Our children are dying as gun violence rips through our communities, and too many of us are content to believe it’s someone else’s problem.
It’s true that the shootings are concentrated in places where poverty is prevalent, where education is shoddy, and where resources are scarce. However, in a city where we live in such close quarters, poverty exists alongside our prosperous neighborhoods, the gunfire affects all of us deeply; sometimes in profoundly personal ways.
And sometimes, as my wife learned Wednesday while walking along Susquehanna Avenue in North Philadelphia, we’re closer to the bullets than we think.
It was around 3 in the afternoon when my wife, LaVeta, got off the subway and started the two-block trek to 16th Street, where she’d parked her car after dropping my son off at school that morning. She’d spent the day downtown, and it was easier to park and take the subway than to deal with the traffic and the cost of Center City parking.
Susquehanna Avenue was familiar to her, after all. We are both graduates of nearby Temple University, and my son is a senior at Carver High School of Engineering and Science. She knows the rhythm of that street — a street where poverty and gentrification are locked in a dance that is, in turns, yielding and hostile. That’s why she knew what she saw on 15th Street was a bad sign.
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Photo: Police Line By. Tony Webster