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As 17 Year-old Is Buried--16-Year-old Is GUNNED DOWN!

The epidemic of gun violence, of Black on Black crimes in New Haven is, in fact, an accumulative massacre!  This is not too strong a statement.  Between Jan. 2009 and April 3, 2014, if someone had descended into various areas of the black New Haven community and gunned down 107 young  black people the rage could not be contained; and it would be justified.  This is exactly what has happened except the killers are from within the community!

On March 24, 2014, 17 year-old Taijon Washington was murdered in Newhallville, CT. He was buried amidst a bit of pageantry on April 2, 2014.  On that day Bishop Brooks extended an invitation to young black men to come to church and appealed for a moratorium until Easter: “Two weeks of peace. No shooting, no violence, no beating, no selling of drugs.” While I fully understand that the appeal is an effort to do something; I also find it truly disturbing for several reasons. Think about what this request implies.  What is it that we are accepting as an inevitable part of life in the Black community?!

Why two weeks? Is it because that seems to be reasonbale to ask? Or is it because -- as as community-- we need a 2-week respite? Is it O'K to resume the mayhem after the moratorium is over? Of course not. The good Bishop was not implying any of these.  When we are at our wits end we are often willing to accept anything that seems like a better alternative. We do NEED a great deal more.

Many supposedly in ‘the-know’ are saying the murder of Torrence Gamble is personal. We are not sure how that should be interpreted.  If these killings are not as a result of robberies, or murders for hire, aren’t all of these murders personal?  It is a question. What is the answer?

The NHI is masterful at covering these events. One descriptor reads ‘Many of the mourners wore T-shirts, buttons, and other obituary wear reading:  “Rock Da Heavens, Sleepy” and" Sleep up, Bro!  Heaven Couldn’t Wait for You.” We beg to differ; not with the NHI, but with the mourners. Heaven was quite prepared to wait and had nothing to do with the decisions made in Newhallville on March 24, 2014. Maybe telling ourselves that these senseless killings are a part of God’s plan makes it easier to accept them. God gave us free will; how we exercise it is entirely up to us.

“The funeral was especially poignant for the family because two of Taijhon’s cousins, Dallas Boomer and Thomas “TJ” Mozell, with whom he had been close, were also shot to death in New Haven.” The NHI informs us.

Among the words spoken at the funeral of  Taijhon  Washington as a throng of 300 were preparing to take him to his grave were:   “We have here a young man killed not by a Zimmerman, but by somebody who looks like him!” declared Bishop Brooks’ son, Pastor Darryl Brooks, invoking the Trayvon Martin case. “We can’t go on about ‘stand your ground’ laws in Florida when we don’t stand up [here] in New Haven. We need to stand up and say enough is enough.”

Clearly, those who control the guns, the drugs, the gangs and the violence in our communities were not in the church on April 2, at the funeral of young Mr. Washington, or the message did not get through because on April 3, 2014 - “Another teenaged boy lost his life to gun violence.

The latest victim is Torrence Gamble of Henry Street, New Haven.

Police responded to a call at 9:38 p.m. Thursday at 78 Daggett St. in the Hill. There they found Gamble, shot in the head, according to police spokesman Officer David Hartman.”  He was pronounced dead at 3:15 a.m. He was 16 years old. He attended Riverside Academy.”

“No shooting, no beatings, no drug dealing, no violence of any kind from now until Easter: A call for that two-week moratorium emerged from an emotional farewell funeral ceremony for Taijhon Washington,  the 17-year old who was killed in gun violence on the evening of March 24 near Butler and Lilac streets near the Lincoln-Bassett School in Newhallville.” The killers were not listening to Bishop Brooks; they certainly did not accept the invitation for a moratorium.

Why are guns so easily accessible in our communities? Did you call your CT legislators today to tell them to STAND UP TO THE GUN LOBBY? What can the broader community do?  What would have happened in this – the greater New Haven-- community if  a bunch of other people had gone into black communities and gunned down these same five, 17 or 33 young black men?  How many people would have gone to the Capital to demand changes to the gun laws? These are the numbers of young black men killed in New Haven over the past few years! See links below.

Yes, most crimes are intraracial; 86 percent of white victims were killed by white offenders; 94 percent of black victims were killed by black offenders. This is true throughout most of America. People are killed mostly by people they know. However, there is no reason for us to accept this as the norm in the Black community. If we do not want to accept it, how are we going to change it?  When kids used to fight with their fists, no one got killed. Why are our black young men killing each other at such an alarming rate?

We ended 2013 with the killing of three people in Dec. What are we doing to bring this accumulating massacre to an end? Of the 20 homicides in New Haven in 2013, 18  died of gunshots; 17 were young Black men and two were Hispanics.  Between January 2009 and April 3, 2014, New Haven lost 107 young Black men to gun violence.  Many more survived their encounters with guns (NHR***). Here are the names and ages of our latest victims; they range in age from 16 to 33!

  1. 12/07/2013 -  Shamar Willett, 23, Black, shot and killed in New Haven (Harding Place)

  2. 12/14 /2013 - Deveron McLaughlin, 32, Black,  was shot and killed in New Haven (Weybossett)

  3. 12/28/2013 -  Javier Martinez, 18, Hispanic, was shot and killed on Hemingway, New Haven

  4. 1/20/2014-     Durell Patrick Law (20), Black,  shot and killed, Eastern Street

  5. 1/31/2014 -    Varnouard Hall (33) Black, shot and killed, East Pearl Street

  6. 2/10/2014 -    Kyle Edwards (22), Black, shot and killed, Kossuth Street, NH

  7. 3/24/2014 -   Taijon Washington (age 17), Black, shot and killed in Newhallville, NH

  8. 4/03/2014 -   Torrence Gamble (age 16), Black, shot and killed, Henry Street, NH

So far we have had 5 young Black men murdered in 2014! Regardless of how many police the Mayor puts on the streets, that is not going to prevent the problem.  We NEED to go deeper; we NEED to understand what is happening with our young Black men why they perceive their lives to have no value.  We need to engage parents and the broader community.  Most of those who killed the 107 of their brothers are still walking the streets!  Why? The police cannot make arrests without information.  What do we value? Who do we value?

Let us do the additions.  In 2011 there were 33 black people murdered in New Haven:

They announced that murders rose from 12 to 24 from 2009 to 2010. Twenty-two victims were black males, one a black female, and one Hispanic male.

Of 124 non-fatal shooting victims, 99 were black men; seven were black females; seven Hispanic males; one Hispanic female; eight white males; one white female; and 1 “other male.”

Let us bear in mind that the killers among us also have mothers and fathers; they have siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins.  What are you doing to save the young people in the NH Black community?

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