Stray Bullet Hits Six-Year-Old in the Head in Oakland

Stray bullet hits girl in head in Oakland drive-by shooting

Do you know any six-year-olds?

I do.

My son William is six years old.

And William is the most carefree person in the world. He’s kind to everyone he meets. He’s in kindergarten. Watching William walk up to someone on one of our walks and asking them if he can pet their dog is just beautiful. Hearing about his day in kindergarten, about the words that he’s learning to spell. When I come home William is always thrilled to see me. He wants to know if he can come swimming at the pool with me. He knows that my favorite thing to eat in the world is a Tommy’s cheeseburger and he asks me over and over again what my favorite thing to eat is. When I say a Tommy’s cheeseburger he says it’s his favorite thing to eat too. Then William asks me my favorite color. When I say “green,” he says his favorite color is green too.

Do you know a six-year-old? They are the most amazing creatures.

Now imagine that six-year-old that you know and imagine how you’d feel if you learned that a bullet ripped through their head while they were sleeping last night. Does that make you mad? Because it makes me mad. It makes me really mad.

And that’s what happened last night in Oakland on the 8200 block of MacArthur Blvd. A little girl sleeping in her bed had a stray bullet rip through her head. She’s in critical condition.

This isn’t the first time that this has happened in Oakland. Month before last I blogged about another stray bullet that paralyzed a 10-year-old at a music school by my house. It happens all the time in Oakland actually.

Oakland’s gotten so bad that social workers don’t want to go visit the kids that they are supposed to look after anymore.

Chip Johnson over at the Chronicle, who has been doing an excellent job chronicling the violence of Oakland has an interview with an Oakland woman who puts it this way:

“I get my baby around 5:30, and after that, I don’t go out,” she said. “I stopped going to choir rehearsals and Bible study for fear of what I’d find when I came home.

“I’ve had neighbors call to say I couldn’t come home because they’ve been shooting outside and the street is roped off,” she said. “The kids want to ride bikes and play outside, but I have to keep them in the house because I don’t want them getting shot.

“The (security) gate has been broken so many times that (the housing authority) said they wouldn’t fix it again. There’s supposed to be security here, but there’s no security, period.”

But you aren’t even safe in your own home. Even in your own home a stray bullet can come whizzing through the wall hitting your precious little six-year-old girl in the head.

And what is being done about the violence in Oakland. Still largely nothing. Our soft on crime do nothing mayor Ron Dellums refuses to address the issue. While giving lip service to the need for more cops Dellums skirts the more delicate political issue, illegal guns on the streets of Oakland.

Do you know what happens when you’re caught with an illegal gun on the streets of Oakland? Pretty much nothing. Slap on the wrist maybe. Yeah, you’ll get arrested. But not likely much more.

But rather than sound the alarm for the need for harsher prison sentences Dellums blames Bush and hides his head in the sand hoping that the problem will go away.

Dellums needs to declare “War on Guns” in Oakland. We all need to really. We need to insist that people found with illegal guns don’t get a slap on the wrist but that they spend 10 years, 20 years, 30 years or more in jail.

All violence is bad. But violence with a knife generally speaking doesn’t result in stray bullets hitting six-year-olds. This violence has to stop. And until criminals get the message that an illegal gun will send them away for a very very very long time, they will still carry them around being the tough guy gangsters that they are. They’ll show them off to their friends and shoot at the rival drug dealer on their corner and worst of all, they will continue hitting little girls in the head with stray bullets.

The violence is senseless and nobody has the balls to talk about the criminal gun problem or what we ought to be doing about it.

Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums is in a very visible position to address the problem but he does nothing. He campaigns for Hillarious Clinton’s losing campaign as her advisor on Urban Issues or something like that while children are gunned down on the streets of Oakland.

Something must be done. Trust me, you’d want something done if the stray bullet in that gun hit the six-year-old that you know and love. How come we can have a “War on Terror” thousands of miles away, but we can’t have a “War on Guns” when guns are creating real terror right here in our own backyard?

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6 Comments

  1. simonking says:

    Perhaps one of the problems is the overcrowding of the jails. Criminals who commit serious crimes and are given long sentences are released early to make space for other incoming inmates.

    The government should increase inmate work groups. They should build prisons in the mid-west, ship the prisoners to farms, and make them work with no to little pay.

    Why should the law abiding American people pay for the mistakes of these criminals? The problem is that if work conditions get really bad the ACLU steps in and starts suing the government. However, a smart economist might find a way to motivate these inmates to work for reduced wages. A delicate balance must be met then by offering enough incentives to motivate the inmates to work and the cost of the prison cell for the American people. I concur longer sentences would be beneficial, especially for violent crimes.

    Also, non-monetary incentives could be used to motivate the inmates to join these work groups (i.e. solitary confinement, loss of priveldges, OR…perhaps increasing the sentence of people who refuse to work might be another motivator).

    Lower standards for the death penalty might be another method to deal with this problem….Just a few thoughts.

    Simon King

    http://simonking3.blogspot.com

  2. Bryan says:

    How about a big, grassroots, public awareness campaign that is comprised of photos of the effects that this gun violence is having on Oakland? Hundreds of photo bloggers; photos of the victims, broken security gates on public housing communities, childless neighborhood streets, families hiding in their homes, bullet-holed cars; all these photos emailed to government officials, newspapers, and community groups. Let’s not overlook the power of the photo, as evidenced by the recent Pulitzer winning “photograph of a Japanese videographer, sprawled on the pavement, fatally wounded during a street demonstration in Myanmar.” We got plenty of that in America’s urban streets–let’s capture those images and do something them, the very least we can do for the victims.

  3. Mark says:

    Although I can’t relate to that kind of situation, I can surely sympathize. I have my own 6 year old, and I can’t even imagine anything like that happening to her. I think your last sentence says it all.

  4. Sounds like what is needed is not a “War on guns” but a “War on _illegal_ guns” or better yet, a “War on criminals”.

    As you pointed out, criminals already flout the existing laws that are supposed to keep guns out of their hands More laws won’t change anything for them but would affect the lives & health of law abiding citizens who have to rely on themselves for protection when the police can’t or won’t help.

    Possession of a firearm by a convicted criminal is a felony, I know I once sat on a jury where an ex-con was caught with a gun (it was his third strike (more like 10th but the 3 strikes law was new at the time) and we sent the loser away for good.

  5. Wow, sounds like pretty soon you’re going to need one of these to feel safe sleeping at night. That’s pretty sad.

  6. Anonymous says:

    “we sent the loser away for good”.
    “Lower standards for the death penalty”.
    “Solitary confinement”.
    Increasing sentences….
    Oh dear – I hope you enjoy you ever worsening social relations and your increased need to feel like you have to carry a gun.