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tv   Fault Lines  Al Jazeera  November 17, 2013 10:00pm-10:31pm EST

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welcome to al jazeera america, i'm jonathan betz with the headlines. >> at least five people are dead across illinois after tornados ripped through the area. entire neighbourhoods were reduced to rubble. dozens of homes have been destroyed. the storm system spun more than 60 twisters across the midwest. >> the philippines president has promised to stay in tacloban. he's faced criticism. help is reaching people. remote areas need supplies. nearly 4,000 have been killed. >> 50 people aboard a plane crashing in russia were killed. a boeing 737 went down in kazan,
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500 miles east of moscow. reports are that the plane was making a second landing when it went down. >> a u.s. drawn malfunction the crashing into a navy ship. two sailors were hurt. it happened yesterday but the ship is arriving in san diego for refairs. >> sony has sold playstation 4 consoles in the first 24 hours. it is facing competition from xbox 1 that hits the markets this week. they are the headlines. "fault lines" is up next. >> we're following a funeral cortege procession through the outskirts of baltimore...
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kyndal staten was shot dead at his home in northeast baltimore. he was 27. today his family and friends are burying him. while the us homicide rate overall is stable, those involving black youths have risen. fault lines is in the city of baltimore to try to find out why, in the inner city neighborhoods of obama's america, life for so many young african american men continues to be a fight for survival.
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(crowd applause) >> and we know that it's these crimes that gave us a bad reputation as a dangerous place and, for too long, instilled the deep-seated fear that drove families away. >> baltimore's mayor stephanie rawlings-blake is delivering her annual state of the city address. >> it's not time to celebrate. >> her words are combative. the population of baltimore -the largest city in the state of maryland - has been shrinking for decades. mayor rawlings-blake wants to grow it again by 10,000 families within the next 10 years. >> let there be no doubt: the state of our city is now better, safer, and stronger.
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(crowd applause) >> for all the talk of declining crime rates, baltimore is still one of the deadliest cities in the united states. >> are they still talking about it? >> it's 1:45 pm and a man has been shot. >> we've just heard about another shooting incident in the city baltimore so we're on our way to the crime scene now. we've been listening to the police scanner to find out exactly where it took place and there's also messages sent out on twitter by the baltimore police department. police photographers, forensic officers and detectives work to investigate the scene. the bullet casings are marked. the victim here was shot in the back. those are his clothes that the paramedics cut off him before he was taken away to
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hospital. they've been taken away as evidence. the pace of violence in baltimore can feel relentless. almost every day offers up another shooting. today there's more. >> a couple of minutes before then, the police did come out but they left. and then after they left, they come running down murray street, start shooting. and two bullets hit the victim and he fell in front of the chinese store. after the fight happened, an officer should have stayed out here, sitting in the area but they didn't. and like i said, this incident could have been avoided. but... >> this neighborhood is very close to downtown baltimore and there was a shooting incident here where six shots were fired and the police have been called out. this is the third shooting that we've heard about in 24 hours and been to the crime scenes here in the city of baltimore.
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today illegal guns, not drugs, are the stated number one target for law enforcement. the baltimore police department has invited us to walk the streets with them. >> this area, notorious for drugs. notorious for drugs. but as many people you see sitting out here, there's always one person with a gun. >> but you want to stop the drug dealing as well, right? >> i do but i'd rather stop the killing. not that the drug dealing isn't bad. but the violence. >> and most of the arrests that make are for drug offenses, right? >> well at this point now, but again that's our, that's not the goal. >> what's going on fellas? how ya doin'? do me a favor, take your hands out of your pockets. >> the mayor says it's the strategy of targeting illegal guns that's seen the murder rate drop to the lowest figures in over three decades. >> anybody have id on him? we're trying to figure out how they're getting into the hands of kids, how they're getting into the hands of bad guys.
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>> if the numbers of murders are down in baltimore and i don't know, but if they are then i would not ascribe that to a change in program. >> ed burns is the former baltimore detective and school teacher who went on to write the hit television series 'the wire.' he says that crime and murder figures always ebb and flow. >> i don't know how much progress is being made because we're not dealing with the root causes. so if you lock up a person with a gun, there's a kid coming behind him and he's going to pick up that gun. it's an endless cycle. the population in baltimore is way down, alright. so if the population is down, your numbers are down. >> if someone wants to attribute the reduction in crime for anything other than the strategies that we're taking and the investments that we're making, i think it's hard to convince them otherwise. we've gotten the reductions in violence at the same time reducing the number of arrests, which tells me that our targeted
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approach of targeting our most violent offenders is what will make the difference. >> but while the focus is on guns, mayor rawlings-blake says drug crime will continue to be targeted too. >> we're never going to be at a place as long as there are people selling illegal drugs on the street, whether they're illicit drugs or prescription drugs. we will enforce those laws. >> how could you say you want to get rid of crime? and then once the person serve their time and come back out, you tell them they can't live in public housing, they can't get health insurance, they can't get certain jobs. so how do they live? >> donnie andrews should know. a convicted murderer, donnie used to rob drug dealers for a living. he and his nephew dante - who's a former dealer - said some of the neighborhoods baltimore's kids are growing up in, feel like conflict zones. >> this is our war land. we
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duck, dodge, run. hide behind trees, all this s---. shoot outs. >> that's what it feels like? that it's just constant war? >> yeah. >> dante got into dealing drugs after an injury ended his hopes of becoming a basketball player. >> you know so i started dodging the street at 18, you know what i mean, running with the wrong crew, locked up, shot. >> you got shot. >> yeah, i got shot in my back, in my leg over this argument about a basketball game. he was on one knee, and he was just pointing, bow bow bow! and the whole time i didn't know i was hit. >> so there's always been a recession in this community. >> right. there's always been a recession in this community. i mean for any black community there's always a recession. but we ain't going to allow ourselves go into a recession, that why we go, we gonna go to the first thing, we gonna sell drugs. it's the easiest, quickest thing to put a dollar in your pocket. what you going to run after?
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the slowest animal or the fastest animal? you gonna run at the slowest animal, you know you can get him. so you gonna go feed on that. >> dante and his friends say the environment they've grown up in makes it difficult to imagine another way of life. >> certain things tear up a neighborhood, so a lot of the fathers is gone now. so there's nobody here to guide the kids. so they turn to all the negative things. 'cuz it's nobody here to guide them. >> the blame for that, dante's friends say, shouldn't only be attributed to those sucked into the drug business - one of the few multi-million-dollar industries this city still has left. >> most of the government, they let that s--- in. and that's just plain and simple. they let it in, and then once it reaches down to here, alright, we'll lock the young black youth up. because that's the only place it's really going. >> every weeknight on al jazeera america change the way you look at news at 9 pm with an encore at midnight, go deeper on the
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nations top stories with america tonight >> a fresh take on the stories that connect to you... >> investigative journalism that's engaging, powerful, thought provoking... >> there's nothing but hopelessness... >> it's either kill or be killed... >> america tonight, right after live news at 8 and 11 eastern. >> welcome to al jazeera america i'm john seigenthaler, and here's a look at the headlines... >> al jazeera america, there's more to it.
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>> monday night live coverage from the philippines continues, as diseases run rampant medicine is in short supply. joie chen reports live typhoon haiyan: a special edition of america tonight monday 9 eastern / 6 pacific on al jazeera america >> baltimore wasn't always a city in decline. it was once a shipping powerhouse, one of the largest seaports of the mid-atlantic states, and a major center of industrial manufacturing. >> in the late '60s, baltimore had industries like bethlehem
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steel, a huge ship-building industry, a very active port. >> neill franklin is a retired police major who spent 34 years in law enforcement. he's seen the decay first hand. >> late '60s, early '70s mainly, jobs started leaving baltimore. industries started leaving, going overseas, wherever it ended up. it just wasn't here in baltimore anymore. but it was also around that time that richard nixon decided that he was going to start a war against public enemy number one: drugs. >> but it was president ronald reagan who turned that rhetorical war into a literal one. >> you have to show that you have a drug criminal problem. so how do you do that? through arrests. >> at a time when drug crime was actually on the decline, not on the rise. >> we went crazy arresting people for crack cocaine because of this so-called epidemic that we were having.
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>> incarceration rates began to just soar off the charts. >> and we just put tons of black people in prison from our inner-cities. ungodly numbers. >>more arrests meant more federal money. it's the system that still exists today - in the form of federal job stimulus and other us department of justice grants for crime control and community policing. >> it's not a war on drugs. don't ever think it's a war on drugs. it's a war on the blacks. it started as a war on the blacks. it's now spread to hispanics and poor whites. but initially it was a war on blacks. it was designed basically to take that energy that was coming out of the civil rights movement and destroy it. >> we have over 10 million people now with records. so come on. the next 10 years we'll have 10 more million? 100 more
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million? i mean come on. we've got to stop at some point and say, "you know what? you know, people change." we have to fight for rehabilitation, for our chances for people to change. for opportunity. >>according to a 2003 report from the bureau of justice, if current incarceration rates remain unchanged, one in three black men can expect to go to prison in their lifetime. >> even in the age of obama, something akin to a caste system is alive and well in america. the mass incarceration of poor people of color is tantamount to a new caste system, one specifically designed to address the social, political and economic challenges of our time. >> michelle alexander is a law professor who says that the disproportionate numbers of black people in prison in america today is akin to a new system of social control comparable to slavery. she says that while president obama has made some positive steps like signing legislation
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that reduced sentencing disparities between crack and powder cocaine, where it really counts, obama has not broken from the past. >> but the reality is, is that obama's drug control budget looks like the bush administration's. the ratio in funding vested in enforcement as opposed to prevention or drug treatment is about the same as the bush administration's. >> in the last couple of decades the prison population across the united states has risen dramatically. we just passed three prisons seemingly right next to each other. we're about to visit one of those facilities where many of the inmates are from the city of baltimore. america incarcerates more people
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than any other country on earth. one in every one hundred us citizens is behind bars. the state of maryland is no exception - the prisons here are full. how's it going? sebastian walker for al jazeera. >> nice to meet you. >> i'm here at the roxbury correctional institution to meet dominique stevenson. she helped start a prisoner-led program called "friend of a friend." it teaches long-term prisoners how to mentor younger inmates coming in with shorter sentences. >> the fact that there is no economic development, there are no jobs, and that leads to the despair that you're talking about. and so you still have to deal with that reality, that the same things brought you in here, exist out there for them. >> and i believe that the corruption that exists, particularly where i'm from, from out of baltimore city, from a lot of political officials
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going all the way up to the corrupt president of the united states, for real, because i believe no one actually care about the poor no more. you know it's all about the rich getting richer and we aint' getting nothing. not a damn thing. >> if you black you going to jail. if they stop you, they gonna do something drastic to you. that's how it is. that's how it's always been. that's why the prison is filled with all of us and not them. >> william haskins says he's serving a 42-year sentence for multiple armed robberies. >> everybody is in on the suffering and the misery of those devastating numbers of african american men and women that are coming to prison. everybody got their hand out and they're making money. >> he was 19 when he was first locked up. he hopes to make parole this year. how many jails have you been to in the last 28 years? >> oh my god, there's ah... every one except cumberland. >> every one in the state?
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>> yeah, except cumberland. but then they... my goodness. i always got my mind set on that one thing. going home. >> going home? >> yeah, going home. >> there's so much damage built up , that it'll take generations to heal what's happened. i mean, this is a war, so you're going to have casualties. and the casualties are not bodies on the street, though there are those. it's what's happening to like the children. you know the damage that we do to these kids is profound. >> the streets fathered me. my mother couldn't raise me to be no man. the streets taught me that. and the way the streets taught me was that was the way the streets taught me. due to the fact, no high school education. no college education. probably couldn't even be able to get a job at mcdonald's. >> this is lamar - it's not his real name. he's agreed to talk to us if we disguise his identity. lamar has been a drug dealer and a gang member. he's
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currently awaiting trial, charged with attempted murder. >> i'm facing life in prison. if i lose most likely i'm going to do life or somewhere close to that. if i win, i walk. i walk and i'll be a man walking the street. before the attempted murder i got shot five times. >> lamar's drug operation is on hold while he's out of jail on pretrial supervision, one way that maryland has dealt with overcrowding of the prison system. the reason he deals is simple - he does it he says because it's the only way he knows to support his family. and guns are just a tool of the trade. >> it's something that's immune to me. like, this is the way i be living probably since i was 16 years old. so i'm immune, i'm used to it now. see what i'm saying. >> if you lived in a mining town, you would go into the coal mines. this is all you know, and this is all they know. so they're going into this. well, they know the dangers there. but what they have is no choice. and
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the way the game is rigged, they can't win. i mean the number of guys that actually survive the corner, to get into mid-level drug dealing, so they can get away from the corner, they're few and far between. >> hopefully i'll could be in a position, a better position where i could find something positive to do. but if i have nothing to do, then i will have to resort to what i know. you feel what i'm saying? like, what else am i going to do? consider this: the news of the day plus so much more. >> we begin with the government shutdown. >> answers to the questions no one else will ask. >> it seems like they can't agree to anything in washington no matter what. >> antonio mora, award winning and hard hitting. >> we've heard you talk about the history of suicide in your family. >> there's no status quo, just the bottom line. >> but, what about buying shares in a professional athlete?
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>> growing up in a poor neighborhood in baltimore means the odds are stacked against you. >> and so we have a school to prison pipeline operating in baltimore and in other cities across the nation where young people believe with some good reason that their destiny lies behind bars and they, too, will become members of the under-caste. >> females is getting pregnant and they're having children. now it's children raising children. without no high school education, how are they going to take care of that child? you see what i'm saying? >> my mother was a child when she had us, you know. my mother told me she hated me, you know, and to get out of her face before she'd kill me. that had an impact on me. >> no one's thinking about, "let's look at these infants.
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let's help these infants out. let's help these mothers out so that these kids are raised in a healthy environment. let's put the money there rather than put it into like the back end." you know, $25,000 per prisoner, per year. in the federal system it's probably something like 30 something thousand per year. that's where we're putting our money. >> a lot of the guys in baltimore were basically raised with no father. so when you don't have a male figure, role model type of guy to follow, then you start resorting to other male figures. tv, streets, homeboys who are probably four or five years older than you. >> if we don't have that family foundation, you know, you definitely don't have a chance. >> these kids are just chewed up and spit out. and they're broken, they get the criminal record, they can't get jobs, you know they go to prison, they come home. the same thing repeats itself until their bodies eventually break down.
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>> it was kind of scary coming through. 'cause when you first come in you're just with like all adults, you're just surrounded by adults that are in bad moods because they're getting locked up. like it's just a bad experience. >> located in the very heart of the city, the baltimore city detention center is one of the largest pretrial detention facilities in the united states. >> the showers are dirty, the toilets are dirty. everything is just dirty. >> it's intended for adults, but under harsh "get-tough" laws passed in maryland and some other states, juveniles charged as adults are also held here. fifteen to a room, they're held indoors for about 23 hours per day. anthony thomison was just 16 years old when he was arrested for armed robbery and charged as an adult.
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he was ultimately cleared of all charges, but while waiting five months for trial, he wasn't attending school - he was in baltimore city det ention center. >> for some people you get stronger, for some people you just go crazy. like there's people in there that you know once they got in there they wanted to do more stuff than they were doing when they were home. especially being around adults and the adults are going in there, they kind of think it's what you're supposed to do. like, they kind of get adapted to it. >> the us department of justice agrees that spending nearly half a year in a crumbling adult facility can violate anthony's constitutional rights. but the state's proposed solution is a brand new, 100 million dollar jail for minors charged as adults, which the city plans to build on this site. >> i mean the stress is just unbearable. you got to go through every day just thinking
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about how much time that you could get. people in there worrying about their life being thrown away, like their entire lives. if you grow up in a jail that's where you 're going to keep going back, so i don't think that it's right for a kid to be in that situation. >> as we're preparing to leave baltimore, we hear of yet another shooting. no body this time, but the blood on the pavement is proof of the continuing cycle of violence. baltimore is a city that's still on the frontline of the war on drugs. it always has been - and in the time that we've spent here, we've spoken to people on all sides of that battle. we've heard the talk about the new strategies in place and the progress that's supposedly being made to make baltimore a healthier and safer city to live in. but we've also seen the impact of drug control policy on the streets, we've been to the crime scenes and spoken to people trapped in a cycle of
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violence, incarceration, and making a living selling drugs. when you walk through neighborhoods like this, it's hard not to feel that the legacy of the war these communities have been living through is so bad that rhetoric or anything short of radical change won't solve the problem. it feels like it simply could take decades for these communities to recover. >> there's a war going on. it's not balanced. it's a one-sided war. it's an attack. this is a crime that we've committed, and then we have to address this. we have to begin to say, "we're going to change this. we have to change it." >> but what i fear is that we'll reach a new plateau. a level of imprisonment that is still unconscionable and millions will continue to cycle in and out of our prison system. >> i just want to see my kids graduate. after i see that, they can take me, they can do what they want. and i'll fight, i'm gonna run, i'm gonna dodge, i'm gonna duck until i see that.
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>> and that's the name of the game: survival. that's the street code: survival by any means necessary. >> i was perplexed when president obama nuanced sometime in late 2011 that assad has to go. >> on syria, zbigniew brzezinski said the u.s. policy towards dmask was

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