Discussion of Chicago’s violence always leads to talks of stricter gun laws. But Chicagoan Clifton “Booney” McFlower says more police and prisons are not needed to stem the violence.
McFlower, a former Vice Lord and community organizer at BUILD Inc., is also not a fan of the term “Chiraq.” McFlower spoke with Rolling Out regarding his thoughts on the solutions to ending crime and bloodshed in his hometown.
“Chiraq is just another way for them to promote the violence so they can get more money allocated to law enforcement instead of social needs,” he said. “When you talk about the violence piece, what that do is, we need more police, we need more jails. But that don’t solve the problem. You have a Cook County jail that holds over 11,000 people that’s locked up. You got 46 prisons in Illinois and all are full. So we know locking up ain’t the key. You got police running up and down the street all day, so we know it ain’t the police. But when you say violence, that’s when they come with the terminologies… and they keep throwing the rates in your face. So they can keep feeding money into the wrong areas. We don’t need money into the law enforcement. We got the baddest law enforcement in the world. They shoot and kill just as much as the guys on the streets. So we know that ain’t the solution.
“The key to it is economics… control,” he continued. “We got to get back our communities. We gotta bring the neighbor back into the hood. We gotta stop being the hood and be the neighborhood where we atart caring about each other cause we can’t keep looking for everybody else to come in and do for us what we can do for ourselves.”
Harold “Noonie G” Ward is also against discussion of more police on the streets. Ward, a former high ranking member of the Gangster Disciples, was critical of Senator Mark Kirk’s proposal to spend $30 million to arrest and jail 18,000 GDs. He said that money could be used to address social needs.
“Let’s keep this real, violence doesn’t just stem from just gangs,” Ward wrote in an editorial. “Violence is a product of frustration, lack of educational resources, unemployment, financial instability, and most of all fear.
“Aren’t there more productive ways to spend $30 million?” he continued. “With a reported 2.7 million Chicago children parentless due to incarceration, how could a blind street sweep targeting one gang benefit the community? Mass incarceration contributes to the destruction of Black and Brown communities instead of building them up.
“Where is the call for legislation to implement jobs for youth, build youth centers, facilitate after school programs and create and stimulate income for the parents of these youth? Where is the real concern to analyze the real conditions that have created an environment where over 40 people can be shot in one weekend and the senseless killing of babies and kids is a daily occurrence?”
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