Gang violence: It’s up to the parents

Article by: Jenn Orr

It’s a sad world when a child must go to school unsure of a safe return, and, unfortunately, that is the reality many in Dorchester are living in. It seems as though every week brings a new story of a random act of gang-related violence in the neighborhood.

What is worse than the consistency of these violent crimes is the growing breed of assailants and victims: teenagers. The latest known casualty: Nicholas Fomby-Davis, who was shot while standing on Bowdoin Street in Dorchester.

He was 14 years old. And he was a really good kid; really smart too.

Fomby-Davis was killed after being pushed from his scooter, held by one man, and shot by another.
The boy who pulled the trigger was 16 years old.

I say “the boy” rather than “the young man” who pulled the trigger because in a lot of these cases, those involved have the mentalities of children. Desperately seeking acceptance easily influenced, extremely impulsive – these are qualities shared between young children and adolescent gang members.

But how can murderers be compared to innocent young children? The answer is simple: these reckless teenagers have never really grown up. They are children caught up in a world of violence that seeks out their very kind: young, alone, naïve, and impressionable.

Older gang members will continue to recruit these kids – because, let’s face it, it has unfortunately proved too difficult a task to exterminate gangs from inner-city neighborhoods. Some parents will continue to neglect the situation at hand, allowing their children to look for attention elsewhere.

The people of Dorchester know that they are the only ones who can get anywhere close to ending gang violence in their neighborhood. They know that the solution to the problem is something more than arresting offenders after the fact. They know that prevention is the only option at this point, and they are working toward it by developing more and more programs to keep kids off the streets.

One fact still remains, however: it is the people of Dorchester solving the problems that parents should be solving, i.e. paying attention to your child, disciplining him if he runs with gang members even if it means locking him in the house to keep him off the street, encouraging him that he can be an astronaut if he wanted to.

Why are 16-year-olds walking around with guns and knives? Do their parents not see this? Do they care? Gang violence doesn’t only affect gang members, as proven in Fomby-Davis’s death. The poor kid died because he borrowed his cousin’s scooter. His older cousin is believed to have ties with a neighborhood gang.
It’s a seemingly endless cycle that all leads to destruction, but the people of Dorchester still have hope. They once again are stepping up and assuming the duties that belong to others in an effort to save their neighborhood.

To the people of Dorchester: I salute you. To the parents who allow their children to advance the violence: pay attention and set an example.