In more than two years of bona fide residency in the City of Trenton, I have read my fair share of newspaper stories detailing heinous, heartless acts of violence that regularly occur on some of our city’s most broken streets.
One more was added to that story list on Sunday when a 13-year-old named Tamrah was shot in the head and killed during a drive-by attack on a Martin Luther King Boulevard block party in the historic North Ward.
It is amazing to me that such incidents seem commonplace in our torn urban landscape. That sense of amazement is matched only by the sense that comes when I see or hear of the official reaction from the city’s leadership.
Such incidents are greeted with the same indignation from the city government and officialdom and the same tired police responses. A TAC team will probably patrol MLK for a few weeks, maybe with some federal law enforcement assistance. City Council members will bang their fists on the dais in City Hall.
Yet these responses are the same as in the past, and have gotten us nowhere.
I think the ubiquity of such reactions betray what many have long suspected about the status quo in Trenton – while they decry the city’s problems and complain about outside forces, they do little to change the actual environment within many areas of the city.
Whether that’s because many are a product of such conditions or not, it does not mean the citizens who actually make up the city have to accept the murder of innocent children or constant malfeasance on the part of our officials as permanent features of Trenton.
Tamara’s murder, like those of previous children, should serve as a wakeup call that Trenton cannot and should not be allowed to continue on its present course.
I am not a miracle worker, but I think the tired responses of our leaders mean that what is needed is a serious shakeup in the makeup of the city fathers. More fist-banging, strong-yet-brief police action and continually stale ideas will only lead to more death.