A round of bullets killed Katherine Bagwell adding to the growing number of homicides in Oakland, California this summer. Her 7-year-old daughter sat beside her in the car as she watch the horrific event. Sadly, it had been only one year ago that the girl witnessed her father shot and killed.
Oakland currently stands vulnerable with 100 homicides this year and counting. This has been a dramatic increase from last year's low of 85 deaths. This is currently the highest Oakland has seen since 1995. From 1986 to 1995 the average was at 138 homicides a year. Much of the killings are over drugs and turf wars, mostly in the poor flatlands of East and West Oakland. 80 percent of these deaths are amongst the African-American community. Some action clearly needs to be taken by the community and the roots of the problems must be addressed.
Much of the hype over Oakland could be blamed on the media. Lately the death toll has taken the attention of the media nationwide. The concerned community has to ask, why is all the emphasis going to Oakland? Is the media sensationalizing crime? "Whenever you continuously project negative images of a community, people start to become the images the see on TV," said rapper, Chuck D. Oakland is the prime target when other areas in California like Bayview/Hunters Point, East Palo Alto, and Compton are just as bad, if not, worse. Even statistics have shown that the south, especially places like New Orleans, have the greatest counts of killings in the country. So why stomp all over Oakland when the greater issue needs to be addressed to all our communities?
When it comes down to it, Oakland is a problem area and is an important local concern even for us in the suburbs. Violence is gradually becoming more of a growing threat like it was in the early 90's. Losing their friends to the gun has become, "an every day thing" in the eyes of a local high school student. ...