gun Violence. The Atlantic. Retrieved February 17, 2013, from

Reynolds, Larry T, and Herman-Kinney, Nancy J. (2003). Handbook of Symbolic

Cite this Document:

"Gang Violence" (2013, February 17) Retrieved June 12, 2021, from

"Gang Violence" 17 February 2013. Web.12 June. 2021. <>

"Gang Violence", 17 February 2013, Accessed.12 June. 2021,

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