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Thursday, May 8, 2003 at 1:00am

As Americans, we would not knowingly let foreign terrorists take over the street corners in our neighborhoods and ignore that their business is enforcing their destructive will. We would demand that law enforcement uproot them from our doorsteps.

But we still are not clear about the danger gang terrorists pose.

The tragic murder of 12-year-old Rene Guillen in Chicago's Back of the Yards neighborhood last Saturday shows how the continued ambivalence toward gang members has contributed to Chicago's skyrocketing violence.

Guillen was murdered while participating in the Clean and Green program, a city-sponsored program that encourages residents to spruce up their neighborhoods by providing them with the rakes, tools, shovels, garbage bags and paint needed to get the job done.

After finishing his task, Guillen went with several other boys to the corner with garbage bags to be picked up by the city's Streets and Sanitation workers. Although Guillen was not a gang member, organizers of the event acknowledged that some of the other participants were involved with gangs.

"A lot of the young men who were working the Clean and Green were members of the gang," said Carole Troutman, coordinator for Chicago's Englewood area.

"The gang members were out there without any weapons or anything," Troutman explained. "Now they are upset that one of the young guys

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