Thursday, October 23, 2014

Another Year, Another Bitter Harvest in Boston

First Church in Cambridge (Congregational, UCC) has been tracking gun violence in Boston and Cambridge for the last couple of years. It's a bitter harvest, white for dead and red for wounded:

September 2014:

September 2013:

The death count looks about the same or maybe a little less this year than last, 44 in 2013 versus 35 so far in 2014 with 3 months left to go. The white flags don't tell the whole story. They flag people who died due to gun violence. If you get stabbed, beaten, choked, or bombed to death, you don't get a white flag.

Here on the Cambridge side of the river, there's been one gun death this year and one last year. That puts us at about the national average for violent crime. Most parts of Boston are also relatively safe, and then there are the parts of the city that aren't so safe.

"A Witness Against Gun Violence and Inequality" is how these flags are billed. Guns and poverty are certainly two factors, but other types of violence and crime associated with drug use, drug dealing, and street gangs also factor in. Still, the national media mostly beats the drum for mass shootings, but it's the week-to-week violence of a murder here or there that adds up.

I don't have any magic bullet solution, but I do know an organization, City Year, that is working the other side of the problem to reduce the school dropout rate. That's what feeds the street gangs, and by the time you have violent young men without too much prospect in life wanting to kill each other, it's too late.

Monday, October 6, 2014

If This Boston Police Van Is a Rockin' Don't Come a Knockin'

Parked Sunday near Jamaica Pond in Boston. The picture may not do justice to the flashing blue and red lights that lit it up like a party was going on inside. Special operations indeed!