Boston violence should not be a taboo topic

Guns and knives are two contributors to the exacerbated violence in Boston. But are these vile utensils the only entities to blame? In the premature death of Herman Taylor III, I charge that guns conspired with society to perpetrate this homicide. On July 12, 2006 the 18 year old African American student from Roxbury was killed in his own neighborhood. Taylor was the thirty-seventh murder victim in Boston this year. This senseless death ignited an outcry from community leaders and activists; all demanded a cease to the proliferating violence that has been permeating our streets of Boston. This demand, however, did not receive the sought reaction, as many more have died of violence in our neighborhoods since the passing of Herman Taylor. On September 11, 2006 a peace march and vigil was held to commemorate the life of and to lament the death of Herman Taylor. Many speakers cited the need to rectify our society – a society that promotes violence, gangs, and was implicitly responsible for Taylor’s death. Most attendants of this vigil consented that many facets of our community must be ameliorated. Sam Yoon, among the few politicians present, deemed it absurd that we must live in a society, in which we must fear for acts of violence. Yoon’s statement was well received and certainly appropriate; many others articulated similar notions. However, I noticed that most speakers only briefly, if it all, alluded to the manner, in which our society ought to be mended. This resulted not from a lack of concern for this issue. On the contrary, I believe that the complexity and ambiguity over the “proper solution” contributed to the timidity of the speakers toward this topic. What is the best way to improve our communities and to alleviate the violence in our city? I am disappointed at the lack of attention this question has been given. Although many have shied away from this quagmire for its lack of clarity, a dialogue, nevertheless, is necessary to move toward reform. More politicians ought to have been in attendance at the vigil; the experience would have been enlightening for the many legislators who have distanced themselves and their families from the violence in Boston, by means of private schools and suburban towns. Perhaps this illumination on the untimely death of the altruistic Herman Taylor, and on the escalating violence in many of our neighborhoods would have provided them with a well-needed measure of reality. Perhaps, this reality would have inspired them to place the issue on their agenda. I believe that racism, poor quality education, and poverty are among the roots of the budding violence in our city. Racism and poor quality education often induce poverty; the frustrations of poverty, can, then, stimulate violence. While it is farfetched to assume that a single politician can end poverty, it is warranted for us as a society to reflect on poverty and identify measures to eradicate it. For example, if the money allocated to the wealthy, as stipulated in George W. Bush’s tax cuts, was distributed to impoverished communities, then new schools, health centers, and opportunities could be established for these areas. These opportunities would help to assuage violence because it would provide once “desperate” individuals with a stable economic and social environment. This is just one of many possible ideas that can be implemented to address the violence in our neighborhoods. I cannot ignore the immediate provokers of violence and the efforts that ought to be taken to prevent them. We need capable police officers, not bigots, to monitor our streets for violence. A gun buyback program certainly has the potential to be successful, although it was not in the past. As a community, we can make more efforts to facilitate gang truces, like the recent one between the infamous Heath Street Gang and H-block Gang. In no way am I implying that I have all the answers or even the right ones. (Apathy, though, is certainly not the answer.) I am simply advocating more focus on the issue of violence in our community. We need a public dialogue debating the proper plan of action, and, subsequently, we must act!


ending violence: well-said

If you haven't seen 'Bowling for Columbine' - a 2002 documentary that looks at why we Americans kill each other with guns more than any other country - it explores how political leadership and the media work to instill a climate of race-driven fear. It is eye-opening, since it shows how we as a community are left to be blamed for the violence. That blaming conspiracy lets those who profit from it - such as: media 'if it bleeds, it leads' and suburban politicians who get re-elected and suburban developers who help folks 'escape from the war-zone' inner-city communities - duck their responsibility to join in to help stop it.

Rosanne Foley, DBC [Dorchester By Choice]

Powerful and insightful

This was well written and it's refreshing to see my peers talking about the subject. If only we could show those "desperate" teens as you said there are oppurtunities out there for them. I believe an idle mind is the devils playground and keeping people busy is the only way to stop the problems that plague our coommunity.