published Sunday, October 30th, 2011

Violence and crime toll rises in Chattanooga

First responders help a shooting victim roll onto her back Friday night. Three people were shot at the corner of Fifth Avenue and East 31st Street. Chattanooga police arrested six juveniles and an 18-year-old in connection with the attack.
First responders help a shooting victim roll onto her back Friday night. Three people were shot at the corner of Fifth Avenue and East 31st Street. Chattanooga police arrested six juveniles and an 18-year-old in connection with the attack.
Photo by Jake Daniels.

RELATED STORY

Chattanooga takes different approach to combat gangs


GANG INVOLVEMENT IN CHATTANOOGA’S HOMICIDES

• 2008: Six of 20 homicides, or 30 percent

• 2009: 10 of 19 homicides, or 52 percent

• 2010: Eight of 20 homicides, or 40 percent

• 2011 to date: 15 of 23 homicides, 65 percent

Source: Chattanooga Police Department


GANGS IN THE U.S.

Nationally, there are an estimated 1,140,344 criminal street gang members in about 30,313 gangs, according to the 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment compiled by the FBI.


GANGS IN CHATTANOOGA

The Chattanooga Police Department has identified 44 gangs since it started compiling a database about five years ago. Chattanooga has the following types of gangs:

• National gangs: These have recognized names that originated either in Chicago or Los Angeles (Gangster Disciples, Bloods, Crips).

• Set: A subsection of a large gang, usually representing a street or area it controls (Athens Park Bloods).

• Local/neighborhood sets: Named for specific areas of the city (Woodlawn Crips).

• Hybrid: Gangs that allow members to be in other national or local gangs. These usually are usually school-based (Money Over Everything, or MOE)


DEFINITION

A Tennessee sentencing law defines a criminal street gang as three or more people in a formal or informal ongoing organization that commits criminal acts and has two or more members who engage in a pattern of criminal gang activity.


GANG-RELATED SHOOTINGS

2008: 23 of 58 shootings: 39 percent

2009: 34 of 69 shootings: 49 percent

2010: 28 of 54 shootings: 51 percent

Source: Chattanooga Police Department

The call went out to police as an armed man approaching people in front of a residence. The caller told dispatchers to hurry and send officers as soon as possible.

Seconds later the dispatcher reported “shots fired.” Investigator Christopher Sims blew through three intersections from Kelley Street with sirens blaring and blue lights flashing in his Chattanooga Police Department-issued Ford Crown Victoria.

As he rolled up to the 3100 block of Fifth Avenue on Friday night, the scene looked similar to those seen over and over across the city this year.

Three people with gunshot wounds lay strewn in the road.

A woman’s screams pierced the chill night air.

There have been 50 shootings in Chattanooga to date this year. Last week alone, nine people were wounded and one killed in four shootings — at least one gang related, according to authorities.

It was too soon to say whether Friday night’s shooting was gang-related, but authorities say one thing is clear: Gang activity is increasing.

More and more of the city’s violence is linked to 44 documented gangs. They have as many as 1,100 members, far outnumbering the city’s 463 uniformed officers.

So far this year, 15 of 23 homicides — 65 percent — are gang-related, according to police. That’s up from 30 percent in 2008.

In 1997, Chattanooga police estimated there were 10 criminal street gangs with about 150 members and five gang-related killings in the city, according to newspaper archives.

“The gang problem in Chattanooga is real, and it’s not going away,” said Hamilton County Assistant District Attorney Boyd Patterson, who has been assigned to tackle gang prosecutions.

The problem, police and prosecutors say, is that Tennessee lacks laws that would allow them to make inroads into gang crime.

Other states, including Florida and California, have passed laws targeting criminal street gangs’ membership.

Patterson said Tennessee is years behind other states in addressing the reality of gang prosecution.

“Right now we’re fighting fires with buckets of water,” he said. “Other states have water hoses. We should have those, too.”

ENHANCED SENTENCING

Tennessee has had enhanced sentencing laws for gang members since 1997, but prosecutors in major cities across the state say the law is cumbersome, ineffective and seldom used.

Crimes included in the law include violence that causes bodily injury as well as drug or gun dealing. Enhancement can double gang members’ sentences, Patterson said.

But to use the law, prosecutors have to complete a four-step process before a jury can even hear evidence of a defendant’s gang membership.

In states such as California, which has the Street Terrorism Enforcement Prevention Act, the jury routinely will hear proof of gang membership.

In Tennessee, some requirements for disclosing a gang member’s status include presenting more evidence at a hearing and persuading the judge that it will not be prejudicial.

“We have to put on additional witnesses. We have to go back further; it’s additional barriers to cross,” Patterson said. “A lot of times a jury never gets to hear a defendant is in a gang because some step in that four-part analysis is going to fall through.”

The gang enhancement sentencing law has never been used in Hamilton County.

In Davidson County, the law has been used once, with a second case pending, according to prosecutors. The defendant in the first case pleaded guilty.

In Shelby County, the law has been used five or six times, but even those cases never made it to trial, said Paul Hagerman, director of the organized crime special operations prosecution unit at the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office.

Hagerman used the law about six years ago against two members of the street gang known as the Memphis Mob who had been identifying themselves as police officers or FBI agents when they committed robberies.

“It was a small group with a particular purpose and who had a particular way of dressing,” said Hagerman. “Ultimately, none of the gang enhancement cases went to trial. We used the fact they were facing increased sentences to get guilty pleas. It gave us some leverage.”

Hagerman said the law should include a wider range of crimes, such as burglary and robbery.

“My unit specializes in prosecuting these [organized crime] groups, and they commit serial robberies and burglaries. It’s really the crimes that impact people on an everyday basis. We try creatively to get the best time we can,” he said.

To date, the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office has 35 pending homicide cases that are all gang-related.

“We’ve had gangs for a long time now in Memphis. The hierarchy is fluid. The scary thing about them is the younger and younger these guys are getting and it seems like the crimes are getting more reckless and violent,” he said.

GATHERING INFORMATION

Before the Friday night shooting call, Sims scoured high-crime areas looking for a violation — any violation, large or small — that would allow him to make a stop.

Sims, 35, is just one of 10 investigators on a special unit within the police department tasked with tracking and documenting gang members and responding to other crime trends.

The stops Sims and the other members of the Crime Suppression Unit make allow them to gather information on suspected or known gang members, which neighborhoods they frequent, their street names and where crimes are committed repeatedly. They look for signs of gang membership such as clothing or tattoos.

Investigators and patrol officers have been logging intelligence on gang members into a database for four to five years, Chattanooga Police Chief Bobby Dodd said.

Sometimes the information leads to arrests because police who get tips on suspects’ street names can get their true identities from the database.

“It gets updated daily,” Dodd said. “Those are the things that help us make an arrest within 24 hours of a crime being committed. It’s used for intelligence, strategic purposes and criminal investigations. It’s a very good tool.”

Investigators in other states use that same type of data to build cases to prosecute gang members.

NEW LAW NEEDED?

Since 2007, Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris has been working on what has become known as the “crooks and guns” package as part of an effort to get tough on crime.

While none of the laws is designed to target gangs, lawmakers are making progress in toughening sentences for the crimes that gang members routinely commit, he said.

“We’re working on the budget that’s to be proposed in the upcoming session. It’s been a priority of mine all these years, and it will continue to be,” Norris said.

A revised bill for the upcoming session, SB 691, would increase the sentence for anyone “acting in concert” when committing aggravated rape, attempted first-degree murder or carjacking.

“I’m optimistic we will [pass it.] We are steadily tightening the noose on gang activity,” Norris said.

Often bills don’t get passed if they will end up costing too much.

Norris worked to pass a similar bill in 2009 that included second-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, especially aggravated robbery, robbery and aggravated robbery.

The legislation would have resulted in an additional $17 million in police, prosecution and incarceration costs, according to legislative estimates.

“Currently, there’s a proposal that costs about $1.5 million that would go after folks who commit three specific offenses,” said Guy Jones, deputy director of the District Attorney’s Conference in Nashville. “He [Norris] has had to whittle down our bill in having some hope of passing it.”

This year, after paring down the list of crimes with tougher sentences, the estimated cost of SB 691 dropped to $1.3 million.

“We do have a very cumbersome process for showing someone is a member of a gang,” Jones said. “We need to update it.”

Meanwhile, Chattanooga’s death toll connected to gang members, mainly from gun violence, continues to rise.

On Oct. 23, a man clad in all black and armed with an assault rifle walked down the 1900 block of Walker Street, shooting up numerous residences. Bullets struck five people, killing 22-year-old Vandaryl Rivers and grazing a 2-year-old boy.

Rivers had tattoos reading “Goon Squad,” the name of a criminal street gang that has gained notoriety in other cities.

No arrest has been made in the case.

BLOOD IN THE STREETS

When Sims pulls up to the shooting scene, a witness flags him down and says one of the shooters lives in the East Lake Court projects.

Two women and one man have been shot. Paramedics haven’t arrived yet.

Darrell Sims, 33, was shot in the left side of his chest. Veronica Suttles, 39, was shot in the abdomen, and her sister, Vanessa Suttles, 37, was shot in the wrist. Sims and Veronica Suttles were initially listed in critical condition Friday night. On Saturday, their condition was upgraded to stable, according to police. Vanessa Suttles was treated and released. Witnesses tell police the shooting stemmed from an argument at a nearby home.

Poll
Do you worry about becoming a victim of gang violence?

Sims calls dispatch to tell other officers to head to East Lake Court, where four men clad in black coveralls were seen heading, according to accounts. One of them might be armed with a rifle.

Sims enters the patrol car and begins driving down side streets a couple of blocks from the projects.

“Do you see anyone?” he asks, his eyes scanning the courtyard areas.

He quickly maneuvers the car back toward the precinct office inside the development, where a witness said one of the shooters stays nearby.

Sims jumps out, grabs his rifle from the trunk and heads toward the development with as many as a dozen other arriving officers.

Word travels fast, and residents are milling around outside, clutching small children.

An officer makes contact with the father of one teen suspected of being involved in the shooting.

“Are you saying my son shot someone? Are they dead?” the man asks.

Sims and Investigator Jon Watkins explain that officers will have to talk to his son to clear him of any involvement. The 15-year-old was the victim of a shooting in August.

“The sooner he talks to us the better, you feel me?” Watkins says, looking intently at the man. “If we’re not looking for him, someone else is.”

The father says he last saw his son wearing his black coat and a pair of dark pants. He said he was going to one of his girlfriends’ houses.

The man turns toward the patrol car, away from Watkins, with tears beginning to well up in his eyes. He fights back the tears and turns to talk with investigators again.

Sims and other officers check one more residence before heading to a house in the 2800 block of Fifth Avenue, where about seven young men eventually come out of the house with arms raised. Among the boys taken into custody for interviews is the teen they’re looking for.

His father appears on the street and is ordered back by Sims.

The teens are loaded into the back of patrol cars and taken in for questioning.

A 16-year-old and 17-year-old face charges of attempted first-degree murder and three counts of aggravated assault in connection with the Fifth Avenue shooting. Jerry Springs, 18, faces charges of accessory after the fact and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Two 14-year-olds, a 16-year-old and a 17-year-old were charged with accessory after the fact.

And officers slowly return to patrol until the next gunshots ring out.

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BravesDave said...

And the courts continue to just turn them out to re-offend. This lifestyle is glorified every single moment of every single day in their "music." Walking around like idiots with their pants around their ankles with their nasty, dirty boxers showing. I SERIOUSLY doubt that folks too ignorant to pull their pants up care about shooting cops or each other. The really ridiculous part is that they continue to accept no blame for the actions of an entire race. It is always the fault of anyone but themselves. And the world turns ...

October 30, 2011 at 12:31 a.m.
safeguard0720 said...

In this article they say "it's Chattanoogas 50th shooting", but in the originical article about the Friday shooting they said it was the 89th.....

October 30, 2011 at 1:50 a.m.
memphisexile said...

Well Dave, nice to see racism is alive and well at your house. Has it ever occurred to you that people are more prone to commit crimes because they are poor and uneducated? Nevermind, you are probably right, it is not the lack of money or education, it is because they are black. White people never commit crimes or shoot people.

First of all, judges and prosecutors do not just "turn 'them' out" to reoffend." There are sentencing laws and TDOC rules and policies that determine how much time people spend in jail. Courts do not just arbitrarily refuse to punish people and release them into society to terrorize you. I see plenty of well educated suburban white idiots listening to "music" with their pants around their ankles and with their "nasty, dirty boxers showing." When some redneck gets caught with a meth lab should they be accepting the blame for the entire white race? No, they should not, and you would not ask them to, because apparently when it comes to non-black people you are ready to judge a person individually, but when a crime involves black people you are ready to condemn an entire race.

It must be easy blaming all the ills of society on race of people instead of addressing the actual problem and trying to do something about it. I salute you sir! Your continuance of mindless thinking and hatred helps guarantee further useless time wasting and blaming will continue into another millennium. Way to go, you are a symbol of everything that is wrong with America.

October 30, 2011 at 2 a.m.
holdout said...

They have more money and opportunity given to them than most yet the violence escalates. The "given to them" part of that is probably the problem with it. No one can have self respect or respect for anything else when they are given everything they need to live like they are little kids. No one can expect respect from society who try to make public assistance a way of life either. Unfortunately the lifestyle has been feeding on itself since the early 60's. The systems set up to help the poor are designed in such a way as to make it very hard to wean away from public assistance. It can be done. It is done every day by people who are not afraid to work hard and study hard and persevere in the face of adversity. Those qualities are not unique to any race. There is no reason to expect that everything in life will be easy or even fair. But unfairness is most certainly no reason to stop trying and sink into perpetual poverty and lawlessness. Glorifying the lifestyle of the lawlessness is part of the problem as well. That too is hardly confined to any one race. My dad taught me that if I wanted something I could not afford to have then I had three options to make it happen. I could work an extra job to pay for it. I could save until I could pay for it. I could decide it wasn't going to happen. He never told me to expect someone else to provide it because I couldn't. He never said to just take it from someone who has it because I deserved to have whatever I wanted. During my life I spent a lot of time in other countries. Some of the countries I have worked in are poor. Not poor like the people in public housing in Chattanooga. Poor like wondering where the next meal is coming from. Poor like their annual income is less than the cost of the cellphones carried by the "poor" of Chattanooga. There are people in this world willing to die and to kill for half the opportunities that are poured out freely in the "poor" neighborhoods of Chattanooga. Yet these people act like animals fighting over breeding grounds and water holes and then they blame everyone but themselves. The only sympathy I have is for the people in the projects and poor neighborhoods who are working hard and trying to fight their way out of it only to be victimized by the evil, lazy scum among them.

October 30, 2011 at 7:33 a.m.
fedup350 said...

To memphisexile: you just made bravesdaves point for him. In your post you blamed everyone but the blacks who are shooting and killing blacks. Sure white people commit crimes but it is not white meth heads doing the shooting and killimg in chattanooga. It is black youths who are growing up with no fathers and who are fed a steady diet of music that glorifies violence , robbery and the mistreatment of women. Your post only re enforced the point made by bravesdave. Then you cover yourself by throwing out the racist name. That term has been used so much as an excuse it is almost meaningless.

October 30, 2011 at 7:51 a.m.
xsiveporsche said...

Fedup 350, you are right memphisexile made the point for bravesdave. The big problem stems from being given everything. What do you do with your day when everything is given to you. You sleep half the day away or sit around being bored. Watch TV maybe with all the violence on there, even the cartoons are violent. These black youths are raised into a lazy society. Yes it started because of racism originally because noone wanted to give a black a decent job. Why bother to educate yourself when it will do no good. Racism has been disappearing for years but will never go away completely. The big problem is that it is coming back as strong as ever because of the way these youths act and treat others. Now that said it is also not just the blacks going around shooting each other. Open your eyes here. It is prodominitly black here in Chattanooga but in other cities around the country it is Mexican, Portarician, Chinese and so on. Do yo all not remeber the older gangs like the Hells Angel, etc. Did they not go around killing too? It turf wars with these gangs. Blacks, is that what they are, no they are people just like the rest of us. A big problem stems from our own. You are not African American or Mexican American or Chinese American or Irish American, aren't we all just American. It does not and should not make a difference where your ancestors come from , if you live here in this country you are American. If you want ot put the other on front of it go back to Africa, Mexico, China, Korea, Ireland, Germany or whereever.

October 30, 2011 at 8:19 a.m.
HermanMelville said...

This is in every big city in America. No guilt, no shame, no soul.

October 30, 2011 at 8:55 a.m.
squash said...

Sometimes we're too kind in trying to be politically correct...which, by the way, is definitely not working. What's wrong with getting aggressive and "ruin" the gangs' infrastructures/hierarchies before they do even more damage to what was once a fun city to raise a family. Don't you love what is happening to our city before our very eyes? Shame on us if we allow it to continue without having stiffer penalties for these hoodlums and locking them away. They definitely don't belong on the loose. Got to love that "victim mentality" which tries to explain away why these punks act the way they do.

October 30, 2011 at 8:56 a.m.
inquiringmind said...

Porsche and fedup, you guys are out to lunch. You could not pay a white person to be black for a while, even a minute. Porsche makes a point, education is part of the problem but the big issue is that we inherited a distorted society from racism. A society that enforced a legalized racial segregation that forced people into a no hope situation. It is easy to say, well, just go work, but if you don't have a job, if you have a couple kids, if you have any police record (as do a high percentage of black men due to the problems we discuss here), if your father is absent while you grow up, well..you roll the dice and see what happens.

It is easy to step out of the gutter up onto the curb, it is a lot harder to step out of the Grand Canyon onto flat ground. The problem is the cows are out of the barn, we need solutions to heal the problem. You can't just wave some uplifting generality about "if you want it hard enough, you can get it." That worked for me, but I had a real advantage with a solid family and parents with decent jobs.

I'm really glad the poor here have it so much better than they in Somalia, Holdout, boy that really makes me sleep well at night.

Our (every) whole society depends on a delicate balance of confidence in and sense of well being outweighing the sense of loss. When that balance gets twisted out of shape things can happen rapidly. Look how fast the USSR fell, look at the "Arab Spring," it could as easily happen here if the disparity in wealth continues to grow along with growing disillusionment with the responsibility of government officials (read: US Congress, Hamilton County Bd of Education, our mayor, etc. for example). It came close in the Civil War and we are still paying for the damage, and it came really close in the anti-war and black riots of the 60's & 70's. There were a lot of sweaty brows of the politicos then. That's why we don't have a draft. Peace brothers, inquiringmind

October 30, 2011 at 9:09 a.m.
hixsondave said...

Yes inquiringmind is right, the cows are out of the barn. Now lets all sit back and make excuses about how they got out out and where they will end up. Where are the leaders of the black community and why aren't they speaking out about this?

October 30, 2011 at 9:25 a.m.
fedup350 said...

Inquiring you did a lot of typing but in the end all you did was give the same old tired excuses. The race card doesn't work anymore. Where are the "black leaders"? You womt see al sharpton or jesse jackson or jo ann favors or tommie brown denouning black on black violence. That would get them no votes or money. Memphiexile and inquiringmind, your attitude of excuse making is a big part of the violence.

October 30, 2011 at 9:44 a.m.
Momus said...

link text Now 'they' have shot someone in Walker Co.

October 30, 2011 at 9:49 a.m.
Haiku said...

squash said... Sometimes we're too kind in trying to be politically correct...which, by the way, is definitely not working. What's wrong with getting aggressive and "ruin" the gangs' infrastructures/hierarchies before they do even more damage

Maybe they don't want to? If things were fixed people would lose their jobs. They'd have to find something else to blame on the mayor. Constant focus on crime and certain racial groups helps keep Chattanooga segregated. We don't want those people in our neighborhoods, attending school with our children. ;)

btw: Labeling these shootings as gang related helps to bring in federal dollars. It's all about the money. The exploitation of crime does pay for some, but not for the victim or even the perps and their communities.

October 30, 2011 at 10:29 a.m.
Echo said...

Liberal argument trick #12 - Expand the argument from the individual to the collective.

Liberal argument trick #16 - The individuals are poor and stupid.

Liberal argument trick #9 - level a charge of racism.

This is where the racism, poverty, 400 years of oppression, and other excuses and justifications. Then anyone who demands personal responsibility is 1. racist, 2. can't understand because they are not, poor, black, whatever.

It is a empty argument. There is no acceptable excuse for anyone to be shooting a guns at someone else. It is illegal for a person under 18 to have a handgun or ammunition. It is illegal for someone under 21 to buy a handgun or handgun ammunition. If it was not given to them, or purchased by them, it is stolen. That is a felony. Existing laws were broken multiple times. Do you think the accused will be prosecuted under federal law where there is no early parole?

One common trait of this type of offender is a total lack or remorse. Beyond the implications that they experience personally, they have not regret for killing bystanders, children, the impact on their own family or community.

memphisexile - perhaps you are the RACIST? Do you assume that all blacks are poor, uneducated, and incapable of knowing the difference between right and wrong. Do you advocate throwing money at them because you feel that they are too poor and uneducated to obtain a free education? Are you making generalizations about and entire race? There is a leading Republican presidential candidate that came from a poor background. His name is Herman Cain. He has an engineering degree from Purdue. Is he just one of those "anomalies" that don't fit your distorted liberal world view?

There are many persons in this world, and in this country with less money and education than those who choose NOT to pick up a gun and shoot someone with it. The courts can now proceed to prosecute the defendants, and you can proceed to make excuses for them because their court appointed lawyers are too poorly paid, overworked and uneducated to represent the defendants.

October 30, 2011 at 10:40 a.m.
ladycisco said...

It's sad that everybody can responed to all the crime going on, but no one has said nothing about the government telling you that you can't hit your child. All the kids know is if you hit me i'll call 911 and they take you to jail.All of these children are not from the projects. Some of them are from a family that the mother and father is in the house. So people need to stop thinking that it's just children with only one parent in the house.And hope that nothing happens in your family or household to where people start judging your family because it does hurt the whole family.

October 30, 2011 at 10:42 a.m.
lilmisandy said...

you people have some nerves to talk about people of color let me tell you people a thing or two your kind move to the woods where no one can see you so you all can do your meth labs and who knows what else you people are ashame to live in public housing its not that they a scare you people have uneducated people in your race to there are people the quit school to do drugs and crime as young as 10 and 12yrs old so you people morals and role models are not that high either

October 30, 2011 at 10:43 a.m.
obama4president said...

Did any of you ignorant, racist "blacks do all the shooting" "people" read the article about the Meigs County officer arrested in murder plot? "Not white meth heads doing the shooting and killing..." Really??? How about the Whitfield County fire that killed two ruled homicide? Or the recent Children’s party shooting in Bradley County by the drunks? There's plenty of killing and violence happening by whites and blacks. There is very little commonality in their motives or their race. It is all senseless, as is your thinking.

October 30, 2011 at 10:57 a.m.
fedup350 said...

To lilmisandy, "you people"? Talk about a racist post! As for the rest of your post, it made no sense at all.
To obamaforpresident, I refer you back to Echos excellent post above. All three liberal argument tricks apply to your post.

October 30, 2011 at 11:11 a.m.
xsiveporsche said...

because I have the handle xsiveporsche you seem to assume I am white. That seems to be raciest right there. Why because you think a black man can not afford a Porsche or multiple Porsche's. You really need to think about getting off your high horse. Oh wait maybe if I used some slang you all might understand me better. Funny thing is though these black youths have almost no work ethic but neither do the white youths of today. Who's fault is that. the parents gicving them everything they want and not making them responsible for their actions. I try to avoid hiring any youths in my business because they just do not care and only want to show up to get a check. Punish your children when they do wrong, make them responsible for their actions and if not you be responsible for them. If your child commits a crime and then you and him do the time. take responsibility and this crap will stop. If my son did something like this after I beat him then I would take him to the police myself and he knows it. This is America and I do not care what race you are, "LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT>"

October 30, 2011 at 11:18 a.m.
FreedomJournal said...

YOUTH HELD HOSTAGE BY HIP HOP (28 October 2011)

Were there ever days when the youth listened to their elders, parents, mothers and fathers? Who buys the clothes of the youth that see style, dress and fashion in two, too many shirts. Two or more pairs of under shorts, underwear and pants that hang down, worn on their butts.

These are also the days of backward ball caps, heads cocked to the side and Crack is King and Queen. So is the rejection and flee from all authority. Respect has no place for seldom is there any definitive proof that they would honor, heed or respect.

Youth In Crisis: Crisis of Black Male

The scenes of slave auctions, and the chain-gang of free labor resonated in my mind.

Thus resounding, rebounding and casting reflections further from my heart to my mind.

The leg-iron shuffle I saw then I see now in the interment camps and among those that bring a,

Penal clothing style to the streets hipping and hopping all the way to enslavement free or not so free.

Meanwhile the family structure fell and love was found among peers that some called a gang or group.

We could hardly afford a shank but now somehow the youth have expensive and powerful,

Weapons called guns that are automatic. Life has no value to the youth that see a life expectancy,

Of only a few of their 19-25 years. War thus is waged along the city streets as the fresh fruit fall never,

To rise again. However no one has any answers not even those that see Hip Hop as a cultural reality.

A reality so great that some who run as scholars say this phenomena robbed and pillaged from the outside,

Should be a discipline of much study. The academics sign a death warrant for all the fruit in the process.

Peace, Brother Carl

October 30, 2011 at 11:20 a.m.
Pizzaguy said...

Let's start with "the pojects". I moved here from Florida 2 years ago. When I gave up my corporate life, I did pest control for almost 2 years. And to go and do public housing was awful. Lots of trash not taken out, dirty dishes all over...tough to kill bugs when you give them a buffet and keep a pigsty. And to see three generations of families, living next to one another in the "projects' and great grandma is less than 50 years old...it's a problem no matter what skin color theyhave. The projects should not be permanent homes to the same family for 30+ years. Personal responsibility is getting worse with each generation. All the kids think that cars and cellphone are rights.

I know I read an article here a few months ago about a youg black woman, who got pregnant in HS, pulled up her boostraps and put herself through law school...she needs to speak to all the poor, regardless of color, and tell them that it can be done.

October 30, 2011 at 11:22 a.m.
fedup350 said...

Xsiveporsche I agree with you 100%.

October 30, 2011 at 11:24 a.m.
obama4president said...

fedup350: Think a little more... all 3 liberal argument tricks apply to the your posts and to Echo's as well.

Conservative trick #1 - Accuse the liberals of whatever it is that you are doing before anyone can pin it on you.

Conservative trick #2 - Accuse the media of liberal bias so that anything less than right wing propaganda is perceived as liberal.

Conservative trick #3 - Accuse the liberals of using the race card so that you can continue to be racist. Make sure and refer to a black "friend" that you know to prove your point.

October 30, 2011 at 11:38 a.m.
hmgreen said...

I have read all the comments here and I have to say that it does not matter what color their skin is, every person has the right to live peacefully without the fear of a stray bullet from one of these gang fights coming through their window, hitting their children. I suppose the CHOICE to be a gang member is easier than working hard for an education so they can be an EXAMPLE to others from the same neighborhood. I am white. I am also a mother. I believe EVERY child, no matter what color, has a chance in this world, it is up to the parents to lay the foundation and up to them to build on it. Yes, there is crime among all races. HOWEVER, the young black youth of today forget what their ancestors fought for. Died for. They are spitting in their faces while holding their hands out demanding to be paid back for the horrible things done to the ones who came before them. However, I did not own another person. I am sickened by the thought of it. I owe NO ONE anything. Yes, there is racism. But it goes BOTH ways. There are white, mexican and black gangs and there should be harsher laws to punish the members.

October 30, 2011 at 11:51 a.m.
eileen said...

Perhaps it's time to move away from the Chattanooga area. With 44 documented gangs with 1100 members and 463 uniformed police, this city is no longer a safe place to live or raise children or grandchildren. Why not wait for the fix? "In 1997 Chattanooga police estimated there were 10 criminal street gangs with 150 members..." It is 14 years later and we remain headed in the wrong direction. I have read the comments by readers who are quick to suggest that the actions of the gang members are a development of their low socio-economic status. Others generalize/stereotype all people of a particular race into a category of worthless criminals. I am not convinced that we have the intelligence nor desire to fix the overlying problems that are plaguing (what used to be) our wonderful city.

October 30, 2011 at 12:41 p.m.
fedup350 said...

To obamafor president, none of the liberal argument tricks apply to my post.as far as your " conservative" tricks go...#1 and #2 probably have some truth to them. #3 is totally false. Liberals use race as an excuse for bad behavior. I have no sympathy for a white killer. I give no excuses for a white killers behavior. I dont care if he is poor an uneducated, it doesn't matter. One thing I don't understand is why do blacks ridicule other blacks who work hard for what they have? They should be role models instead of objects of ridicule by other blacks.

October 30, 2011 at 12:42 p.m.
Haiku said...

BravesDave said... This lifestyle is glorified every single moment of every single day in their "music." Walking around like idiots with their pants around their ankles with their nasty, dirty boxers showing.

Are you sure? Are you African-American? I ask because it seems mostl often only fellow African-Americans have equated sagging pants and music to crime. To my and anyone's knowlede, Ted Bundy didn't wear sagging pants. Nor did John Wayne Gacey, Jeffery Dahlmer and a host of others hideous criminals. To equate sagging pants and music to crime shows one's ignorance at best and dangersouly ignorance at it worse.

Until African-Americans stop emitonally and mentally beating up on their youths and, whatever is left, they bring others in to finish the job, they will always have their young acting out the way they do. That's the curse of the African-American. The mistakes your ancestors made in Africa (allowing others in on the pretense of solving the continent's ills) is the same mistake their descendents continue to make today. Always looking outside your own ability and believing others hold that magir wan to solving your issues. And like Africa, if you don't get a handle on your own issues with as little outside inteference as possible, centuries later your communities and your youth, like the the continent of Africa, will still be raped, ravised and exploited by outsiders. Ever wonder why such a powerful continent as Africa, with all the natural resources to supply the world a thousand times over, remain in such turmoil? The people dying from thirst, hunger, disease and war? outside interference. And now they've gone in again to rape and ravish the land even more. That's primarily what is taking place in your African-American communities. What some of you see as problems, others see as opportunity.

October 30, 2011 at 12:44 p.m.
Haiku said...

ladycisco said... It's sad that everybody can responed to all the crime going on, but no one has said nothing about the government telling you that you can't hit your child

Another myth. The government never said that.

October 30, 2011 at 12:55 p.m.
RShultz210 said...

Whether the people who are running around shooting other people are black or white is completely irrelevent. Whether their upbringing or lack thereof is the cause of the violence is also irrelevent. The problem exists, and has to be solved one way or another. It is my contention that if you simply give the law abiding citizens of this state their clear 2nd amendment right to keep and BEAR arms without charging them exorbitant fees to excercise what should be a right instead of a privelidge that they have to pay for, and let them defend themselves, this will go a long way toward solving the problem. The current carry permit system in this state costs a an ordinary citizen too much money and too much time for it to be worth the effort. I have no argument with requiring a gun safety course, and a background check, but as soon as any law abiding citizen passes that course he or she should be issued a permit without having to pay $115 to obtain it. Give any law abiding person the right he should have without charging him a fortune for it, and you will have enough people who can defend themselves from these demented misfits without the police having to carry a load that they are not capable of carrying. There are over 1,100 names in the city gang database. Does the name Custer ring a bell for any of you? I'm sure it does for the police dept. I have no liking for police in general. They spend way too much of their time harrassing honest citizens and way too little getting rid of dangerous criminals. They are arrogant bullies, and usually ineffective when comes to fighting the real criminals. It's time the people who are the victims are given the means to defend themselves and allowed to use those means unfettered by a beaurocratic system designed to make it difficult for the ordinary citizen to not have to depend on them, and line it's pockets at the same time. Gang bangers have no "better natures" to appeal to and any attempt at rehabilitation is useless and wastes time and money. Ammo costs a lot less than keeping them in jail.

October 30, 2011 at 12:59 p.m.
whatsnottaken said...

If each officer just killed three would-be bangers each, y'all could rid yourself of the problem. Sounds like an easy fix to me. Bangers are basically worthless humans anyway, taxing the system rather than contributing.

October 30, 2011 at 3:40 p.m.
marctn31 said...

2 solutions one is shut down the free rent in the hood two is make it a law everyone has to carry a weapon if you dont have one the city needs to provide you with one. do you think they would car jack you if they knew you had a loaded .45 glock? good luck chattanooga it looks like we are living in atlanta.

October 30, 2011 at 4:35 p.m.
Confussed said...

I have read the above post. Get with it people!! I am a white married female. I am very offended by young "men" walking around with their "butt crack" showing. Actually they are not men but spoiled brats that want something given to them for nothing. That just "ain't" the way it works. I don't care if they are black, white, yellow, green or purple. How can kids like that have any respect of themselves? If you have no self respect, then you will not get anywhere. I am not wealthy, never have been, but have worked and supported myself. I have never stolen because I wanted something somebody else had. Yes I have a comfortable life but I have never broken the laws of the land either. What give these thugs the right to go on a shooting spree and shoot a 2 year old child? What gives them the right to go downtown and shoot things up? Why are these thugs not put in the bottom of the jail and left to rot?
Because we are so afraid of offending some group that political correctness rules. And that will be the down fall of this country. We have a president that practices racism and class warfare. Personally I think people are in control of their own lives---I don't owe any body what I have worked so hard to get. If I work for something why does some lazy so and so deserve to be given what I have?
Yes I am a registered Republican. I have both Hispanic and Black friends, none of which are stupid, Lazy, or thugs. Until we are willing to offend some groups that are doing wrong, things will never get any better.

October 30, 2011 at 4:47 p.m.
lilmisandy said...

Fedup350 you make know sense either

October 30, 2011 at 5:07 p.m.
macropetala8 said...

Confussed said... I have read the above post. Get with it people!! I am a white married female. I am very offended by young "men" walking around with their "butt crack" showing

But you don't have any problem with your white daughters walking around in daisy dukes and halters showing their butt cheeks and tits. Way to go white{which I seriously doubt} mom! You're probably a black hoochie mama pretending to be white. LOL!

October 30, 2011 at 5:23 p.m.
IAMIMPACT said...

In reading the article I am asking YOU to ask yourself what have YOU done to be a positive change in the community? What can YOU DO? IM SICK OF EVERYONE TALKING and DOING nothing. Ive read too many articles just as these and everyone says the same ol things..over and over.

October 30, 2011 at 5:39 p.m.
Legend said...

whatsnottaken said... If each officer just killed three would-be bangers each, y'all could rid yourself of the problem

Hopefully, you've taken into consideration the collateral damage that is bound to come along with such a suggestion. After all you could find yourself or a loved one becoming that collateral damage.

October 30, 2011 at 7:51 p.m.
Reardon said...

You guys should try working the hood for a living.

Lots of decent folks living in this war zone; but obviously a lot of not-so-decent folks, too.

Saw a drug deal go down as I was wrapping up a sale; and had some homeboys eyeball me real hard as I was walking their turf.

Hard to believe such scary stuff is only a few miles from my door step.

October 30, 2011 at 8:17 p.m.
amnestiUSAF84 said...

Reardon said... Saw a drug deal go down as I was wrapping up a sale; and had some homeboys eyeball me real hard as I was walking their turf.

If what you witnessed is accurate, you just saw what goes on behind closed doors in some of those better neighborhoods. How do you think it came to be that there are entire families who are heroin and meth addicts in middle-classed and wealthy suburbia America? Rich kids dropping dead like flies from using too pure a form of heroin?

There's a difference between being unemployed and being unemployable. Where many employers will not hire an individual with a criminal record, no matter how minor the infraction they committed. America's judicial system has set itself up in such a way that once a person acquires an arrest, no matter how minor, that individual becomes virtually tainted for life in the employment arena. Reducing individuals to having no choice but to chance doing something illegal just to put food on the table, pay a utility bill or keep a roof over their and their family's head. However, I place much of the blame at the doorsteps of many black leaders around the country. As it was they who asked, even begged, for stiffer pentalities for fellow blacks caught up in the drug war craze of the 1980s and 1990s. Now some of these same morons want black males to be arrested for saggy pants? Then they'll be crying a few years down the road about America's penal system targeting mostly young black males when they asked, even begged for it?

October 30, 2011 at 9:04 p.m.
Wilder said...

Go to this link and compare the crime, school, and property value maps, and you will quickly see that they are all the same - the myth of assimilation...

http://www.neighborhoodscout.com/tn/chattanooga/crime/

October 30, 2011 at 9:16 p.m.
Wilder said...

Another informative link identifying high crime/low crime, etc...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/nation/census/2010/

October 30, 2011 at 9:44 p.m.
rolema said...

SHAME on all of you when are we going to face up to the real problem it is our goverment fault. You can"t control your children any more because they will put you in jail THE GOVERMENT took the lord out school and let in the devil. WE NEED TO FIND A WAY TO GET OUR RIGHTS BACK AND TO CONTROL OUR YOUNG PEOPLE AGAIN BEFORE IT IS TO LATE {IF ITS NOT ALREADY}...........

October 30, 2011 at 9:50 p.m.
01centare said...

xsiveporsche said... You are not African American or Mexican American or Chinese American or Irish American, aren't we all just American. It does not and should not make a difference where your ancestors come from , if you live here in this country you are American. If you want ot put the other on front of it go back to Africa, Mexico, China, Korea, Ireland, Germany or whereever.

Apparently, you must not know the connection America continues to have and celebrate with its European benefators? Plus, Chattanooga is trying to look British more and more. Yes, people still celebrate their German-American, Russian-American, Bosnian-American, Italian-American, French-American history. You may not see it on any forms, officially, because they consider it their birthright, but it's stronger than ever.

October 30, 2011 at 9:52 p.m.
01centare said...

rolema said... SHAME on all of you when are we going to face up to the real problem it is our goverment fault. You can"t control your children any more because they will put you in jail THE GOVERMENT took the lord out school and let in the devil.

Some of America's most darkest periods were when the lord was everywhere and all over, even in America's schools. The devil has always been the backdrop of America, hiding behind the lord and religion. All those lynch-mobs and posse chasing fellow American citizens down to torture and kill considered themselves believers in the lord who were following scripture.

October 30, 2011 at 9:57 p.m.
Oz said...

The bottom line is.....We have too many sperm and egg donors. Children need parents!

October 30, 2011 at 10:09 p.m.
rolema said...

DOES EVERYONE KNOW WHERE THEIR KIDS ARE RIGHT NOW MINE ARE IN BED AND IN THE MILITARY. i JUST TALKED TO SON IN DENVER AND CHECKED THE BEDROOM ALL ACCOUNTED FOR...

October 30, 2011 at 10:17 p.m.
rolema said...

Thanks OZ verry good point and a good start....

October 30, 2011 at 10:20 p.m.
67melissamb said...

Many of the posts here, sadden me! Being involved with both black and white communities, they are more similiar than people choose to believe. A lot of times, kids get involved in drugs, alcohol and crime because something is missing at home or they are trying to just "fit in" with their peers. This is true throughout all social backgrounds. Acceptance...EVERYONE wants to be accepted. More involvement at home, knowing who your children's friends are, knowing WHERE your children are going. We, as adults, have to decide what is really important. There are always going to be exceptions, but getting back to the basics, would be a good start! My belief is that you don't have to beat your children to make them mind. It starts as soon as they have the ability to understand right from wrong. We invest time in everything else...how about investing it in our most precious assets...OUR CHILDREN! Parents need to understand that once they have children, it is their responsibility to raise them to the best of their ability..if you are not willing to do that...DON'T HAVE THEM! So many parents are too self-absorbed to sacrifice the time or effort to actually RAISE their children!

October 30, 2011 at 10:30 p.m.
Wilder said...

@67misslamb says...

" Parents need to understand that once they have children, it is their responsibility to raise them to the best of their ability..if you are not willing to do that...DON'T HAVE THEM! So many parents are too self-absorbed to sacrifice the time or effort to actually RAISE their children!"

Wilder says...

What parents?

http://datacenter.kidscount.org/data/acrossstates/Rankings.aspx?ind=107

October 30, 2011 at 11:43 p.m.
squash said...

I taught briefly at one of the fine innercity schools in Chattanooga and learned a valuable lesson: Never demand responsible behavior and accountability. Call the kids' homes for help to control their kids? Their parents probably needed it worse than the misbehaving students. What do you expect? We are indeed reaping what we sow.

October 31, 2011 at 12:54 a.m.
ydowexist said...

What's happening in our city terrible. I am a black man who grew up in the projects and I enjoyed every minute of it. However, when I grew up there it was more like a community. Everyone one looked out for each other kid(s). When they saw you doing something wrong they spanked you and then they told your mom and then she spanked you. I don't know what goes on in the white community but in the black community if seems like noone cares anymore..not even for their own child. I have listened to "hard-core" rape and watch violent movies, and cartoon, none of which made me want to go out in public an act the part. So you can that they are acting out what they see or here all you want....it's about making choices and good decision...either you want to better you situation or you don't...bottom line...excuses are just that...

October 31, 2011 at 3:27 a.m.
ydowexist said...

Wow...I guess I need to proof read before I post something. Please excuse my many typos. "Rape"...should read "Rap" and I "other" should read "other's"....sorry..english wasn't my best subject..

October 31, 2011 at 3:31 a.m.
longgone said...

There should also be much more focus on the criminal "justice" system - the system which enables so many of the punks & criminals to continue their criminal behavior. They have absolutely no fear of our criminal courts. Each arrest & dismissed/suspended/released decision by the courts is quickly repeated, over & over, for years & years. Whatever little "punishment" there might be is definitely NOT a deterrent to criminal activity by anyone, regardless of the severity of the crimes. The truth-in-sentencing laws are a farce. The laws that regulate & restrict the courts should be revised to better serve & protect the citizens and the victims of crimes.

October 31, 2011 at 7:11 a.m.
macropetala8 said...

ydowexist said... What's happening in our city terrible. I am a black man who grew up in the projects and I enjoyed every minute of it. However, when I grew up there it was more like a community

When you grew up in public housing it was rare that only one parent, the woman, was running the household alone. It was extremely rare that there was no father to be seen or around. Most of those households were fully staffed with both mom, pop and child (or children). Dad went off to work and mom was either a homemaker or did parttime work. If there was no dad physically present, it was usually because he was serving in the military, or working at a job that periodically took him out of town. Public housing was then a way for people to eventually lift themselves up and out of poverty. Then came the 1970s and Republicans gained controlled of most most areas of the government for a while, and the rules changed. They said they'll take care of the woman and children, but they be damNED if they were going to take care if any man was present. That included public housing and any public assistance they were receiving. So, people making little or next to nothing to begin with (in those days there was great disparity in wages primarily based on skin color)the men were encouraged to leave so that at least his family could continue to have a roof over their head and food on the table. And another generational curse was created which haunts us to this day.

October 31, 2011 at 10:33 a.m.
67melissamb said...

@ Wilder...I am very aware of the fact that there is an increase in single parent homes. However, that is no excuse. I do have to say the government is making it appealing to have kids,giving people housing, food stamps, and other government assistance. That is not a good reason to have a child...more children, more assistance. It is like the government is shooting itself in the foot and they have done it for so long, they don't know how to make it right. As someone mentioned in a previous post, you see people on welfare for decades. What do you have to do for said welfare? Basically nothing. Why work when you can get more for doing nothing? Then you have people with too much time on their hands. The whole welfare system needs to be revamped. There is a need for change now! Several people I work with, get frustrated because as soon as they DO get even a minimum wage job, most if not all assistance is cut off and they are fairing worse than when they did nothing! So basically, they are being punished for TRYING to do better for themselves. I say that if you are abled bodied and you receive welfare, you should have to do some kind of community service, be in job training, or SOMETHING! And I can't tell you HOW many people I know sell their food stamps! It is UNREAL! But let's spend millions beautifying the city....it is more important! But look...we have people killing people! There is no value of human life because many people do not value their own! "Give a man a fish, he can eat for a day, TEACH a man to fish, he can eat for life!" I am not saying that we shouldn't have a beautiful city! Just said that to make a point! We need to re-evaluate what is REALLY important. I love our beautiful city but if people keep shooting people, how SAFE is it really?! Can we really enjoy what we have? This country has watered down their justice system so badly, criminal look at it as a joke. In other countries...there is lower crime rates because they KNOW the consequences are severe!

October 31, 2011 at 11:11 a.m.
eastridge8 said...

I still say Chattanooga needs MORE highly-trained police officers on the streets.

The ONLY thing a gang-banger fears is a gun to his head or being outnumbered.

Overwhelm his territory with police/sheriff/FBI/TBI who won't mind using those bullets.

Gangs make their choice to live by their guns and kill and rob decent people so the CPD/HCSD/FBI/TBI should let them know just WHO is going to run this city/county and state!

October 31, 2011 at 11:48 a.m.
macropetala8 said...

squash said... I taught briefly at one of the fine innercity schools in Chattanooga and learned a valuable lesson: Never demand responsible behavior and accountability. Call the kids' homes for help to control their kids?

I have relatives who have taught at suburban schools, and even private and christian schools. You know what? Kids are kids no matter what their social levels are. Some of those students had less than stellar parents too. The only difference in the poor, middle-classed and rich was the money. And in suburbia America and private, christian schools they do more to preserve their image. Don't the media getting hold to no negative stuff, like a recent situation involving two students from one of those suburban schools, right? ;?

October 31, 2011 at 4:21 p.m.
macropetala8 said...

eastridge8 said... I still say Chattanooga needs MORE highly-trained police officers on the streets. The ONLY thing a gang-banger fears is a gun to his head or being outnumbered. Overwhelm his territory with police/sheriff/FBI/TBI who won't mind using those bullets. Gangs make their choice to live by their guns and kill and rob decent people so the CPD/HCSD/FBI/TBI should let them know just WHO is going to run this city/county and state

It wasn't gang related. Rest assured.

October 31, 2011 at 4:22 p.m.
hixsondave said...

White people can't solve this problem. Our best effort has been thirty years of payments into the Black community and what have we got....50 shootings this year. Thats pretty close to the 50% high school drop out rate and they will both grow. The couple of stop the violence events this weekend was a good start but looks like the community leaders were AWOL. Would have been a good chance to do something positive, at the very least Ms. Favors could have shown off a new hat.

October 31, 2011 at 5:23 p.m.
brokentoe said...

hixsondave said... White people can't solve this problem. Our best effort has been thirty years of payments into the Black community

Wowzeee! I thought I'd heard'em all, then someone comes up with a new faux pax!! Are you saying white people have been paying into the black community for 30 years? You're joking right? LOL!

October 31, 2011 at 6:59 p.m.
madlink said...

Behind closed doors, Chattanooga is swirling with hatred. Halfway between a city moving towards the high and mighty metros like New York, New York and San Francisco, California, and halfway between being a little old town like Ringgold or some other far flung city disconnected from reality. It seems like Chattanooga is in this misty swirl of confusion. Should we leave behind traditionally ignorant southern values like racism, judgmental behavior and materialism, or should we become corporate tycoons that weave malice behind the scenes by making it hard for the minorities to be employed and leaving poor whites to remain poor whites to make room for the elite? I am a black woman, married with child. I am not poor, and I am far from uneducated, yet my race is still stigmatized and I still get nasty stares and second class service, so moving from the ghettos is not the magic potion. Regardless of what a black person achieves, they will still only be seen as black, and no matter how many of you try to deny that racism IS at work in many ways, unfortunately it is, and I am living proof. I am traveled, I am young, and I can say that yes I am disappointed in the black community, but I am also disappointed with the white community as well. Speaking so lowly of blacks, but refusing to see their own mistakes, and how many blacks do you see on this message board besides a few (at least, those who identify themselves as black)? This is the problem: Both communities, black and white, are in danger of themselves. Not wanting to understand themselves, let alone each other, we keep Chattanooga, which has so much potential, from becoming something wonderful. I would never tell anyone to come here...there are other places where people just aren't this way. And a lot of us, we only think in black and white. What about everyone else? Do they just not exist? We all need to come together to fix this problem people. It is not black and white, it's our community that needs some fixing, inside the flesh and out.

November 26, 2012 at 9:44 p.m.
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