Street gang violence in the inner cities has become a way of life. News reports about shootings and killing on any given weekend is now Monday morning’s “yawn” story. But how can that be? Young men and women being shot down in the streets become just another statistic. A life lost, snuffed out by an “unidentified” assailant, is how the story goes. The assailant cannot be identified even though the probability of the residents of these closed neighborhoods not knowing who does what in the community is slim to none. Law enforcement’s hands are tied because of the desensitization and unwillingness of neighbors in the communities to get involved.
Sometimes You are Just in the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time
An adjunct to the tragic story of Lee McCullum is the equally tragic story of Tiara Parks, the 23 year old girlfriend of McCullum. Parks was also the daughter of a Cook County Sheriff’s Deputy, a college student and a working mother. It is not known at this time what the possible motive for this murder was. Two other individuals were wounded in this drive-by shooting, one in the leg and one in the back. During the time of the shootings, there were approximately twenty people in the area, standing around as Parks and her companions were shot down as they exited their car in front of the Haley Elementary Academy. It is also unknown at this time if Parks or either of her companions, or all three of them, were the targets of this shooting.
A Deadly Weekend
The same weekend that Parks lost her life, there were two other murders and seventeen individuals injured in shooting incidents. One of the murdered victims was 24 year old Darrell Wilson, who was discovered inside a parked car with a gunshot wound to the head. While the police were investigating this crime scene, many of the neighbors were seen congregating on their front porches, chatting, smoking and drinking, and seemingly indifferent to what had just played out before them. Neighbors’ indifference to a brutal slaying right at their doorstep is one of the reasons the street gang violence has been allowed to proliferate in the inner city neighborhoods. The mother of the victim looking out at those standing around on their porches, lamented that she knew someone saw something, but no one is talking. Another resident remarked that the neighborhood was under siege by street gangs. See more on this story at the Chicago Tribune.
This type of battle for the streets and communities in the inner cities is played out on just about every weekend, making these communities war zones, but the battle cannot be fought behind closed shutters. It is becoming more and more apparent that this battle will require more community involvement if this type of violence is to be brought under control.
Making your communities safe from street gang violence is a team effort. The police cannot do it all by themselves. The system will work for you if you will work with the system. Starting a Neighborhood Watch Group in the community would be a step in the right direction. Work with the police, not against them in bringing these weekly tragedies under control.
Sometimes it requires “self-help” when you are faced with what appears to be insurmountable odds. Residents of communities under siege by street gangs owe it to their children to make an effort to end senseless violence. Parents should not have to bury their children like this, but it is going to take the entire community to end this assault.
Self-help begins with knowing who to call when you have a problem. When to call, is immediately after the problem is identified. Who to call is an experience criminal law attorney who will be committed to protecting your rights, call the Law Offices of David Freidberg, at (312) 560-7100, or send an email, for a free no-obligation consultation.