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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

North side, south side, all around the town.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Richmond, VA

Today Richmond celebrates its 43rd and 44th homicide. Only by the accident of politics do we have one of the highest homicide rates in the country. The boundaries that separate city from suburbs are invisible to the naked eye, but solid as stone to the demographers, so the death toll gets tallied and the suburbs can stay smug.

As of today number 43 and 44 don’t have names yet, only numbers and locations. Numbers 45 and 46 may actually have taken place before 43 and 44, but they are still hanging on, so they can’t yet be classified as homicides. Potential number 45 or 46 does have a name, Dionte Devon Whiters, a 17 year old high school student shot down in broad daylight outside one of Richmond’s notorious shooting galleries, I mean housing projects. Local spokesperson for the newly or nearly dead, Alicia Rasin, says it is all in God’s hands, which means it’s likely he will give up the ghost any time now. Number 46 or 45 is a legal immigrant who was working as an ice cream vender at a Southside elementary school. Being an immigrant ice cream vendor at a local school rated him as front page news, while numbers 43 and 44 were relegated to page 3 of the Metro section in a single article. 200 words covered both murders. No statement was made on their behalf by Ms. Rasin. They are already in God’s hands.

Richmond is becoming a hazardous place to sell ice cream. Recently another ice cream vendor was robbed at gunpoint. He had the simultaneous fortune of surviving unscathed and misfortune of killing his assailant. He is now being prosecuted for reckless endangerment, not of the assailant, but of the general public who might have gotten caught up in the crossfire. The assailant, at least, will not show up on the list of homicides and does not rate a number. Being that the victim, the ice cream vendor, and the assailant were both black, there has been no outcry of racism in the community or the media. Had it been otherwise, both Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson may have had statements. Ms. Rasin has been curiously silent as has the Mayor.

From the churches to the jails

All is silence in the world,

Where we make our stand,

Down in Jungleland.

No offense intended. Kudos to Bruce Springsteen.

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