01/30/2013 06:30 pm ET Updated Apr 01, 2013

Homicides in Chicago

The city of Chicago is currently struggling with a rash of homicides and shootings that continues to spread no matter how people try to bring an end to the senseless violence. From January 1-January 29, 2013, 40 people have been killed. In January 2012, there were 40 homicides.

Chicago also took a big hit in the area of homicides and shootings in 2012 recording over 500 homicides and over 2,400 shootings. As a matter of fact, Chicago led the nation in homicides in 2012. Homicides have become the norm for some communities in Chicago. Unfortunately, way too many young people are losing their lives due to this false belief system that it's OK to kill or hurt another person due to some of the pettiest reasons in the world. However, one must really try to understand that many young men and women grow up in a neighborhood where violence is an acceptable behavior. If we really want to bring an end to violence in cities like Chicago we have to work harder in the category of changing people's mindsets about violence.

It's not easy to change conditions that foster hostility and combative behavior but people can begin the process of thinking on a higher level in regards to not accepting violence as a way of life. Young people need a lot of guidance, support, and education in the area of not giving into peer pressure. Peer pressure can assist young people in making poor decisions. Their willingness to prove themselves to their friends could lead to a young person taking the life of another person. Poor impulse control and the wrong thinking can become a deadly combination. Some young people do not stand a chance if they do not have the right people in their lives to help turn their negative thinking into positive energy.

The time has come to deal with this issue of violence as a public health emergency before Chicago sees record numbers of homicides again for 2013. Thousands of young people feel like they have nothing to lose and many of them have given up on any kind of hope for their future.

People are grieving due to the loss of life of their loved ones or friends and hurt people continue to hurt other people. Revenge has become an instinct in the minds of some young people, especially our young men. There is a chance that homicides can become a thing of the past, just like cigarette smoking is not allowed in public places. Addressing violence as a serious public health issue could lead to more resources being placed in the right areas to help young people unlearn violent behavior.

We cannot continue to sit back and wait for the next homicide to occur. It's time to get out on the front end and stop homicides from occurring in the first place. We can do this by establishing meaningful relationships with young people that are at risk of killing someone or being killed.