Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Insiders Contemplating Why
Below is a link to a collection of brief, thoughtful comments by members of the community that's re-forged every time someone is killed here. In the aftermath of violence in Oakland, the old members of the community -- police, trauma docs, crisis responders, gang intervention specialists -- all re-unite to greet the newly initiated members, the survivors.
The article was published in 2007 in the Oakland Tribune as as a kind-of postscript to an excellent 5-part series by Brenda Payton on the death of Frederick ``Mar'' Layne, a 23-year-old African American man who was dealing drugs in West Oakland. Payton used Layne's particular life, his death, and its wake to give readers a much broader view than they usually get of how one death hits a community, of how profoundly it impacts the people who knew and loved the victim, as well as those who come to pick up the pieces.
For Part 5 (link below) she asked some of Mar Layne's friends and family, but also the police officers, hospital personnel, preachers and preachers of non-violence she'd encountered in her reporting why they think the violence in Oakland is happening and what can be done to stop it.
It's not that their answers are particularly surprising or innovative. In fact, I read the tone as bleak. Always a realist, Marilyn Harris, of the Khadafy Washington Foundation for Non-Violence, whose son, Khadafy Washington, was murdered in Oakland in 2000, says, " We're getting a world of old people now. It's gotten to be a pleasure to go to a funeral when somebody is over 50."
Still, these are the thoughts of people fighting against the allure and false comfort of cynicism, but who have seen too much blood and despair to bother with mincing words. Again, it is a piece of good reporting by Brenda Payton, from the Oakland Tribune, March 3, 2007.
So, please read:
Why the violence is happening and what can be done to stop it