It's the story tv news directors love to lead their show with, the story often on the front page of the local paper.
It's also the story we're comfortable ignoring. Yet the story, and the result, is probably already in many neighborhoods near us.
Murders in San Jose of young men, often attributed to gang violence, have increased dramatically in August.
According to the San Jose Police Department, 33 people have been murdered this year; at least 13 of them appear to be gang-related.
This week, that detailed how the San Jose violence is moving very close to the Campbell city limits. Said the police chief of Campbell, "Criminals obviously do not respect or care about jurisdictional boundaries or city borders."
In Santa Cruz, August 8 as he was apparently walking home from football practice.
In Watsonville, on August 18 when he was jumped by a group of five men; four chased him down as he fled and stabbed him multiple times. The group shouted gang slurs at the man as he ran.
The uptick in gang violence prompted a of our Los Gatos Patch.
Writer Enrique Flores describes himself as the founder of the nonprofit mentoring program Eastside Heroes, the director of the Corazon Project in East San Jose, and a policy aide for Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese.
Flores says we're not seeing a spike in gang violence. He says we're seeing "the start of the second war." "Once a war begins," says Flores, "it is almost impossible to stop."
The causes of gangs and gang violence are often debated. Flores mentions three specific ideas:
- Our younger generation has been desensitized to violence by the time they're in the second grade.
- Guns are now utilized more often as weapons of choice, thanks in part to the sale of toy guns that teach kids it's okay to play with guns.
- Our society's failure to create sufficient job opportunities and livable wages have created the conditions for self-destructive despair.
"Sadly, it is too late for prevention talk," says Flores. "Now is the time for relentless intervention efforts."
"Now, more than ever," says Flores, "is the time to restore hope. Now is the time to fight for more funding. Now is the time to declare war on poverty and despair. Now is the time to embrace all in kinship, and realize that those who we believe deserve love the least, are actually the ones that need it the most."
What do you think? Have you been touched by gang violence? Are there other solutions beyond what Flores suggests, perhaps more tangible solutions?
We've given you some ideas to vote for in our poll. But it's a tough issue, so let us know if you've got some other ideas in your comments.