Left unchecked, the social ills that lead to violence are passed on like a mutated gene. Quarantining communities plagued by these ills and locking up more offenders simply has not worked. In Chicago, a young person growing up in poverty amid the daily dose of street violence is estranged from the hope that propels most of us forward. Last week, six-month-old baby Jonylah Watkins was killed when a gunman opened fire on the baby’s father, a reputed gang member. The senseless shooting is further proof that Chicago isn’t likely to see a significant downturn in homicides until it finds a way to bring the isolated masses into the fold.”

You’d think Chicagoans would be getting so jaded by the daily news of more (usually many more) shootings on the hard streets of the (mainly) south and west side neighborhoods that they would tune it all out. But there are so many young people, lately so many babies, injured or killed, innocently, by random acts of violence – that it is truly painful to live here. The American Prospect talks about “The Making of the ‘Other Chicago,” how the political decisions of the past decades have not helped, but in the end have harmed these neighborhoods, turning them into a new kind of prison, where every sentence is for life.

A few of us, a very few – mostly members of my family – sensed something special about a Congressional candidate out of one of those ‘hoods, Paul McKinley. He’s a risky bet, clearly, but we are thinking that Chicago is in need of some very new solutions. Consider this a plea for some of the skeptics who have criticized Paul McKinley’s candidacy for the old Jesse Jackson Jr. seat to take a look. Answers aren’t going to come out of the North Shore suburbs or City Hall. If you get a chance, ask Paul McKinley; he has a real story to tell, and he can use your help.

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