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Local opinion columnists

Let’s stop Fairfield’s future thugs

By From page A11 | April 17, 2014

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]

Kelvin Wade

Kelvin Wade


Discussion | 26 comments

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  • Former FF ResidentApril 17, 2014 - 2:39 am


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  • TRUEApril 17, 2014 - 9:53 pm

    Absolutely!!! Some should have to after having a certain amount of kids and haven't done anything with them or their life! After 2, and you are still on state assistance----sterilize em!

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  • TRUEApril 17, 2014 - 10:04 pm

    My mom left me and my brothers when I was 5 yrs old. I was molested by an adult and then raped when I was 12.... I had a major spinal injury and then was diagnosed with a rare illness. I faced a lot of adversity and everything in my life was challenging. We had no money growing up and sometimes did not know what we would eat or when our next meal would be. Often times, I did not even have a pair of panties as a child or even matching socks to wear under my hand me down clothes to school. I grew up around violence and abuse. Nobody in my family had a college degree much less a high school diploma. However, I managed to go to college, become a professional in a respectable career, and go on to get my graduate degree. I made a few wrong choices in my life but the difference is that I learned from them! Where is the accountability? Stop blaming everyone else for your problems. There is too much time on peoples hands...maybe Fairfield needs to instill a curfew for awhile for anyone under the age of 18 or 21. Maybe Fairfield needs to focus on building more businesses, better housing, limit section 8 and repair these horrible schools. The community should come together and stand up, we aren't going to take this bull crap anymore. The funny thing is too, not being racist at all but people are always saying there needs to be less racism and -prejudice. But, I hate to say it---black people are killing their own people!!!!! Duh..... so maybe the black people need to stand up and say, let us stop acting like fools! Too many time on peoples hands...get a job, hobby and anything!!!!! There is always going to be a Malcolm and that is very said....there is also a little Bobbie junior out there too. It doesn't matter what race you are, everyone faces some sort of adversity in their life! It is up to the person to be responsible and accountable for your own actions. It is also up to our schools to help these children and educate them on a better life...up to our social system to reach out to the community. And, up to the community to put a stop to it!!!!

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  • Tax PayerApril 17, 2014 - 5:21 am

    Kelvin, you articles always are so truthful. This is the truth and this type of behavior will not stop until the role of parents improves. Unfortunately I do not see that happening soon. People make decisions. Government interaction with money and programs does very little to change their decisions. Please keep writing the truth!

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  • 2realApril 17, 2014 - 6:40 am

    Babies having babies doesnt work. I grew up without a father figure and early on i was destined for death or prison. Mom had to work and leave seven kids home to raise themselves. I was a malcolm. I had started my family when i was 18. She was 15. Now its many years later. We are married, have more children. I work full time to put a roof over their head. Believe me i could have went either way in life. Thank god i have a good head on my shoulders. Point of the story is, it all starts with the father, period.

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  • CD BrooksApril 17, 2014 - 6:43 am

    Kelvin, this is excellent and presents a view many have never considered. There are those moms and dads that had a hard life and feel like they don't deserve the burden placed upon them. There is no excuse for their behavior other than resentment and a blueprint presented them in much the same way. But the child suffers. And the community suffers as well. We are not all born with the same opportunities. We are not all born into the best of circumstances. But we are all born knowing nothing and depend upon responsible people to show us the way. I always say it comes down to proper parenting with unending follow-up and support, some don't agree. Sorry to hear that.

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  • lorieApril 17, 2014 - 8:53 am

    This is so true. We need our men to step up. We need our communities to step up. I had three children it was hard trying to be the provider, the disciplinarian, and both parents in one while trying ALSO to be their guide and confidant. It was too many roles too carry and caused many hardships and trials especially for the children boys. They needed a man as well

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  • LilApril 17, 2014 - 9:38 am

    I half agree. But you are leaving out women. Women need to step up. Don't have sex with men you know are going to desert you or be absent to your kids. Don't have sex until you are in a position in life to make sure you can take care of your kids. Don't have sex until you finish high school. Don't have sex until you are in a committed relationship and you know the character of the man with whom you are sleeping. If the guy approaches you with a thug attitude, don't sleep with him. He will not be a good provider for your children. If you know a guy already has kids with other women, don't get involved with him. Don't have sex with a guy who is in and out of prison, does drugs, robs and steals. Don't have sex with a guy who is carrying a gun or who hangs with other guys carrying guns. Why would you want somebody like that to be the father of your child? Sometimes I hear about deadbeat dads with multiple baby mamas and I always wonder what idiot woman slept with that man!

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  • Book SuggestionApril 17, 2014 - 8:56 am

    So You Want to Raise a Boy? Hardcover by W Cleon Skousen

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  • Rich GiddensApril 17, 2014 - 9:44 am

    I know----lets stage a publicity stunt crime conference and call the news media to show were ''doing something''! Let's spend more on welfare and then to counterbalance all the single parent ''families'' we will spend more on overpaid cop and DA thugs with loathsome Judges too! Yeah, that's the ticket California.

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  • EdwinApril 17, 2014 - 10:19 am

    So your solution is...what? I grew up in Fairfield, saw plenty of police chances, shoot outs, robberies and other things, sometimes even while school. I don't see the point in trying to make "Malcolms" sympathetic. Some people fall into a life a crime and we're then told "It's societies fault, he was just a little boy", but what about all those that didn't? What about Malcolms brother or sister or didn't feed into that destructive system and managed to do something positive? I grew up down the street from my best friend in grade school. His mom was a baby sitter, his dad was a manager for some construction company. We went to different middle schools, and in freshman year of highschool, he had joined a gang, started doing drugs, got suspended from school dropped off the face of the earth a few years later. He had a good home, good family, good everything but he MADE that choice. It doesn't matter what your environment growing up is like. It's a choice you make, some people are evil, some get swayed by evil and then return to normal, and some don't. Using a Malcolm is just a way of saying "Don't blame the kid, blame everything else" when he had choices and rather than stand up for something, took the easy way out, but yes, let's continue blaming the town for the evil and not the people that do it, it's worked out SO well to make Fairfield the town it is today.

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  • Salty DogApril 17, 2014 - 10:49 am

    Come on Kelvin you ask what we can do about this story of fiction you wrote, but you have no answer to the question you asked. I ask you the same question What do we need to do to change the course? WE need to hold the parents the mom and dad and the Malcoms of the world accountable for their actions. WE need to put Jesus back in the classrooms we need to do away with political correctness. Because the only way to change a persons heart is through the love of Jesus Christ. So once again how would you help change the course

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  • CD BrooksApril 17, 2014 - 12:02 pm

    Salty Dog, I like Edwin's comment because it is says a lot about personal responsibility. There are so many variables and it seems some just can't turn the corner. As far as your Jesus suggestion, I'd say no need to muddle up education with that mess. I have done very well and my family has done very well without it in our lives. If you want religion go to church.

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  • Salty DogApril 17, 2014 - 3:50 pm

    CD Why not come to the BBQ @ parkway Gardens put on by The Community Group Break The Cycle and Liberty Church. Don't just stand by and do nothing come and see just what the love of Jesus Christ can do.

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  • Danny BuntinApril 17, 2014 - 4:01 pm

    Why not have Jesus show up himself?

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  • CD BrooksApril 17, 2014 - 5:37 pm

    Salty Dog, I appreciate the invite but those type events are not for me. I know your heart is in the right place.

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  • Jason KnowlesApril 17, 2014 - 4:13 pm

    Dog, I know for a fact that most of these thugs and teen moms DO go to church. I've taught many of them in the 10 years I taught in FSUSD. Religion is not the answer or the problem. Education is the answer.

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  • KelvinApril 17, 2014 - 11:10 am

    Thank you all for reading. The Malcolms of this world aren't sympathetic once they committed a crime. That's the point: I've talked to City Council members and Police Chief Tibbet and they all say we can't arrest our way out of this problem. You have to have strong enforcement,. You have to have witnesses willing to come forward. But the other component is you have to intervene early to help change a kid's path. The story I wrote stems from reality. These are the things that are going on in various neighborhoods. You can't just get-tough, hire more officers, sit back and expect them to solve it. Deon Price has been working with at risk kids for years. There are local churches that are involved. The City council and former city managers have spent their own money and have gone into these neighborhoods trying to help these kids before they grow up and hurt us. This is only one column of many.

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  • Wonderer WonderingApril 17, 2014 - 11:43 am

    Let me ask these questions; "Why are the sperm donars never held accountable for their donations?" The young women and men continue to have sex without protection "why?" Did sex education classes stop? What would happen if DNA is established at birth and both parents share custody under family court supervision with parenting classes required.? My concern is with Malcolm. Should his American rights be violated bynparents that are inadequate, a community that is uncaring, a state spending $63,000. Per prisoner and $7000 per student and a country more interested in global control than helping the newest citizens.

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  • George S. HarlessApril 17, 2014 - 12:36 pm

    I do feel for the Malcolms of the world but I, like many others, am doing good just to raise my own family. The child shouldn't have to suffer because of a mother who chooses to have 9-10 kids by 6-7 different dead beat "dads". The child shouldn't have to suffer because his "parents" are drug addicts or alcoholics or because his parents simply lack the capacity to understand family. These children do have a chance to make it but it is a very slim chance. Maybe if the parents were held responsible for the crimes committed by the children they chose to bring into the world it would force them to show some kind of interest in their children. It's sad that when these children commit a crime is when they have to learn about being held accountable.

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  • Salty DogApril 17, 2014 - 3:45 pm

    If any one is interested their will be a bbq at parkway Gardens put on by the city sponsored community group Break The Cycle and Liberty Church @5:30pm 135 DEL Paso Ct. If you want to get involved and help stop by, The dress is casual lets show the residents that their are people in Fairfield that care about them. Help Liberty Church spread the love of Jesus Christ to the residents of Parkway Gardens

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  • I know in some of my aspects that I am a Hypocrite....April 17, 2014 - 7:35 pm

    but... you know it never occurred to me until years and years later.... before dating, bedding or even marrying someone... consider this if this "union" results in making a baby, would I want this person as the father or mother of my child... in other words do not "union" with anyone you would not consider as the father or mother of your child..... I thought that all parents beat their children secretly and that it was not unusual for men to r*pe their children, you just were not supposed to talk about it..... You only know what you live with... If you never get to see what a nice family is, you just do not know. I imagine it is the same growing up in the drug culture... and you tend to stay with like kind, cause that is the environment that you know.... Society breaks down with out morals and living by the 10 Commandments.... and remember girls, guys are hormonally driven and are just looking for a warm place to put it... they do not really care about you...

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  • TRUEApril 17, 2014 - 9:45 pm

    true very true

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  • JagApril 17, 2014 - 8:55 pm

    I work in San Francisco and it is amazing it such a bad economy how fast they are building these high rise apartments, San Francisco is going into these old neighborhoods and rebuilding them as fast as they can and where are the poor going? To Vallejo and Fairfield ware it is more affordable, If Fairfield wants to stop it they too need to build less affordable housing and keep pushing the poor up towards Sacramento. Heartless? Yes it is but it’s the truth

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  • paulApril 18, 2014 - 10:13 am

    Good morning I was born and raised in Fairfield till i moved to vacaville in 2000. I have fond memories of THE GOOD OLE DAYS as we refer them now. I too am so very disappointed in to what Fairfield has become ... I hope for all that a corrective path can be found ...sooner than later

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  • SharkeishaApril 18, 2014 - 10:44 am

    This story is racist and stereotypical. This is Fairfield, not Oakland, not Harlem, not Detroit. Get out of fairyland and do something.

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