Scenes from the aftermath in Oakland:
stories of victims, survivors and healers.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rash/Wave/String: Homicide Update

We’re having our first heat wave of the summer. The marine layer is taking a long weekend.

Marilyn Harris, of the Khadafy Foundation for Non-Violence, has told me she considers August to be the city’s deadliest month. But this particular August had been, while not peaceful -- there were many shootings -- not deadly. We had no homicides for the first three weeks of the month. It was the longest stretch without a death since I began paying close attention. I’m happy to credit good police work, community policing, Measure Y, whatever you want. I like a hopeful view.

But I kept telling my wife it was the weather, here in the coldest, grayest summer in memory. And sure enough, record breaking heat has coincided with a rash/wave/string of killings. Five in one week. Each apparently unrelated to the next. There have been two stabbing deaths and three shooting deaths. There have been killings in East Oakland, West Oakland, and Downtown.

Meanwhile, federal and local law enforcement agencies are meeting to discuss Oakland’s gang problem. On Monday, at Oakland’s Laney College, two alleged gang members were arrested leaving class. Each was carrying a weapon.

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