“But not in my neighborhood” is the all too familiar phrase we hear folks utter when killings happen just around their corner.
4-year-old Salvador Esparza III was visiting Altadena from his home in Monrovia, just a short easterly drive down the 210 freeway, when a bullet to his head prevented him from taking that short drive back home.
Just a few blocks from my house stands a continuously growing memorial for a small kid shot by an assailant who walked up to the house and fired a gun.
“Not in my neighborhood” – I’ve never uttered that phrase because it happens everywhere.
Scared, now, to walk my streets? One neighborhood interviewee said he no longer feels safe.
On a daily basis, violent America produces fewer and fewer safe places. So my streets are simply in keeping with America’s growing nightmare.
Are there any safe streets? Any safe neighborhoods? Any safe front porches like the one where the young child was shot dead?
Salvador Esparza III was just a silly little kid with dreams, toys and maybe even a pet back home in Monrovia.
He had friends he played with and had a family who loved him, none of whom would have ever imagined he wouldn’t get to bed and to sleep that fatal Tuesday night.
He was my kid, your kid; everyone’s kid.
The shooter? He too was our kid. And there’s something we’ve all missed when it comes to agonizing over these “not in my neighborhood” killings.
Early investigative reports indicate the killer lived in the neighborhood. Reports also make mention of past trouble at the Altadena residence where the shooting occurred.
Are we all too busy to make our neighborhoods better places? What about the lifestyles of some of our neighbors that we know are troublesome?
How many more Salvador Esparzas are we going to make memorials for before we determine it’s time for us to help stop the killings?