What about gang vi­o­lence?

The Washington Times Weekly - - Letters To The Editor -

Dur­ing my life­time, both Demo­cratic and Repub­li­can pres­i­dents, House and Se­nate mem­bers and the main­stream me­dia have shown just how out of touch they are with reg­u­lar Amer­i­cans.

As a U.S. Navy United Na­tions Le­banon-peace-keep­ing-cam­paign vet­eran, I un­der­stand why politi­cians want you to think that the threat of in­ter­na­tional and lone-wolf do­mes­tic ter­ror­ism de­serves our na­tion’s great­est fo­cus. It pro­vides cover for the fail­ure of our ‘lead­ers’ to keep most Amer­i­cans safe.

If one com­pares the ex­tremely rare in­ci­dents of ter­ror­ism in the United States to the daily harm and vi­o­lence caused by this na­tion’s 100,000-plus gangs, the dis­par­ity is like night and day. More peo­ple have been mur­dered and wounded in Chicago this year alone than have been killed by all in­ter­na­tional and lonewolf ter­ror in­ci­dents since Sept. 11, 2001. And that is just one city.

We’re a few months away from vot­ing for a new pres­i­dent for a four-year term. While the “war on ter­ror” re­mains hugely prof­itable for those prose­cut­ing it, most cit­i­zens trapped in our poor­est neigh­bor­hoods care far less about ter­ror­ist in­ci­dents than they do about what’s hap­pen­ing right in their front yards. This is not be­cause we aren’t pa­tri­otic or lack em­pa­thy, but be­cause ter­ror­ist in­ci­dents aren’t the rea­son for our com­mu­nity’s ris­ing body count each week. For the rest of us, the ter­ror­iz­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions killing more and more of us ev­ery day are our own Amer­i­can gangs, not any in­ter­na­tional or lone-wolf ter­ror­ist.

For us poor­est cit­i­zens, gangs op­er­ate like ter­ror­ists, rul­ing neigh­bor­hood af­ter neigh­bor­hood prac­ti­cally un­op­posed. This leaves us won­der­ing why no one run­ning this coun­try has acted to en­sure our safety.

The time has passed for our elected lead­ers to make the wear­ing of U.S. gang sym­bols or gang cloth­ing, the mark­ing off of gang ter­ri­tory, and gen­er­ally be­ing in or act­ing on be­half of a ter­ror­iz­ing gang as un­ac­cept­able as be­ing part of a ter­ror­ist group. If they do not do this, the dis­con­nect be­tween gov­ern­ment and the peo­ple will con­tinue. AJ CASTILLA Bos­ton

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