Sunday, January 24, 2016

Senseless Murders

Young men are getting shot down in the streets of Santa Maria. This is a tragedy. We hadn't made it two weeks into the month of January when we already had seen two murders. These two most recent victims didn't make it past their early twenties. Another couple of “drive-bys” occurred a few days later.
The murdered young men were walking north on Oakley shortly after 6:30 p.m. when they were shot. Shell casings were strewn across about 20 yards, leading police to suspect the victims were chased prior to the shootings. Detectives are still trying to determine how many shooters were involved.
Last year there were 13 homicides, the last two, just after the Christmas weekend. This is both shameful and tragic. Memorials like the one pictured above are appearing too frequently.
Something needs to be done about these senseless murders. The city needs to get involved. Determining why and then getting into some type of intervention would be a productive way for the city to spend their money, instead of idiotic filing of charges against businesses regarding their landscape.
About half of last year's victims were involved with gangs. Apparently the two most recent murders were gang related.
The answer is not more meetings to discuss the problem, the answer is for these involved people who say they know the “whys” of gang life to get out there into these communities and identify the families, mothers, fathers, grandparents and whoever else is aware of the road the gang member or would-be gang member is taking.
It would be wonderful to see the mayor involved beyond the usually empty platitudes that she seems to enjoy uttering.  Cutting ribbons and hammering her little gavel at meetings isn't enough in the face of so much violence. The leadership of Santa Maria, beginning with her, looks clueless. 
This is a form of domestic terrorism and it must be met head-on, nothing else will make a difference. It's clear that having meetings to “discuss the gang problem” is not working.
The time for talk is over.

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