CN Jan 26 2017


President Trump threatens, or he may say “offers,” to “Send in the Feds” to solve our hideous violence problem. And Chicagoans ask what that means. If he wanted to send help, he might consider sending along some money to help fund proven violence-suppression programs such as CeaseFire. But there’s probably no money for such programs. We have to step up our military spending, and that Mexican wall, we now know, is gonna cost us $15 billion.

But CeaseFire hangs on, drastically reduced in scope and now funded by some foundation money.

On today’s show, we hear from two violence Interrupters who, despite the danger, race to hospital trauma centers after someone’s been shot to begin the delicate task of lowering the temperature. During the “golden hour” right after the shooting, John  Hardy and Chico Tillmon try to convince family members and friends not to retaliate, because they see escalating violence as a public-health issue. Not unlike cholera or ebola, the victims transmit the disease with their contact and the transmission sequence must be “interrupted.”

Their data, collected over more than a decade, seems to indicate that where they have been deployed, they’ve succeeded in preventing violence escalation.

CeaseFire fell victim to the State budget fiasco, along with hundreds of other programs. Scores of  Interrupters were laid off. Now there are calls for Mayor Emanuel to find some money to reactivate the program, but despite some Aldermanic support, it seems unlikely.

CeaseFire has a long, sometimes rocky relationship with the Chicago Police, and at this time the two have no formal contractual arrangement. But Tillmon says it isn’t antagonistic. It’s just that they have different goals.

“We are not an anti-police program,” he explains. “We just have a different approach than police. We take a public health approach, where they take a criminal justice approach. We look at people as being ill or having a disease, where they are trying to solve a crime. We’re the same as practitioners. If a person gets shot and goes to the doctor, he’s not into the intricacies of  – who shot you, where you were at. He’s into – what can I do to try to heal you. And that’s our approach. We’re trying to heal individuals. We’re trying to heal communities…that’s where sometimes it can be complex, because we have two different objectives.”

We like to think that our TV show is also pretty good radio. plug in the earbuds and give us a listen on Soundcloud.  

And you can read awful transcript of the show HERE: cn-transcript-jan-26-2017


About Ken

Ken's the host of Chicago Newsroom. A former news director, reporter and radio program host, he's also a past Vice President of the Chicago Headline Club.
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