For many people in the cities around Chicago gangs and gang violence are just part of everyday life. For those in Ford Heights and similar areas, the violence has been steadily escalating for days and no one quite knows why. The dominant gangs appears to be splitting along previously unknown fault lines. Loyal members vanish for a few days and then come back only to shoot up their former allies with no demands or talk involved.
The most recent shooting has even gang members shocked and willing to talk to each other. Previously, it hasn’t been easy to get the leaders of the different territories to get together, but something has changed.
Bobby just came at us. We hadn’t seen him in a few days and figured he’d just been layin’ low, pissed someone off. Saw him next and he got the drop on us, just started shooting. It was bloody, I don’t know what could make anyone do that, out of nowhere, we grew up together and he just shot me in the chest four times. I’ll never forget it though, I see him again he’ll be the one bloody.Eye Witness to Shooting in Ford Heights
Even with the chronically low levels of educational success, the local community leaders have been able to broker meetings between gang leaders in the area. So far, no one is accepting responsibility, in fact local leaders have taken them at face value.
When one of them is fronting, you can tell. You can just tell, more often than not they’ll tell you themselves that they did it without saying it. A lot of these people lead out of fear, fear of reprisal. No one wants a war, but most of these boys agree that one is coming, the only problem is they don’t know from where.Local Community Leader
So far the police have been silent, but that is nothing new for these neighborhoods. Word has it, that this isn’t isolated to the Heights either. Word has come in from other neighborhoods that similar things are starting to happen elsewhere. Investigations reveal numerous 911 calls from surrounding suburbs and even getting into the edges of Chicago proper. Calls are often answered late and when the police get there, there isn’t much to do other than call the coroner and file a report.
Kids are dying. Kids. I don’t care what they think, these aren’t perfect kids but who is? And what do the cops do? Nothing. They don’t care, to them it’ll be all the same if we all drop dead tomorrow. Maybe then someone will build a nice mall and golf course, then the cops would care. No, we’re on our own.Local Pawn Shop Owner
Community outrage has yet to reach officials in Chicago, or if it has they have been entirely silent. Repeated calls to the mayor’s office or the police chief have been met with no comment. The silence is deafening. If this continues, they won’t be able to stay silent forever.