Apples & Oranges
by: Carlos Henriquez | StillReppin.com
A 7-year-old was shot on Bowdoin Street in Dorchester. The heart of the 5th Suffolk District. The legislative district I used to represent in the state legislature.
Unfortunately, violence is not new, innocent bystanders being caught by stray bullets is not new. Sadly, the response is not new either. The first disappointing response was from Mayor Walsh and BPD Chief Gross. (I know both of these men personally. I supported Walsh’s mayoral campaign and I would again today). That however doesn’t mean we will always agree.
I know Peter Gelzinis and major media has an agenda to try to compare reactions to police killing unarmed citizens to citizens killing other citizens. I feel the Mayor and the Chief should also know this or at a minimum have press professionals close to keep them from stepping into the bullshit. But step in it they did.
In the article, Mayor Walsh steps in it by mixing issues. He is quoted:
“Look, I can appreciate people taking issue with police actions that they may view as excessive,” Walsh said, referring to the protests that have snarled streets here and elsewhere.
“But we’re talking about a 7-year-old boy here being shot, and who could well have been killed, while riding his bike down the street,” Walsh said. “I think people have to step up and work with the police on this.”
He went on to say there is no outrage or protest. He and Chief Gross doubled down on talking about “no snitching” and the need to work with police.
There is outrage. There is always outrage. Because there are thousands of good, hard-working residents who detest violence in general but especially that which harms an innocent child. To say otherwise is uninformed and borderline disrespectful. Yes, maybe as a community, we could take to the streets every time the gun goes off in our neighborhood. For decades we have protested, rallied, held vigils, mourned publicly and privately as well as working to create real systemic change in our community and these men have joined some of those as recently as the Mother’s Day Walk for Peace.
A poor relationship between police and communities of color pre-dates Jim Crow laws. The reason for this is the racist nature/history that built this country. The police department has and remains an institution that maintains American white supremacy as well as class/economic supremacy. It has slowly improved in some areas while remaining eerily similar in others. This coupled with policies like the “war on drugs” and “mass incarceration” only build the distrust. I need my Mayor and Police Chief to not only know it but acknowledge it and maybe as a bonus act to change it.
Oranges: Citizens kill citizens every day in every corner of this country. Tax brackets don’t exempt you, neither do zip codes.
Apples: Sworn police officers acting as agents of the government killing unarmed citizens is a much more rare and possibly more dangerous action as it erodes the public’s trust in the enforcement arm of the “justice” system.
These are apples and oranges. You may not like these apples. And while we’re talking apples, you’ve heard the saying that one bad apple can spoil the bunch. It’s arguable. But let’s argue this. It is ironic at best, insulting at worst for anyone who is a member of a group that has a code of silence to tell another group that they should break the same code.
An innocent 7 year old was shot. Anyone with information should help seek justice as they would want for a 7 year old in their family.
With that said, let me offer some action items because I’m not some self important part time columnist for a local sensational tabloid who only writes articles speaking poorly about my community and it’s residents.
1. The video released has no real value. What can the public do with it besides witness it and be exposed to trauma ? The video that is needed is the ones with angles showing the possible shooter. Especially if you want people to come forward with information. I recommend that the administration and BPD seek out that video and consider releasing it to media outlets and the community.
2. I recommend that the Mayor and BPD Chief offer the community an update on what their efforts are to catch the perpetrator/s beyond putting the responsibility squarely upon the residents.
3. To ask residents to speak up is all well and good but what is needed is Mayor Walsh, the Boston City Council and the Boston Delegation of Reps and Senators to lobby, organize, and mobilize real action around an increase in the witness protection fund. It was 90k now it’s 250k. How many families does that 250k protect or relocate ? Not enough. Or should residents just testify and see if costs them or their family and friends their life from retaliation ?
4. Tell me you are dedicating a number of detectives, increasing bike patrols after school, tell me they’re your best.
That’s not what we got, we got apples and oranges and I’m disappointed that no one is saying anything new and then we get a man who calls himself Rev. Mark V. Scott saying more of the same in the same rag the next day but i’ll save that for the next blog post on critics disguised as leaders.
Now let me head to this meeting to see if anyone is saying anything new…