Last week, in the latest city violence, a man was shot and killed. When the article posted on the Daily Republic website, most comments celebrated the death, pegging the deceased as a troublemaker.
Fairfielders are tired of the violence. Some residents are moving away. Some speculate that maybe our reputation for crimes motivates businesses to bypass us for Vacaville. But everyone wants to know what we’re doing to stop these shootings.
Some of those answers should come when a meeting takes place at 6 p.m. April 29 at Willow Hall at the Community Center. Police Chief Walt Tibbet and others will be there to answer questions and discuss what police are doing to combat crime.
While it’s important to know what we’re doing right now to make Fairfield safer, we also need to look to the future.
Imagine that there’s a little 8-year-old boy named Malcolm, who lives with his 22-year-old mother and a 2-year-old little brother in Section 8 housing in an area known for high crime. He’s never known his father and his mother tells him that his daddy is no good and in jail.
Malcolm doesn’t do well in school. The teacher spends as much time dealing with rowdy kids as she does teaching. But Malcolm was never prepared to start school anyway. His mother never read to him because she didn’t read well herself. So consequently he doesn’t usually do the assigned homework. When report cards come out and he’s earned poor marks, his mother flies down to the school to read the teacher the riot act.
Malcolm and his friends sometimes play games on a cellphone one of the older kids in the neighborhood gave them. All they had to do in exchange was notify him whenever they saw a Fairfield police car enter the neighborhood.
Sometimes the older kids even give him a few dollars, but he never manages to keep it. His mother confiscates it.
On weekends, it’s even crazier in the neighborhood with more cars with trunks open booming music with people hanging out drinking, smoking and dealing drugs. Sometimes fights break out and Malcolm and his younger brother run home in terror.
It’s not unusual for he and his brother to hit the floor when they hear loud pops outside. Later they play with the crime scene tape and act out drive-by shootings with squirt guns.
His dinners usually come out of a can or box. That is, until toward the end of the month when the refrigerator sits empty.
By the time Malcolm is in junior high, he’s selling drugs after school. He gives his little brother a few dollars to watch out for police for him. Now when fights break out, he doesn’t flinch. He just pulls out a cellphone and films it so he and his friends can laugh about it later while sharing a bottle of liquor and smoking trees.
In July 2023, Malcolm will lean out the window of his friend Tom’s car with a Glock 41 aiming at an “enemy” at Allan Witt Park. His shots will miss his target and one bullet will strike your daughter in the head.
While this story is fiction, we know that there are Malcolms out there. What do we do now to help change their course? Peace.
Kelvin Wade is the author of “Morsels” Vols. I and II and lives in Fairfield. Email him at [email protected]