The Fourth of July is a time of revelry, picnics, and fireworks in most parts of the country. But in the Bayview, it seems that year after year it's the unofficial start of gun violence season. It may be hyperbole to liken it to a movie like "The Purge", but the increased level of lawlessness around this time of year, the acceptance of it, and the seeming lack of will to stop it, seems like this is the direction we're heading.
Just look at the summertime news from this year and last:
June 23, 2013 - Two Shot in Bayview
June 24, 2013 - Man Shot and Killed at Bayview MUNI Stop
July 25, 2013 - Bayview Drive-by suspects busted
June 25, 2014 - Man Injured in Bayview Shooting
July 4, 2014 - Four Murdered in Multiple Shootings
July 10, 2014 - Man Identified in Tuesday night Bayview Shooting
July 22, 2014 - Elderly Woman Injured In Bayview Shooting
Of course there are more and more people who do good and are trying their damnedest to make a positive difference by opening businesses and providing worthwhile experiences for people in the community. But they are cut off at the knees by this apparent culture of acceptance that crime in the Bayview goes up in summer and there's nothing to be done about it.
I've heard people, including city officials, say some crazy things in response to community concerns over the recent shootings: "It's not too bad because it's only gang-bangers killing each other." "It'll die down after the summer is over - it always does." "The police like to take vacation in the summer, so we're short-staffed."
BRITE held a meeting this past weekend to discuss the violence with police captain O'Sullivan, but he couldn't make it - and sent a lieutenant in his place - because he couldn't get back in time from his vacation. Another community group held a townhall a week earlier on the same topic, a meeting that few knew about until five minutes before it started. Groups have recently protested at a Board of Supervisors meeting and on the steps of City Hall, calling on the Mayor and Supervisor Cohen to act.
Some in the community have told me that they believed our city's leadership had abdicated responsibility for working to fix the tough problems in the Bayview. Instead, the message residents and business owners got was that we should let the thugs kill themselves (and if a few old ladies and school children get in the way here and there, so be it). Clear out the bad apples in advance of the onslaught of new homeowners and renters who will change the face of the Bayview and drive out the problems without the city having to do much more than wait for it all to happen.
Today's announcement from Supervisor Cohen indicates that our city's elected officials and staff are listening and are ready to work, hopefully with ALL points of view, to come up with ideas and ways to work together to make some difficult decisions.
It's time we ALL stepped up to the challenge, because it's going to take every one of us to make things better.