Ralph E. Moore Jr.

By Ralph E. Moore Jr.,
Special to the AFRO

Perhaps it was an omen of things to come when 17-year-old D’Asia Garrison became the first murder victim in Baltimore in 2023, bringing in a new year with another horribly sad statistic. 

In the week of February 12-18 of this very year there were seven teenagers shot. 

Seven children shot represents seven lives that could have been lost –and indeed, some were.  

Seven teenagers shot means seven school students, seven summer job seekers, seven senior proms and of course– seven sons or daughters impacted by gun violence. 

These are the realities behind the bullets hitting our children. 

It is a sad time here in Baltimore: guns aplenty, mass shootings almost every week in America, inaction and inertia from Congress to end gun violence. This results in little to no progress and therefore no peace.  

Young people can buy guns, but some are gifted to children. Big guns, like AK 47s and AR-15 rifles, as well as hand guns are so easily available.

By now, we’re all aware of the five Edmondson-Westside students shot while standing in a shopping center during a lunchtime in January. One of them died from the gunshots. 

It has been reported that Baltimore Police Department authorities have arrested and charged a 16-year-old with the murder of Deanta Dorsey, also 16. So, there we have it again: a kid shooting kids– a kid, killing another child in our town.

Look at how this insanity is playing out in real lives:  On Tuesday night of the aforementioned week, in Latrobe Homes public housing development in East Baltimore, a 13-year-old boy, a 13-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy were shot.  They all suffered non-life-threatening injuries and we can thank the heavens for that. But this could have one more fatal set of tragedies.

Where are the guns coming from that our children are being shot with? 

Is it daddy’s gun? 

Mommy’s gun? 

Didn’t a 9 year old boy shoot and kill another child, 15-year-old Nykayla Strawder, with his grandma’s gun on a Saturday in early August, 2022 in our city? 

Don’t the squeegee workers and the drug dealers have guns— some not even old enough to vote? 

What is this great American obsession with the gun?  

Why are weapons used instead of words?  Where did young people get this tendency to settle differences in such a deadly manner?  What personality or demographic types of our children are being shot at and what is the profile of those doing the shooting? 

Is there too much stress in Baltimore City’s neighborhoods?  

Would a redistribution of income and wealth, resulting in less poverty and more opportunities, make our city less violent? 

Students have been shot near schools. Children have been shot in cars and our children have been cut down with bullets on our streets.  

I’m sure Mayor Brandon Scott and members of the City Council are trying their hardest to stem the violence.  And I’ll bet the Police Department is as frustrated with all the gun violence as the rest of us– especially as it affects our youth. And then there’s a new State’s Attorney for Baltimore City…who promises to be tough on violent offenders. But all of us–all of us– seem to be wandering in the desert as it pertains to the youth gun violence in Baltimore.  

The pain of seeing so much killing of the bearers of the future is beyond frustrating.  With each incident of teenage killing and death in our Baltimore, we are faced, once again, with the inadequacy of words.  

When will it ever end? Sadly, the Lord only knows, but now –more than ever– we must find our way out of this desert.