The following op-ed column by Greg Jackson and Gerald Thomas, Managing Director of the Brownsville Partnership, ran in the New York Daily News on November 6, 2011.
It has been more than two weeks since a rooftop gunman fatally shot Zurana Horton as she shielded several children outside a Brownsville school. In that time, the community has grappled with fear, anger and sadness as police arrested the shooter, and as 12 children buried their heroic mother.
In 1903, W.E.B. Du Bois wrote famously, “The chief problem in any community cursed with crime is not the punishment of the criminals, but the preventing of the young from being trained to crime.” Horton’s senseless murder underscores the continuing significance of these words.
In Brownsville, faced with a shortage of opportunity, too many young people have bought into the notion that a life of violence and crime is acceptable — that it’s okay to rob, steal and “bust guns.” But in the wake of Horton’s death, Brownsville cannot wait any longer. We need a new strategy for reducing youth gun violence, with buy-in from all stakeholders, including the Police Department.