Chico Tillmon remembers the first time he saw a dead man. "I was eight years old, and my mum had sent me to the mailbox. As I approached, I saw a guy being robbed for his Boombox. And the guy was killed right in front of me. I saw a man lying next to the mailbox dead." It wasn't his last. Between when he was 17 and 22, nearly 50 of his friends were shot and killed. "At some point," he says, "it became normal." Chico's story isn't unusual in his community of Austin, one of Chicago's predominantly African-American, low-income neighbourhoods. Like his peers, after a childhood spent witnessing violence, he became a perpetrator of it himself. He went on to spend 16 years in federal prison for gang-related activity.At first I thought: it's ironic that Al Jazeera is criticizing America for it's gun violence.
Then I thought: