Wednesday, February 01, 2006

City schools safe despite yesterday's shooting

A shockingly serious editorial by the entire Daley Show staff.

Some facts (from the Chicago Tribune) and opinions to consider before rushing to judgment about the shooting outside of Schurz High School yesterday (I rush to judgment so you don't have to):

Fact: The three victims are not gang members, said Police Supt. Philip Cline. But he said they were standing with gang members outside the store when the suspect walked up and opened fire ... Police said that one of the victims was spray-painting gang graffiti on a garage near the mini-mart and that is believed to be the reason for the shooting,

Opinion: Either these guys had gang affiliations or they didn't. Spray-painting gang graffiti leads me to believe that they did. Or at least they wanted to.

Fact: A 25-caliber handgun was recovered atop a roof down the street ... Cline said the real problem is that the offender resorted to using a deadly weapon to resolve the conflict. ... "That is the issue here, there are too many guns," he said.

Opinion: Um, there was one handgun involved, which sounds like the correct guns-per-criminal ratio. So it wasn't a matter of "too many guns," but the fact that we allow criminals to attend our schools. Trying to ban weapons will get you nowhere. But banning the bums from school might work. Let's take a closer look ...

Fact: The two freshmen and a sophomore who were shot are 16 and 17 years old, police said. ... Witnesses were able to identify the gunman, ... a 20-year-old student at the school.

Opinion: Freshmen are typically 14 years old. Some sophomores are 14. These hoodlums are 16, 17, 20, and probably not even close to being on track for graduation. One problem with the educational system is that public schools can't kick out the troublemakers. Many kids do want to learn. Plenty, though, don't. They go to school to hang out, to deal drugs, to waste everyone's time. If they're not learning, not progressing, not attempting to learn and progress, they should be expelled. Then they should be arrested if they come anywhere near a school.

The greater societal problem here is that there really aren't all that many options in the workplace for 16 year olds that don't want to go to school. Not too long ago, it was possible to get a decent job with benefits even if you didn't have a high school diploma. Now you need a college degree just to get a gig at Starbucks.

Fact: "Like any school with 2,400 kids, you are going to have some incidents, but this certainly is not one of the most troubled schools when it comes to safety, by any measure," Chicago Public Schools spokesman Mike Vaughn said.

Opinion: Give me a break. Three kids get shot and you say it's not troubled? Sure it is. Face it, most city schools are troubled. Or do you need to see some standardized test scores to determine which school is "troubled" and which isn't? Now, instead of closing down schools and increasing class sizes, do something about these troubled schools and students.

Fact: "It's definitely gotten worse in the last year or two," said a woman who was 20 feet away when the shooting occurred. Her son is a senior at the Northwest Side school. "Had I known it was going to be this crazy, my son would not be going to this school."

Opinion: Oh come on ... where would your son be going? Can you afford a fancy private school somewhere? Does he have the grades for one of the highly selective magnet schools in the city? Three things that freaked-out parents should consider: 1. This happened outside of school. Tell your kids to stay inside and they should be OK. 2. This happened because of a gang dispute. Stay away from gangs and they won't be bothered (too much). 3. If this had happened in the suburbs or small-town America, the gunman would probably have been inside the building shooting indiscriminately. I've heard African-American teenagers say these things and I'm starting to believe them: "Only a crazy white person would randomly shoot up a school." "Serial killers are usually white." "If I have a problem with someone, I go after him."

By no means is this shooting a minor incident. But it could've been worse. And it's not too late for the lawmakers to do something about the lawbreakers.

5 Comments:

Blogger Marley6 said...

Supposedly the crime rate in Houston has gone up since Hurricane Katrina evacuees relocated. Other statistics show that the total rise in crime is still less than it would have been if everyone was still in New Orleans. Now "they" are going to do a study to see what happens to crime when criminals are 'displaced' or introduced to a different crowd. Perhaps we need a flood in chicago - or another fire - Mrs. O'leary...?

11:27 AM  
Blogger art attack said...

I really don't read the dead tree editions of the news and don't watch the local news so I only get national news from yahoo news or cnn.com and all I can say is that if this incident took place in a lily white suburb, I would have known about it but since it took place in a big city and I am assuming these were non-white kids, I did not know about it. That’s easy to figure out why. But look out, there is another white girl missing somewhere, better get Fox News, et al to discuss how we all should be afraid.

2:02 PM  
Anonymous jenska said...

Even though city schools aren't considered as good as suburban schools (yes, broad generalization here, read on for the point), I do think I would feel safer with my daughter in a city high school in some (not all) ways. It's the suburban schools that seem to have the pecking order really established -- the kind of social hierarchy that leads to a few kids being treated like dirt for enough years that they turn into Columbine-type shooters. Does this exist as much in city schools? If not, why is that? Is it the smaller presence of white people, or is it a larger presence of enough other races/cultures that it makes it too hard for such a hierarchy to evolve?

3:39 PM  
Anonymous The Mom said...

Some of this stuff is really thought-provoking. I think that if we start with age requirements for High School students we'd get rid of lots of problems. If your over 14 and still a freshman, go to a jail-type school. If your still in school by 20, just go to jail. It's obvious you'll be there soon enough anyway, so why wait for you to commit a crime??

11:28 AM  
Anonymous The Mom said...

OOPs, sorry for those "your" instead of "you're."

1:45 PM  

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