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"I'd love to go to the mall with you Preston, but I just got shot..."

Ok so thats not an actual quote from someone, but it could be. Picture this: it's dark outside, real dark. Guy walks down the street to borrow a cup of flour from his neighbor and meets a mysterious man on the corner.

Unsuspecting Citizen: Why hello there Sir.
Gang Member: says nothing, shoots the man, and proceeds to steal his measuring cup.

Crimes like this happen all too often here in Minneapolis. (and it's no laughing matter, so excuse my attempt at humor, it's what I do) In fact in 2007 there were 47 gang-related shootings in Minneapolis alone. For those who aren't good with numbers, that's about 47 too many. And that doesn't even begin to talk about everything else gangs are notoriously bad for.

Gangs (and gang violence) have been around forever, literally.

You can try really hard but you'd be hard pressed to find one good thing about gangs. Perhaps the fact that they bring people together and unite them under the greater good? Not quite... Gangs are associated with drugs, shootings, sexual violence, robbery, and much more. Now I'm not trying to "gang-bang" here, the point I'm trying to make is that gangs are inherently harmful to our cities. Too many youth are falling into the glorified life of becoming a "gangster." Well I got news for you bro, you're not gangsta when you shoot someone. You're a fucking idiot.

So what do we do? Over the years this topic has been beaten like a dog in Michael Vick's basement. So far what's been concluded is that we need to invest more tax dollars into anti-gang departments of the police force. Great; as if they didn't have enough to do already. There's really no correct way to go about eradicating gang members from the city. So how would I do it? One, fund anti-gang initiatives mentioned above. Two, keep supporting programs that aim to divert kids from joining gangs. Three, hope like hell it works because that's our best bet. It would be nice if you could go up to every person on the streets and ask them if they were a gang member and have them answer truthfully. However, I don't see that going over too well. You'd be lucky to walk away with only a stolen measuring cup...

Gang violence in Minneapolis (and all over the country) is a big problem, and we need to continue our efforts to contain it as much as possible.

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