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Letter: Solutions to Gun Violence In Malden's Backyard

Resident Rachel Browns pens a letter regarding the recent shootings in the city.

The following letter was submitted to Malden Patch for publication.

There are so many wonderful things about living in Malden, Massachusetts. The cultural diversity of our city is, to me, the centerpiece of Malden’s laudable features. The rich tapestry of languages and cultures overlap in all of our public spaces. Our community events are well attended by a mosaic of people from differing social and economic locations, a veritable united nations represented. Our schools, most recently rated some of the best in the country, attract many students. And, oh yes, the escalating gun violence?

Woven within Malden’s landscape is the darker aura of crime and illegal activities that are, unfortunately, as distinct as all that is great. A simple walk to the T station is all one needs to see the desperate poverty, drug abuse and homelessness that exist here in our city. Without sounding glib, most cities consist of a portion of the population who are struggling, at least in the places where I have grown up. This is to me, an indication of a failed economy as well as the social malaise that has accompanied us throughout the millennia. However, this is not the problem in my mind.

When, as a mother of three-year-old twin boys, I am frightened for the safety of my family: this is the problem.

I am baffled by the horrendous disregard for human life that this summer’s violence has exposed: Drive-by shootings (merely hours apart) and an endless parade of helicopters, police sirens and gunfire. The gunfights in Malden where residents are dodging bullets, setting off on manhunts and of course our most recent shooting: a planned meeting between young teen boys in the break of day and in plain sight. one hooded boy shooting another while riding his bicycle in the early hours of the morning on a weekday.

This is the most discouraging criminal element of all.

Every community suffers crime, however, crime that occurs so blatantly, so comfortably in the middle of the morning amongst teenagers on a corner is what frightens this Malden resident the most.

Are we living in a place whose lack of legal limits and consequences are breeding this type of crime? And if so what can we do about this?

It was astounding to me that I was personally ushered out of the open spaces of my children’s preschool playground to avoid running into the perpetrator of the shooting.

To help my children avoid potentially being hurt? This is where we live? A place where we are frightened to take our children outside? A place where we are frightened to send our children to school?  

I hope not.

Malden is capable of being so much better than this, I cannot help but think that are solutions that need to be in place, and that we, as a city, need to project a climate of intolerance to the gun violence that is being perpetrated on the people of this city. The Mayor along with governmental support, need to make Malden an inhospitable environment for guns and the people who wield them. A tougher and more visible police presence and a community dedicated to creating safe spaces for families and individuals proud to call Malden their home.

I have to believe that there are solutions to the mounting gun violence right here in our backyard, I have to think that this matters not only to me, to my neighbors, but to the people in charge. What else needs to happen for this to be a priority?

Rachel Brown
Malden 

Michael Victor September 14, 2012 at 02:22 AM
Very nice letter to express how many of us feel. You are in the majority. I am pretty sure most agree that the system is too lenient on the criminals and there are bigger root problems but lets start with that. Judges are to lenient. How many agree with that as they sit there? So how do we get more judges who are not lenient? Is it progressive or conservative judges who are lenient with criminals? If you are honest with yourself you know the answer. So who appoints those judges Democrats or Republicans? I am a Democrat and I know the answer to this and so do you. So we in the Cities can complain all we want but you all know we will keep voting for the same people. So then the only solutions is to ask the people we elect to take themselves off the hook and make judges be elected by the people. YOu do that and I guarantee if they are looking at an election every four years they will lock a lot more of these dirt bags up for a long time. I know its not going to happen the only other solution is to start voting for the other party. Never going to happen in MA but just saying anybody who thinks about it knows its true
Steve September 15, 2012 at 01:18 AM
We are selling and getting out Malden is beyond repair there is no community here.Going to the supermarket proves this most people are nasty loud and obnoxious (Its all about ME ME ME!)and this is what they teach their kids.The parents have no respect for the elderly or authority themselves so what do U expect from their kids?Good Riddance Malden the worst place to live or raise ur kids what a joke cant wait till ur a dot in my rearview mirror and as far as the politicians and police in this town are concerned Grow some balls and have a backbone sellouts!
Karin Barrett September 15, 2012 at 11:52 AM
Wonderfully written... I grew up in Malden, and left 2 yrs ago, I have two grown children one of which still lives in the West end... I also have an 8 yr old Boy, it broke my heart to leave Malden. I didnt leave because of the violence ( even though my son endured one lock-down at the Forestdale school) . I now live in Reading, and I thank God everyday that I got him out of Malden. But I have Many many Family and Friends who still live there... and I find myself checking the news everyday to see what else has happen.... Very Sad! Malden used to be a wonderful city :(
Pat W September 15, 2012 at 01:36 PM
Good info, all these things help with community involvement . These are all anonymous tips that go a long way to helping our city regain it's pride.
Nick Wright September 16, 2012 at 04:17 AM
Here's the running theme of this thread - "I can't wait to move!" "I'm so glad I moved!" "Malden is beyond repair, I'm out of here!" Thanks for your support, folks. Don't let the door hit you on your way out. It's good to know that when the going gets tough, your neighbors flee while sabotaging your property value in the process. Thanks again.
david mokal September 16, 2012 at 07:42 PM
HEY !!!! Wait for me! Remember the song by the Animals "We Got To Get OUT Of This Place!"
mats September 16, 2012 at 08:58 PM
What would you do if a certain "element" walked into your neighborhood, took it over and did whatever they wanted to do without regard or respect to anyone around them? Would you want to flee? Did everything possible to no avail...last thing I want to do is tear my kids from their roots, their friends, their home, but after all that has transpired in my "neighborhood" (ha, not) there is no choice but to flee
mats September 16, 2012 at 09:07 PM
as far as property values - already down thanks to absentee landlords who do NOTHING to make their properties presentable or updated, not to mention and for many years not even clean ...FORGET about the renters who live there - it's not their house so they dont' give a damn what it looks like as long as the rent is paid or half paid or free or whatever it might be.
Mr Iamnottheteacher September 17, 2012 at 02:30 AM
I blame the schools for not being proactive when they see a student start to turn sour.
mats September 17, 2012 at 01:53 PM
Their are so many kids teachers must deal with and in a city like this do you expect a teacher to be on alert for 10 kids per classroom when there are at least 30? You'd have 80 kids per grade sitting in detention every day...where's the manpower for that with teachers being cut constantly? It's up to the PARENTS...if they're not taught early on to have respect for others then this is the end result.
mats September 17, 2012 at 01:56 PM
You cannot blame the mayor, the police, the teachers...IT STARTS AT HOME...
whatsup September 17, 2012 at 02:01 PM
Yes, absolutely, it Starts at home. But there are homes ( and low income rentals ) where it never Starts, where kids never gets the opportunity to differentiate between right and wrong, hence the need for teachers where teach It schools; and a environment where crime is punished; and an administration that makes sure that happens.
Dameian Bossarte September 17, 2012 at 02:10 PM
stop yelling at me, you're hurting my feelings. :'(
mats September 17, 2012 at 04:47 PM
we were afraid of hell, authority figures, parents, and damnation, this element seems to be afraid of nothing
Mark Lawhorne September 17, 2012 at 04:49 PM
It definitely starts at home, however some of the kids are victims of generations of bad habits and living. If we can affect change in schools we should try. I also agree that we need the courts to be tougher and smarter on sentencing, although Im not sure how the Mayor's administration can mandate that. I dont blame anyone that decides to move on for fear of the safety of their children- thats their right. I choose to stay in Malden and fight for a city that I love and hope to restore. Im was glad to see the Mayor get all "Boots on the Ground" to help out. Lets keep this type of presence seen and active. Please join Malden Rotary in seeking to formulate a community response to the violence. Just a thought.... It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men. --Frederick Douglass
Jackie Bouley September 17, 2012 at 06:26 PM
EVERY FAMILY HAS PROBLEMS! "Bathing in money" isn't the exception to that rule. Raising your children to have respect and good values make a family stronger. The unfortunate children that are born to parents who don't live by these rules can get lost in the shuffle, but many of them grow up to be successful members of society. This is in thanks to the numerous community volunteers and programs that are resourceful to these children. Those who do not volunteer their time are truly missing out on the benefits of making a difference. It's sad that some think it isn't worth it.
Steve September 19, 2012 at 10:20 AM
Hey Nick Wright ur totally wrong by the time u realize its time to go ur property won't be worth a damn then ull be stuck here!Go tell the residents in Roxbury to fix their city too.Malden is done face reality I got one word for ya Titanic!Ur welcome for the Great advice!
Anabette D'Entremont October 10, 2012 at 04:04 PM
MALDEN STILL IS A WONDERFUL CITY! Every city has there probems, but to be honest, people act like this doesnt happen in other places. There are drugs in Melrose, do people see that, doubt it, there are drugs in Reading do you see that nope...Malden isnt the only city that has problems, it is every where. I am happy I lived in Malden (and still do) my entire life. I am happy to say that I am a resident because the bad should not represent the city as a whole. What about the HUGE special needs program Malden has, that MOST cities may have, but it is not that big? Malden has SOOO many good thing, the few bad things seem to just blow them away in some people's minds. I dont get how you dont see everything that is so good. The new youth center, all the programs for special needs (Challenger League, the Unified Sports, all the Malden High Clubs that support different causes. The Breast Cancer Awareness, the Sparrow Club, the Helping Hands Club, etc... all do wonderful things. So next time you want to say Malden "used" to be a wonderful city, start by looking at THE NUMEROUS things that you apparently are leaving out. Honestly all of you are leaving out. Malden has made me the strong, independent person that I am. I am a proud graduate of the class of Malden High School Class of 2012. I will be returning to visit because I love the city that much.
Anabette D'Entremont October 10, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Excuse me...do you even know what you are talking about. The school system is doing SO much, there are soo many clubs offered to the children, there will be so many things that kids could get involved in. The teachers strongly encourage these. There is the new youth center. There are events everywhere so apparently you must know nothing about the school system. Do you know most schools, you have to pay for sports in high school, Malden is among the schools you do NOT have to pay that makes it so much easier for kids to get involved in them. The schools do everything that they possible can. They cant put the kids on lockdown. The parents and family pay a large role in the matter too.
Anabette D'Entremont October 10, 2012 at 04:09 PM
exactly.
Anabette D'Entremont October 10, 2012 at 04:12 PM
MALDEN IS NOT DONE. Do you even know what you are talking about? It makes me very upset when people ignore all the good that the city does. Malden is not a bad city. Either you live in a box or you are blindsided by what you hear. Malden has so many more positive than the negatives. I cant believe you dont see all the good things Malden has.
Tracy January 09, 2013 at 06:52 PM
Malden does have positives, but the negatives are over shadowing this city. Take a look at the city data for Malden: http://www.city-data.com/city/Malden-Massachusetts.html We have one of the highest crime rates in the state and still no pliable solution to this growing issue. If I was looking for a safe place to live and bring up my kids based on this data I wouldnt give Malden a second look. Also everytime Malden is in the news for violence real estate values drop another notch.... So now the question... why is Malden's crime rate so high compared to Wakefield, Melrose ect. Is it tied to Home values, the MBTA stations, lack of Police awareness,..just questions Iwould like others to chime in on...Thx.
Tracy January 09, 2013 at 08:38 PM
Good point, I also think the Orange line ruined this city as well. Look at the thugs that hang in our city strolling off the downtown line. it's easy access...low rents, low real estate and an overflow of appartment buildings waiting for more section 8 occupants. Take a drive through the city any given night.. you won't see a cop car in sight, that's a huge problem which gives these people more than enough time to commit whatever crime they want. I'm not dissing the cops but what are they doing during peak times when these crimes are taken place?
mg January 09, 2013 at 10:55 PM
My property value has gone up.
mg January 09, 2013 at 10:56 PM
Malden's crime rate compared to Wakefield and Melrose? Come on Tracy, I know you are not that obtuse. Comparing Melrose and Malden, okay, it's *close* but not really, but Malden and Wakefield? They're not comparable. Just look at the demographics.
mg January 09, 2013 at 11:01 PM
Tracy, that's insanity. The Orange line is used by tens of thousands of commuters every day that aren't "thugs". I do agree with you on the lack of police presence... I am hoping that gets resolved as more officers are added, the current force is just way overworked for the size of this city.
Tracy January 10, 2013 at 03:49 PM
Glad yours went up mine went down this month. .The point I'm making is they are still close enough yet not close in percentage of crimes, so what makes them so different?
Jay Cooper May 16, 2013 at 05:11 PM
The Foreigners Ruined the city just like many surrounding communities.....you move to a white community and not have all these issues but white communities are becoming rarer and rarer until we solve our immigration issues we have no hope of having a safe anywhere in the United States......
Jay Cooper May 16, 2013 at 05:14 PM
no one wants to say it but thats the truth,White kids get lured into the life style because they are taught being white isn't cool and they emulate what they here in rap music and see on Television.....Spare me the we are all immigrants and this happens everywhere blah blah blah,we have a different caliber of immigrant nowadays,they are from the third world not the first and their whole life they have been focused on survival not prosperity,that mentality has come along with them and destroyed our neighborhoods and communities....
Bonnie Parker May 17, 2013 at 01:15 AM
May your daughters date them.

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