The Good Kids in the Crossfire

I was going to write about good kids getting killed in the crossfire when I got up this morning.  Then I read the Atlanta Journal Constitution and realized there was nothing to add:

One person was in custody Thursday in connection with the early morning shooting death of a Spelman College student hit by a stray bullet on the campus of nearby Clark Atlanta University. . . The victim, Jasmine Lynn, of Kansas City, Mo., was “walking southbound on James P. Brawley when she was struck in the chest by a stray round from a group of individuals involved in a physical altercation on Mitchell Street,” Atlanta police Lt. Keith Meadows said. . .

According to Lynn’s Myspace page, the 19-year-old sophomore was majoring in psychology and minoring in business.  She was a 2008 graduate of Lincoln College Preparatory Academy in Kansas City.

And this, from the Los Angeles Times last week:

It’s Always the Good Kids: That’s The Sad Part About It

A street memorial for Samuel Leonard, a 22-year-old black man. Leonard was shot while getting into his car at the intersection of West Century Boulevard and Hobart Boulevard in Gramercy Park. Credit: Anthony Pesce / Los Angeles Times

Samuel Leonard, a 22-year-old black man, was shot and killed in the 1700 block of West Century Boulevard in Gramercy Park on Saturday, Aug. 22, according to Los Angeles police. . .

This afternoon friends and neighbors of Leonard gathered at memorial set up at the site of his shooting. Surrounded by caution tape, the display included 22 votive candles, more than 10 bouquets, two pictures, and a handful of stuffed animals.
Albert Tyson, 45, said he lived across the street from Leonard and had known him since he was 14 or 15 years old.  “He was a good kid,” Tyson said. “He didn’t get into any trouble. He didn’t use drugs.”
Tashika Brackens, 32, lived down the street from Leonard. She said her husband was friends with him, and he would frequently drop by her home to say hello to her two young daughters or ask what they were making for dinner.  “He would talk to anybody. He was real friendly,” she said. “I had seen him that morning…. I think someone was just jealous he had a good job and a good car.”  She said Leonard worked at LAX in the baggage claim department but wanted to get a job with her as a bus driver and, eventually, to go back to school.  “It’s always the good kids, that’s the sad part about it,” she said. “I just don’t understand, just don’t understand.”
Albert Tyson had this extraordinary thing to say about the memorial for Leonard:
Though there were several visitors to Leonard’s memorial, people did not linger.  “People get shot up at memorials now,” Tyson said. “I don’t want to stay too long.”
Rochelle Riley is a columnist for the Detroit Free Press.  She has written two editorials in as many weeks that are must-reads on the current crime crisis:

More than 1,100 people have been shot in this city! And 215 have died! That’s 215 faces families won’t see. That’s, most likely, 215 funerals. . . We have to find a way to stop letting reports of violence and death pass by like commercials in the daily drama of our lives.

Detroit has a new Police Chief who seems to be making a difference, instead of denying the problem:

[Detroit Police Chief Warren] Evans says if Detroiters don’t muster up some righteous indignation about the crime that’s sweeping the city, it will be harder for his department to stay ahead of it.  “People have got to get indignant,” he said. . . On Friday, Evans met with every ranking person in the DPD — inspectors, commanders, assistant chiefs, deputy chiefs — and assigned each of them to take five citizen complaints and go meet with the person who filed it. “They’ll talk about the problem, and we’ll check it out. That will have a tremendous impact. … If people see someone with four stars, five stars, two stars out there answering complaints that will say a whole lot more to people than lip service.”

The chief doesn’t know what kind of crime it would take to wake people up, to stir some righteous indignation. But he’s bracing for it. In the meantime, he said, “I don’t want people living in denial about where we’re at.”

Imagine having a Chief of Police who talks like that.

Today’s column by Rochelle Riley:

The problem has been like a tropical storm that changes to a hurricane and catches us off guard.

For years, we’ve made excuses.

For years, we’ve looked the other way.

For years, we’ve pronounced other things more important. But what is more important than children committing murder?

Continue reading here.


1 thought on “The Good Kids in the Crossfire”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *