CHICAGO (CBS) — Gangbangers in Chicago: What makes them tick, what are they thinking?
CBS 2’s Walter Jacobson sat down with gang members in Chicago’s troubled Englewood neighborhood to try to find some answers.
Some of the responses he received were not encouraging.
“There’s no solution to the violence,” one gang member tells him. “Killing, killing is the solution.”
Jacobson asked the young man if he would kill personally, if he had to.
“I’ve never killed before, but if I had a gun in my possession,” he said.
Jacobson says he has been walking the blocks for many years, but the state of despair never changes – poverty, sticks and stains.
The gang members do not like the state of affairs any more than anyone else.
“We’ve got to eat. We want to. We want money. We want to get fresh, we want fresh J’s almost every day. We want all that,” another young man said.
But where do they get the money they need? The young man answered bluntly.
“Rob, steal and kill. That’s the only way. We didn’t grow up in Beverly Hills. We don’t get it handed to us,” he said.
“We ain’t living in Hyde Park,” added a third young man. The home of the University of Chicago is only a couple of miles away from Englewood – geographically, at least.
But given the state of their impoverished Englewood neighborhood, where is the money they can get?
“Selling drugs,” a young man replied. “In our neighborhood, I ain’t going to lie to you. That’s where the money comes from.”
Some of the young men were brought into gangs as children. Isn’t that pretty young to play gang warfare?
A young man answered: “I chose the gang. I didn’t have to choose anything. I was only 10. My OG (old gangster) gave me everything. But I just went on my own and I chose to get in the gang. We was whipping everybody in the neighborhood. Respect. I was getting money.”
The gang members also said they are at war with the Chicago Police Department.
“The police hate us,” a young man said. “Every time they ride past us, they shoot us down and do all that. Do what you want to do, I don’t care about you all, keep riding. Who are you all? We’re not scare of you all. I’ll fight you too. Take that badge off.”
But he says the police cannot catch them or exact any consequences.
“I laugh at the police,” he said. “They’re a joke to me.”
And where would the young men like to be in 10 years?
One of them replied, “in a mansion, with a lot of cars, and a lot of women.”
Another said, “I just hope I’m still living.”