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Obama Team, In Chicago After Youth Killing, Vows To Tackle Issue

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Obama Team, In Chicago After Youth Killing, Vows To Tackle Issue

Obama Team, In Chicago After Youth Killing, Vows To Tackle Issue

Attorney General Eric Holder and Education Secretary Arne Duncan joined Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley to announce the Obama Administration's concern for youth violence. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images hide caption

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Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Attorney General Eric Holder and Education Secretary Arne Duncan joined Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley to announce the Obama Administration's concern for youth violence.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Attorney General Eric Holder and Education Secretary Arne Duncan were in Chicago Wednesday to show their solidarity with a city outraged by the latest high-profile youth killing, the recent beating death of a high school honor student by a group of youths outside a community center.

Following a meeting with Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, community leaders, school officials, parents and students, Holder and Duncan spoke to the assembled media. It was immediately clear the Obama Administration, like its predecessors, didn't have any ready answers to the problem of youth violence. Holder said:

Youth violence isn't a Chicago problem, any more than it is a black problem or a white problem. It's something that affects communities big and small, and people of all races and colors...

... Our responses to this issue in the past have been fragmented. The federal government does one thing, states do another, and localities do a third. We need a comprehensive, coordinated approach to address youth violence, one that encompasses the latest research and the freshest approaches.

Obama Team, In Chicago After Youth Killing, Vows To Tackle Issue

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Duncan spoke of the well-known social pathology that leads to much of the child on child violence, particularly in urban settings:

Many of our young people have lost faith in the future. They've been denied the love, support and guidance they need and grown up believing their life is not worth anything so no one else's life is worth anything either.

It's difficult to show love when you've never been loved. It's difficult to build a positive future when you don't think you'll live past the age of 18. These are problems we cannot solve just with money or by pointing fingers at each other or by looking the other way. We must engage directly with our children starting at the youngest age...

... Every one of us must take responsibility for this. For those who seek to lay blame on anyone else, I challenge you to ask first, what have you done. This is the time to look in the collective mirror...

Duncan did say he was working on getting a $500,000 grant to the Chicago Public Schools that would eventually go to Fenger High School, which was attended by Derrion Albert, the dead 16-year old, and the schools that feed into Fenger. The purpose would be to "restore learning."

Again, not really a solid plan of action to reduce the overarching problem. But at least the issue was getting some high-profile attention.