Won't someone please help us?
Yesterday morning, on 12/11/12, a young man was shot and killed near the high school in Evanston, Illinois. Police suspect Javar Bamberg's death was an act of retaliation for another shooting three days prior which critically injured a 20-year-old man on Howard Street -- a shooting which occurred just hours before 19-year-old Justin Murray's funeral; Murray was shot and killed on November 29th in front of his grandmother's home a block and a half north of the high school.
If you had to re-read that, you're not alone. It's nearly impossible to keep up...especially for those of us who live here. And so, too, it seems, for the Evanston Police who haven't been able to stop the violence.
While these shootings are presumed to be related, there are no suspects in custody. In the meantime, Evanston Township High School students are texting their families from classrooms today with the news that Superintendent Eric Witherspoon is urging kids not to walk home unattended or in the dark -- and to let their parents know where they are at all times.
Guess what? It gets dark around 4:30pm in this shootin' gallery of a town.
But wait. We interrupt this post for a brief news flash...this just in... Concealed weapons are a-okay. Now back to your regularly scheduled Evanston shooting update.
One shooting is too many...and now I can't keep all the stories and the addresses and the faces straight. Parents and residents are no longer mildly panicked. While violence in this urban suburb goes back for generations, the chain of this most recent string of tragedies started, for many of us, when 14-year-old freshman honor student Dajae Coleman was shot and killed near the high school walking home with friends on September 22nd.
Students and community members -- past and present -- have taken to social media, primarily on the STOP THE VIOLENCE IN EVANSTON Facebook Page:
"How many more kids are going to die in Evanston before we finally wake the hell up?"
"Dis is da worst senior year!!! We should be kicking it!!!! NOT planning our Saturdays for funerals!!! Dis shit is SAD!!! :.-( </3 RIP TO ALL"
"...on the very same day we hear that the concealed carry ban in Illinois has been overturned."
"I just don't get it. We're a family [Superintendent] Witherspoon? This is not how a family should act."
"The core issue of these tragedies are gang violence in Evanston. While keeping kids off the street is a good idea and a good way to stop juvenile crime, that's not gonna stop the grown ass gangsters that are actually doing the killing. We need to reach out to those with power if we want anything to be done about moderating gang violence in Evanston. No club or anything started by any high schoolers is gonna stop the violence caused by gang members who are actually committing these crimes that have resulted in the end of far too many young lives."
"All I have to say is WOW."
"We stopped it [the violence] for like 3 weeks." [after Dajae Coleman's murder]
"You wanna stop the violence? Get out of evanston!!! That's the only way!"
"...yeah but i'm sure every kind of person wants to escape violence but not all have a lot of money to do that."
"Violence is every where. Getting out of Evanston will get you away from Evanston violence. But it won't get you away from violence."
We need help here.
And here's the horrifying question so many people of every race whisper around here: What if this happened to a white boy?