MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - A plan aimed at trying to keep guns out of the hands of Memphis kids has gone viral. It's called Memphis Gun Down. Memphis Mayor A C Wharton explains the latest crackdown in detail on YouTube.
But the plan isn't really new. One local club has been doing pretty much the same thing for more than fifty years. The Boys and Girls Club of Memphis has been fighting this battle - sometimes all alone - for decades. They are excited about the city's new plan, saying if everybody pulls together maybe they can make a difference. There are success stories smack in the middle of some of this city's roughest neighborhoods.
The brick walls are a canvas of power for some of this city's thugs. With spray cans in hand, gangs will tag their territories to let everybody know they're around. And there is violence; so many young folks know others their age who have been shot or murdered.
"I know someone who was shot and killed," says 18-year-old Justin Harris, adding the person killed was only 16.
The streets can be mean in Memphis. The young ones - they can be the most dangerous. Put a gun in their hands and they'll kill. It's something Memphis Mayor A C Wharton wants to stop with his Memphis Gun Down plan, a plan that's now available for all to see on YouTube.
"Every weekend, instead of our police director calling me to tell me about the ball scores, I get on Sunday night a body count," Mayor A C Wharton stated in the video.
There are success stories. Young kids who had two choices: the violent road, or the hard-working road. Justin Harris is ready to work. "I plan to attend Kemmons Wilson School of Hospitality at the University of Memphis," he said, "And then I plan to go to L'ecole Culinaire and I want to own six restaurants by the age of 40."
Then there's 16-year-old Cory Manning. "I plan to major in computer science at Christian Brothers," he said.
The Boys and Girls Club tries to let the young folks know that a gun and violence doesn't make things come easier.
"We give the young people an opportunity to dream. And opportunity to do something better with their lives, to break some of these cycles," stated Charles Griffin, the club's Vice President.
The folks with Boys and Girls Club say they will do anything they can to help the mayor with his program - the issue is too serious to ignore.