Archive for December, 2008

Fire and Rain
December 31, 2008

Though I have the week off, email delivery does not.  So I check it.  And that’s how I learned of today’s press conference called by Miami-Dade commissioner Audrey Edmonson.

 

The headline is “No More Stray Bullets”.

 

I’m beginning to think “No More Stray Bullets” press conferences are mandated somewhere in the city charter, since this same gathering is scheduled with such pinpoint regularity.  Every New Year’s Eve and Fourth of July, reporters dutifully show up, take down and transmit the statements of the politicians, police and pastors who take turns at the microphone warning about and advising against shooting celebratory gunfire.  As in shooting up, shooting out, just shooting.  Whoo-Hoo!  Bang-Bang, Happy Happy.

 

(What ever happened to hats and horns?)

 

The politicians, police and pastors call for, plead for, implore those who have guns not to fire them off tonight (or on any fill-in-the-blank occasion).

 

Some of the faces at the biannual press conference change with elections, but the speeches remain the same.  And so do the apparent lack of results.

 

The man behind the years-old mission is actually Jerome Starling, a pastor in Liberty City, whose 5-year old niece Rickia Issac died on a sidewalk on her way home from the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day parade.  A randomly-fired bullet killed her.  

 

That was 1997, the year Miami police catalogued 50 bullets fired on New Years Eve in Rickia’s neighborhood.

 

One year ago, as 2007 went out with a bang, bullets fell.   In Plantation, resident Audley Eubanks was in the way.  He died.  In Miami, Corey Baker was in the way.  He died.  In Miami Gardens, 11-year old Kathleen Leon was in the way.  She lives.   

                                  

Police do not keep specific statistics on which victims of gunfire are targeted and which are just in the way celebratory bullets.  There are way too many of both.

Maybe sometime in ’09 they’ll edit the press release to say “No More Stray  Bullets, Period”, and announce new legal and/or social programs to help that happen.