Two people were murdered Sunday night in a drive by shooting. Another survived the attack. If the gang violence in Los Angeles has taught us anything, it’s that Sunday night could have been far more tragic. As it is, two families must mourn the deaths of their loved ones.
Both victims had ties to gangs here in Albany, and Sunday night illustrates how vital it is to end the era of the gangs here in Albany.
Some will argue that as long as gang bangers are killing one another, why should we care? For starters, it won’t stay that way. In fact, at least one of Sunday’s victims was charged with shooting at one man, but hitting a woman who was inside her home. It’s just a matter of time until the casualties of further gang wars are far more men, women, and children who are doing nothing but trying to go along with their lives.
The best way to kill the gangs is to cut off their supply of recruits. We need to convince our children – and I mean convince, not just make them sit through an indoctrination class – that gangs are not the way to to get ahead. We need to give them the cold, hard facts about gangs and what all can happen. We, the parents, need to monitor what our children watch and listen to and make sure they know that gangs aren’t glorious.
We also need to pull together and come up with some form of gang outreach programs that will help get these guys out of these gangs. The truth is, a lot of people join gangs because they believe it’s all they have. We need to make it clear that there are options, and we need to help them achieve those options.
More importantly, we need to make sure there actually are options.
Folks, it’s just a matter of time until we end up mourning the death of some small child due to the gang violence that will be just the first of many. Our choices are simple. We either fight this now, or we don’t. The costs of not fighting it are unacceptably high. I’ve said before that our clergy, particularly in the areas affected by gang violence, are the best choices to begin this fight. Now, we just need someone with sufficient resources to recruit those with the knowledge and get to work. Our kids need it. Our community needs it.
Albany is known for a lot of things, many of them are things we shouldn’t be proud of necessarily. How about we add “first community to successfully eliminate gangs” to the list?