Chris Churchill: Gunfire mars a pleasing guarantee of spring

May 3, 2015 - Picnic Time


I wish to start this mainstay about a murdering in Albany with a small context.

Violent crime is down dramatically in a city. Over a past 9 years, a series of murders, rapes, robberies and assaults forsaken by 39 percent.

Even better, aroused crime in Jan and Feb was down an additional 15 percent compared to a same months final year, according to numbers available by a state.

Albany is safer. There’s no encountering that.

But all a statistics in a universe won’t make people feel safer in neighborhoods such as West Hill, where 21-year-old Latwan Hankins was gunned down Wednesday on a Livingston Park basketball court.

It was a picture-perfect open day — a kind of day that’s a only prerogative for creation it by another upstate winter. This winter, of course, was worse than usual, so it’s no warn that a park was tangled Wednesday with people who were enjoying comfortable atmosphere on unclothed skin.

The day betrothed a smashing summer nonetheless to come.

And afterwards shots rang out.

I don’t know how to report a chairman who would indicate a gun toward a swarming park. No word, positively not thug, seems oppressive enough. And no excuse, positively not poverty, is an excusable justification.

If we wish justification of a chilling outcome of violence, afterwards cruise what Livingston Park was like a day after a killing.

Thursday was also a pleasing day, though a children who would routinely be crawling over a park’s stadium were missing. In a center of a afternoon, a park was roughly wholly empty.

Eventually, Robin Crabtree arrived with her 4-year-old son, who rode his bike in circles on a wounded basketball court. Crabtree suspicion about gripping a child during home, she said, though a sun’s regard drew them out of their Livingston Avenue apartment.

Her son was shortly assimilated by Carmen Agron’s 6-year-old daughter, who sprinted opposite weed to a park’s playground.

Sitting during a cruise table, Agron pronounced she customarily stops during a park on comfortable days, since it’s a median indicate on a travel between her daughter’s propagandize and a family’s home. It’s a good partial of a day.

Agron hadn’t listened about a shooting.

“I was wondering because it was so empty,” she said.

Does she cruise a park safe?

“It depends what time it is,” Agron said. “If it’s during a day, afterwards yes.”

Agron remarkable a problems of a surrounding neighborhood, that is mostly black and poor. Of march those problems — autochthonous corrupt and recklessness — brief into a park.

And a assault won’t finish so prolonged as a corrupt and recklessness are ignored.

Hankins was a city’s initial carnage plant this year. Even with a dump in crime, he substantially won’t be a last. Albany had 8 homicides final year.

His blood was hardly cold before some Facebook pundits roughly gleefully began joining a murdering to a disturbance in Baltimore and a Albany protests that followed Donald Ivy’s death.

Where was a crowd, they asked, that so energetically denounced military violence?

Well, those people contingency have been happy to learn — or maybe they weren’t — that there were vigils and rallies designed for Livingston Park this weekend. Quieter protests, perhaps, though protests nonetheless.

Yes, a universe would be improved if any murdering brought marches by a streets. But a Facebook critics are blank a indicate by equating supervision assault opposite a adults with travel crime.

In Baltimore, a city mislaid or staid 102 lawsuits filed from 2011 to 2014 over military abuse that enclosed “head trauma, organ disaster and even death,” a Baltimore Sun has reported. The city paid out $5.7 million to victims, and roughly nothing were ever found guilty of a crime.

That systemic assault creates a annoy of a riots easier to understand. Nothing happens in a vacuum.

Hankins didn’t die in a vacuum, either. Inner-city children grow adult in a real-life chronicle of “The Hunger Games.”

Crime is down, yes, though killings are still visit adequate in Albany that there’s a predicted protocol that follows any one. It’s like everybody’s personification a part. It’s a liturgy, of sorts, that lasts until we spin a courtesy elsewhere.

On Thursday afternoon, radio news crews lined Livingston Park, so a unhappy sum could be reported “live from a scene.”

Hankin’s friends and family arrived to leave candles, balloons, dollar bills, cigars and flowers nearby where he was shot.

And tough immature group knelt before a commemorative and wiped divided tears. • 518-454-5442 • @chris_churchill

Contact Chris Churchill during 518-454-5442 or email

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