Cosmopolitan Review July 3- 9, 2014

Yvonne Delaney Mitchell | 7/3/2014, 2:20 p.m.

While weather for the month of June ended on a picture perfect day, all was not so in the hood. Once again, peace failed to reign as gun violence erupted just as the sun had set and the sky was still lit at twilight. Eerily close to home, the victim lay dead in front of the old Meat Masters, located on 133rd Street at Fifth Avenue.

That was on a Monday. The retaliation occurred a few days later, on Saturday night at 2 a.m. The sound of gunfire pierced the cool night air. Five shots could be heard directly across from where the first victim was killed, but this time on Madison Avenue. What stood in between where the two dead bodies lay was the Lincoln Projects.

Following through, as procedures dictate, moments after the final shot was fired, a police car with sirens screaming raced to the scene. This was followed by a helicopter search of the area, which lasted until after 3 a.m. By the time the sun rose on early Sunday morning, another person was dead, and once again, the neighborhood is overshadowed with a cloud of intense fear that traps innocent people who are caught in the middle.

So politicians, police chief, City Council, district attorney’s office, community board, outraged citizens, governor, mayor, what are we going to do about this? When the question was posed at a recent meeting involving a city representative, the response given was, “Mayor [Bill] de Blasio has developed a new program to help combat the problem of gun violence. He is keeping the community centers open until 11 p.m.” Let me be the first to say that is the dumbest idea I have ever heard of.

Let’s be real. The people with the guns who are out to kill are not going to a community center. Sure, they may pop their head in to case the joint, but other than that, here is how the thought process goes: “Man, I ain’t going to no community center. For what?! What I want is out here in the street. I can’t make no money in a community center. I can’t blow an a—hole’s brains out if he mess with me or my money or my drugs or my woman or because I feel like it in no community center. What I wanna be in there for? Can’t smoke no dope in there or get a blast. Nah man, later for that. What I look like going in a community center? You got to be kidding.” So who is going to the community center? Youngsters who should be home at 11 p.m.

The sugarcoated answer to the problem of gun violence is, “These ‘children’ need alternatives. Then they won’t pick up a gun and feel the need to kill.” Please! If the situation wasn’t so life-threatening, I would laugh. A real approach would be to follow a model set up by a state located within the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Reported a year ago in The New York Times Magazine, the feature story followed this particular government’s tactics and strategies in combating crime. Are you ready for this?