Violence rules

Facing Syracuse's inner city problems together, Part I:

Arthur 'Fido' Huddleston dropped out of high school. This was soon after he was removed from a regular classroom setting and placed in a remedial program at a school on the south side of Syracuse. He said he was turned off by the sight of sick, physically disabled and mentally retarded classmates who were participating in the same program, so he dropped out and said he's "been 20 in the streets since." He just couldn't come to terms with the notion that the school system thought there was something that wrong with him. He said, disgust and anger had more to do with quitting school than anything else.

The streets became a substitute for the classroom back then. Hanging out with other kids who had dropped out gave him the sense of normalcy and kinship with 'his boys' that was lacking in the 'special ed' school.

"I couldn't handle it. I mean being mixed with people who had all kinds of disabilities had had me all confused because I knew there was nothing wrong with me. But they had decided to put me there and there was nothing I could do about it. I decided to get out of there," Huddleston said.

And then it happened. One of his friends shot him three times in the head at close range. How he survived and lived to tell the story is still a mystery to him to this day.

"Somebody up there was looking out for me," he said.

There is still a look of disbelief in the depths of his eyes, when he talks about it.

A mother's story

Rachel Titus is an educated, articulate Syracuse mother currently employed in the health services field. She has made great progress in her career thus far. With this professional career and a stable personal life, she looked forward to a bright future, taking care of her children. And then it happened, all hell broke loose. Her son was shot and killed and life has never been the same since.

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