Should we be concerned that the average, moderately enlightened Bostonian can engage in conversation about Michael Brown, Tamir Rice or Walter Scott, but would be hard pressed to tell you anything about Jonathan Dos Santos or Raheem Ramirez or Dawn Jaffier?
Yes, we most certainly should.
While we all focus our daily attention to the national crime story of the week, an alarming increase in gun violence in Boston is going virtually unmentioned. While we should all celebrate the decrease in Boston gun homicides-with 13 less than had been logged this time one year ago-the drastic increase in non-fatal shootings-102- 41 more than last year this time- should alarm us all.
We all have some responsibility here. As residents of Boston, we have to step up.
In a strange twist of fate, Raheem Ramirez joined my church on Sunday, June 28. As he walked back to his seat, the minister pointed to him and said to the whole congregation "I sense something about this brother. We need to watch out for him." Four days later, he was shot and killed. No one has been arrested for his murder as of yet.
It is not enough to say Black Lives Matter. Let's live it. Someone knows something about Ramirez's murder. A fundamental responsibility we owe as residents of the city is to do what is necessary to help maintain safety and order for the whole. Recently, the Dorchester mothers of two young teens did the unfathomable and turned in their own children. The rest of us have to step up.
In the aftermath of the Baltimore protests, BPD Chief William Evans stated, "We're not Baltimore." Right now, Boston is in the midst of a serious uptick in gun violence and there is a sense of a concerted effort to pretend we don't have a problem. The numbers don't lie. There are no gun manufacturing plants, nor airports in Roxbury, Dorchester or Mattapan. We own no fleet of boats. The guns are getting onto the street somehow. We need a joint task force working in cooperation with key activists and organizations such as The Louis Brown Peace Institute, Rev. Bruce Wall, and L.I.P.S.T.I.C.K.(Ladies Involved in Putting a Stop to Inner-City Killings) to go after the guns. This focus on the end user has contributed in part to the proliferation of gun violence. Once they hit the streets, it's already too late. With all the resources and technology available, there is no excuse for the failure to do more cache interception.
For the media, there is something wrong when the The Boston Globe writes more articles about Chicago's gun violence in the last month than about Boston's. Without much pushback, the The Boston Globe has ceased even publishing the names of Boston's victims of gun violence, homicides or shootings. It isn't clear exactly what the thinking is on Morrissey Boulevard-how can a death in Missouri be newsworthy for Boston yet a death on Blue Hill Avenue isn't?
We're not Baltimore. We're Boston. And in Boston, Jonathan, Raheem and Dawn, matter!