Pollack and Kleiman video chat on gun violence

We’ve had a tough week of gun violence. First there were the killings at the Washington Naval Yard. Then there was the shooting of thirteen people in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood. Miraculously, no one died in that Chicago incident. It remained plenty revolting. Firefighters were hosing the park down in the middle of the night so kids wouldn’t have to walk past the gory scene on the way to school the next morning.

I have more human sympathy than your average person for a young person who joins a gang or gets caught up in the underground economy, or for a nineteen-year-old who packs a gun because he fears his peers. I just can’t process someone shooting a three-year-old boy in the face with an assault weapon. The boy will survive, though he will require plastic surgery.

To state the obvious, I am sick of the depravity caused by the usual stupid code-of-the-street or turf crap.

Mark Kleiman and I chatted by video to discuss a range of issues occasioned by these incidents. Highlights are shown below.

Author: Harold Pollack

Harold Pollack is Helen Ross Professor of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. He has served on three expert committees of the National Academies of Science. His recent research appears in such journals as Addiction, Journal of the American Medical Association, and American Journal of Public Health. He writes regularly on HIV prevention, crime and drug policy, health reform, and disability policy for American Prospect, tnr.com, and other news outlets. His essay, "Lessons from an Emergency Room Nightmare" was selected for the collection The Best American Medical Writing, 2009. He recently participated, with zero critical acclaim, in the University of Chicago's annual Latke-Hamentaschen debate.

One thought on “Pollack and Kleiman video chat on gun violence”

  1. When you have no family to speak of, and society’s institutions don’t feel like they belong to you, joining a gang makes sense. So does living by the code of the street (an eye for an eye, don’t snitch, respond violently to anyone who “disrespects” you). I’m a middle class, middle-aged white guy who has limited patience for people, so joining a gang never made sense to me. I’d rather run my own life, and strangers have no power to insult or disrespect me, because I give them none. But I think I get why people do it.

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