My friends, Elena, Luah, Joao, Djenane, Bianca and I are blessed to live in a nice middle class neighborhood. A few years ago one could leave their front door unlocked and keys in the car without fear of any problems. Some break ins now happen so one has to be more cautious. We do not have to fear for our personal safety. Sadly just a few miles away in Oakland, Richmond, and parts of San Francisco that is not the case. Gang violence is prevalent. Killings are a common part of life. Often the victim is some innocent person who was unlucky enough to walk between rival gang members “shooting it out.”
A few days ago a young single mother with two kids got hit by a bullet fired by a gang member at a rival. She died. Her death left two young kids as orphans. Often these murders are never solved. Gang members have the local community so frightened and intimidated that no one come forward. In this case someone did come forward. A 19 year-old young man is in custody in Oakland. If found guilty of this crime he will, most likely, spend the rest of his life in prison. This young man could easily live to be 79 years of age. The taxpayers will have to pay $50,000 a year to keep him in prison. This is $3,000,000 not counting all of the costs of the trial and his medical and dental care. We cannot calculate the costs of the two young children left without a mother.
If more people had the courage to come forward and identify the people doing these violent crimes, the gang members would figure out that they would get caught quickly. It might make some of them think twice before pulling out a gun and firing it in anger.