Ceasefire, without a doubt, is a step in the right direction towards peace on the streets. As the long Kotlowitz article states, Ceasefire “is part of an unusual effort to apply the principles of public health to the brutality of the streets.” It takes more than a moment to contemplate fully what “unusual effort” and “public health” have to do with street crime, so an explanation is necessary. Ceasefire is a proactive, civilian approach towards stopping shootings (and only shootings, drug trade and recruitment of gangs are not focused upon). The members of Ceasefire, former gang leaders unaffiliated with law enforcement agencies, are attempting to stop shootings before they even happen and before victims line the streets. Ceasefire’s principle of public health also begs the question of whether this conflict can be resolved. If a disease can be cured, why can’t street violence? Ceasefire’s ultimate goal is to stop the vicious circle of violence – of one man killing another, which invokes vengeance of a third man to kill, which will only call for more blood as the body count rises.
In the second article, Kotlowtitz descibes various accounts of family members suffering Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder because of gang activity affecting loved ones. In one example, Mr. Orange, who’s grandson was killed outside his own home, recounts the vicious act as if it occured yesterday. Mr. Orange suffers from PTSD, a very real psychological disorder with as real problems as military veterans who have come back from war. It seems that for every victim of a gang shooting, there are family members who are affected just as much – for every three shot to death, ten grieve to death.
That is why Ceasefire is so important. Stopping one shooting does not save one life, it saves many. It not only saves the victim, but also the victim’s family.