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Deadly Lessons: Understanding Lethal School Violence
FIGURE 6-4 Arrests in or near Tilden High School, 1985–1996.
SOURCE: Chicago Police Department, Youth Arrest Records, 2001.
This is the world in which Joseph White and the three victims of his shooting moved. The gangs and guns left few untouched, and the impact was often swift and severe. The year before the shooting, Joseph was receiving good marks in school and had won a trophy as the most valuable player on his basketball team, but by spring 1992 he was already at least a passing part of the gang scene, and Karen White felt increasingly powerless to keep him away from it. He was taken into custody and charged with 22 other youth by the Chicago police on an evening in May at a South Side park where approximately 50 youth associated with the Mickey Cobras street gang had gathered. The officer reported that “they were throwing bricks and stones and bottles at other people that weren’t dressed like they were, and they were trying to keep them out of the park.” This case was not taken to court, but the month before the November shooting Joseph was spotted with another youth removing cartons containing stereos from a railroad boxcar. The stereos were later recovered from Joseph’s home, and he pleaded guilty in juvenile court. The two surviving victims of the shooting also came into conflict with the law. One was convicted and received a prison sentence for armed robbery, and the other came into contact with the police for drug activities.