Urban Gun Violence: Who Shot Ya?

by Tracy Renee Jones
Published: Saturday, December 04, 2010, 5:20 PM Updated: Saturday, December 04, 2010, 5:22 PM”Six men are shot overnight in Newark”


NEWARK — Newark suffered a violent night as six people were shot throughout the city in five separate incidents between Friday evening and this morning, authorities said. At 10 p.m. Friday, one person was shot at 25 Broad St. At 10:15 p.m., two people were shot on the 300 block of 6th Avenue. Another person was shot at 216 South St. at 11:13 p.m. Shortly following that, a person was shot on Devine St. at 11:30. One person was shot on Telford Street around 5 a.m. today. All of the victims are believed to be male, according to law enforcement officials, and all were transported to University Hospital for treatment. All six survived, though the man shot on Telford Street is in critical condition. No further details were available yesterday.It’s easy enough for me to ignore the violent deaths that go on in the urban (read: poor black) sections of Essex County. I would say living here causes one to become detached and immune to news of another gun death but that’s not true. Living in any ANY urban dwelling causes one to grow distant from the violence that comes included with the utility bill. The only exciting news about Newark gun violence as of lately is that no one getting shot has been killed by the bullet. Apparently, we’re dealing with kinder, gentler more life valuing thugs or these mutha fuckas got bad aim.

And I’m grateful for that. I haven’t been writing much lately and I don’t feel like writing this right now but I must. My best friend’s seventeen year old son was approached by two men and shot in the back with a 9 millimeter on the evening of November 11, 2010. He lived, but the bullet severed his spine. He’s paralyzed and is now settled into a rehabilitation center learning how to become independent while his single mother scrambles to and fro in search of a new handicapped accessible apartment. I have no idea how she’s dealing with this. She has two younger children to care for so she is not afforded the luxury of falling out in a heap of self pity.

Every time I look at his picture I cry. She and I were raised together but fell out of touch. There is a picture on my desk of she and I and our then toddler children taken immediately after coming in contact with each other again. I was the one who spoke her son into existence after suggesting that she needed a child to slow her down and get her centered. Only days later she realized she was pregnant; and he did settle her down into motherhood.

The entire situation makes me ill. I tell myself it would be easier for me to accept had he been injured in a car accident. I could deal with the misfortune a little better had he been hurt while playing high school football. I could deal with ‘bad things happen to good people’ but it seems more like when your skin is brown that ‘brown people happen to brown people’.

As much as I love to indulge in debate and philosophical accusations of the inequality felt under the white foot of systemic disregard, I can’t ignore the fact that the only time a White man puts fear in my heart is if he’s dressed in blue with a badge or he’s speeding by in a pick up truck down a dark road at a late hour of the night. Besides red necks racist hicks and the police Blacks don’t fear Whites. But let me turn a corner and see a Black man coming at me and I’ll freeze and feel my eye twitch on some fight or flight shit.

Is it wrong to think that Blacks are the ones committing all the crime? Yup, it’s totally not true. Do I think the Black that’s walking up behind me, eye balling me while I sit alone on the city subway car or pacing directly behind me as I walk up a dark street is up to something? Hell, yeah, at least in my mind. Why? Because the violence in this city is being done FUBU (For Us By Us) style. Supposedly the men who shot my friend went on to shoot two additional people that night and may also have been involve in the shooting of a store owner the following night. They walked into the man’s corner store and shot him in the chest! My friend’s son wasn’t hit by a stray bullet; it was men approaching a young man and pulling the trigger of a gun because they can and do and they don’t give a fuck. It’s disgusting.

“On Wednesday Dec.8,2010 there will be a rally for my son @ 7th ave & Clifton in Newark NJ between 5pm & 7pm.”My friend is holding a vigil for her son to bring attention to gun violence in Newark. The City just laid off 167 police officers in an attempt to tame the annual budget. Do I think more cops are the solution to this problem? Hell no! The solution to this problem lies in parents and community residents getting a grip on the wild animals they live along side.

So many young people are in gangs because they think it’s cool or they join for their own safety. These parents know their children are involved; most don’t care and gladly take the drug money these young people earn in the street. These beasts play games with the lives of brown children, and the mothers of their imaginary nonsense rivals and are now in the habit of opening fire at the funerals of newly deceased rival gang members in hopes of catching innocent family members in cold blooded murder. They want to be notorious, feared and ‘respected’ by their brutality.

They will shoot your child on your front door and if they can’t find your child they will find your other child or the target’s mother. But for what? All this fire power but Niggas won’t fight a revolution!

Marching up and down the street won’t fix this. Having more police patrol the urban cities treating every brown person like an inmate is not the answer. Gun laws and capital punishment aren’t the answer. The answer is simply for us all to stop turning our hatred toward each other and aiming it at the real culprit in ways that will make Brown plight change. Anything less is a band aid on a bullet hole.

The only person that can stop the killing is the one choosing to kill. So when the police eventually arrive to the crime scene and ask ‘Who Shot Ya?’ we can all stop saying “I don’t know. Some Nigga”.