Carey Gabay (161355)
Credit: NYS Office of the Governor

Predicting where the next barrage of bullets will occur in New York City or the nation is impossible. Gun violence is so pervasive, so absolutely random, that it can strike almost anywhere and at any time. So to blame any assembly of people or any one event is at best tendentious, as some are seeing the J’ouvert celebration as a cause of the shooting death of attorney Carey Gabay.

Holiday weekends and festive occasions have traditionally drawn large crowds, thereby increasing the possibility of violence, although any weekend in America, as we witnessed recently in Chicago, is susceptible to a horrific shooting incident, leaving in its wake a number of fatalities.

Last weekend, three men were shot and killed at the Ingersoll Houses, a public housing development in downtown Brooklyn. The district was still mourning Gabay’s death when the violence erupted at Ingersoll. “It’s really taking a toll on the community as a whole,” lamented City Council Member Laurie Cumbo.

But Cumbo is not alone in her frustration. Seven other people were victims of gun violence over the past weekend, in the Bronx and East Harlem.

Given all the uncertainties related to gun violence in America, one thing is certain: Ending J’ouvert or the West Indian Day Parade will not stop the proliferation of guns or the attendant violence. In fact, it seems counterintuitive that a moment marked for celebration, a carnival, would be a venue for violence.

Well, the same thing can be said for schools and churches, and lately we’ve been stunned to apoplexy about the tragedies in these supposedly safe places.

There has been discussion among some community activists and civic leaders about the creation of more safe spaces in the community. Also, the city has increased the lighting and improved the presence of police in public housing areas. But these gestures have only had a modicum of success in curbing gun violence.

We are by no means authorities on this predicament, and even those who are seem to be baffled on what measures to take, what solutions to apply.

Here is what the National Institute of Justice has posted on its website: “Initially, firearms violence intervention and research focused on either reducing the demand for illegally obtained guns or reducing the supply. More than 20 years of intervention programs, however, have shown that a single approach is not likely to work. To reduce gun violence, a sustained program that addresses both demand and supply is needed. A successful intervention will have elements of federal-local law enforcement collaboration, community involvement, targeted intervention tactics and continuous program evaluation.”

There is nothing dramatically new about these programs, and we are in no position at the moment to determine the extent to which any of these steps have been tried or their effectiveness.

All we can say to our readers, many of whom are just as troubled and perplexed as we are, is to be as vigilant as possible and do your best to avoid situations that will put you in harm’s way. And this, dear readers, is no easy task when an outbreak of gunplay may occur on your next trip to the store, at your workplace or while you are using the terminal at your local library.

What we are saying, at last, is that Gabay’s death is a precious loss, particularly for someone with such a promising future. And we feel to end J’ouvert would be a disservice to an event that he cherished. Do we discuss putting a halt to Labor Day in the wake of the recent shootings? He just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, a fate we are all heir to.