There’s innocent and then there’s ‘Casha’e Rivers innocent’.
Casha’e, a five-year-old from Strawberry Mansion, was killed Sept. 24 after she was struck by a stray bullet while riding in the backseat of her mother’s car.How does something like that happen?
In Philadelphia, it happens nearly every day. Sometimes twice. Sometimes, sadly, with even greater frequency.
Little Casha’e was innocently brought into a troubled environment.Born into an environment where drugs and guns were easily available, her father, is currently incarcerated on cocaine charges, and her mother’s boyfriend was arrested following
her slaying on narcotics offenses.
This city’s drug culture ultimately led to Casha’e’s death. It’s led to the deaths of countless others, too.You can point your finger at Philadelphia’s non-stringent gun laws. You could lay blame on gang allegiances and turf wars.
In the end, negligence by our local leaders, a lack of education and the lack of jobs are the culprits. Perhaps citizens here won’t have to turn to selling drugs to “make a living” if jobs were not so scarce or if early in their lives their school system hadn’t failed them.
In Philadelphia lately, violent crimes are sprouting up everywhere. No neighborhood, or so it seems, is safer than the next.
As of last weekend, the homicide count in the city was approaching 300 in 2006 in the City of Brotherly Love.
Where’s the love? Nowhere to be found.
Philadelphia offers several programs to either stunt gun violence here or support those who have lost loved ones to it. For the last 15 years, the city has reached out to more than 10,000 school children of all ages, offering classes (free of charge) through its Student Anti-Violence Education program.
In addition to the SAVE program, the Families of Murder Victims program provides grief support and counseling to those left behind by murder.
Even still, that’s not enough. Ask the families of those nearly 300 murdered this year.
Maybe Philadelphia’s political leaders should look to those just over the bridge for some much-needed pointers.
Since the turn of the millennium, Camden,
N.J., regularly dotted the list of the nation’s top 10 most violent cities. All while city officials here sat back idle, complacent.
Camden isn’t safe. Far from it, actually.
But New Jersey, on the whole, has since turned its lax stance on accessibility to guns into somewhat of a non-issue. In Philadelphia, however, after a nominal waiting period, guns can be purchased in just less than two weeks. As a result, murders are happening daily here and, seemingly, to no end.
So what’s the next step for Philadelphians?
Call your local representatives. Write letters to Harrisburg.
But maybe more importantly, mourn the loss of young and innocent children like Casha’e Rivers.
Casha’e, laid to rest last weekend, was innocently taken too young.