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Where is the Rev. Al Sharpton and his dog-and-pony show when Queens needs him? In the last two weeks, there has been a bloodbath from Far Rockaway to Jackson Heights and the preacher cannot be found.
The violence left a 15-year-old girl and a 16-year-old boy dead. The girl, Brandon Bethea, was shot in the Redfern Houses. Brandon's parents moved out of the project so their daughter would be safe. She returned to visit friends.
Shortly after, five other people were shot five blocks away. Two days later, Tyrese Johnson was gunned down near the same intersection. Tyrese had been sent to live with family in North Carolina because his parents worried about his safety.
The situation has become so dangerous in Redfern that one resident told The New York Times, "We feel like mice. We can't even come out of our house without hearing somebody got shot or somebody got killed for somebody else's issues."
"We're scared to go outside. We're scared when it's nice, because that brings out the fools," said another.
Less than a week later, five people were gunned down on Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights at 11:40 a.m. Three were injured and two were grazed.
It appears most of the victims were innocent bystanders. Although these crimes are unsolved, it is likely these shootings were related to gang activity and drug sales. It is too easy in Queens for fools to get guns.
On the night of the Bell shooting, undercover cops worked in a seedy Queens strip club, risking their lives to stop drug and gun sales. Bell's death was tragic and the officers involved now rightly face departmental charges.
This kind of police work is needed. Just ask Brandon's and Tyrese's parents.
We did not see Rev. Al and the National Action Network comforting Brandon's and Tyrese's families. Sharpton has not led any marches down Roosevelt Avenue or organized vertical patrols of Redfern.
If he had, we might believe he cares about Queens violence that has grown so bad that some parents are sending their children to live in other states. It appears the reverend and NAN only show when it serves their political agenda.
Come back, Rev. Al, when you really care about Queens and the violence ripping some areas apart.
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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