U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Il.) wants the next U.S. Attorney in Chicago to step up federal efforts against street gang violence through mass arrests of the Gangster Disciples, the prevailing criminal outfit operating on Chicago streets, says the Christian Science Monitor. Kirk wants to see all 18,000 members of the gang prosecuted in federal court and said he believes “it's completely within the capability of the United States government to crush a major urban gang.”
He said the effort will require $30 million in federal funding but is necessary to stop the killing of innocent bystanders like Hadiya Pendleton, the 15-year-old Chicago girl who was killed by Gangster Disciples in January a week after after performing in a marching band at President Obama’s inauguration. Others question the wisdom of Kirk’s proposal, with one member of Congress calling it an “upper-middle-class, elitist white boy solution to a problem he knows nothing about.” “They're almost like a brand. If you call yourself a Disciple, you've got your claim to some past. There's a history there that's really important and empowering,” says Andrew Papachristos, a Yale sociology professor who studies gangs and social networks.