Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Lonesome Death of Shawrica Lester.

This week's Scene includes a heartbreaking take on the heartbreaking murder of Shawrica Lester. Shawrica was an innocent bystander killed during a gang shoot-out in an all-ages club parking lot. The cases against most of the gang member who fired the shots that killed her went south as witnesses recanted or refused to cooperate.

I've tried to write about the case before, but always ending up sounding like Bob Dyer's ill-advised "caveman" column. Having a better internal editor that Dyer, I always hit "delete" instead of "publish."

The article is pretty solid, focusing mostly on Shawrica's mother as she tries to move forward after an unspeakable loss and nearly equal injustice. The reporter also interviewed police and some of the neighborhood people. The hook for the story is that the gang involved -- the V-Nots -- ruthlessly implemented "Don't snitch" to keep most of their members out of jeopardy.

The one piece missing is the piece that has been missing throughout the story -- outrage in the larger black community. Shawrica was a young black woman with some promise who died senselessly. Blacks (and some far lefty whites) had no problem mobilizing over the dubious Demetrus Vinson shooting but have remained largely mute about this case. Sadly, mobilization among black conservatives is more occupied with gay baiting than affecting meaningful cultural change.

The culture that allowed Shawrica's killers to escape justice is eating away at cities like Akron. Unless respected leadership stands up and channels community energy toward changing that culture, thugs will continue to push out anyone who can leave until only a shell of a city remains. If Shawrica's death cannot prompt the necessary outrage, I fear nothing can.


Anonymous said...

It's a shame that the place we call home, the neighborhoods and communities we grew up in and took pride in can be tarnished by the stupidity of some individuals. The outcome of the case in my opinion was not nearly the way it should have ended. I watched my dearest friend go through the unimaginable. I still feel her heartache, and i see in her eyes the void were her baby was so cruelly snatched from her life. I wish that i could say i understand why, but i will never be able to get over the fact that everybody involved did not get their due justice. As always the world keeps turning no matter happens in our lives, but it's turning way too fast when the spolight is on the accused and not the victim

Anonymous said...

It's a new year, and we all have kept going on with our lives, working, taking care of our families, and striving to succeed. But still, no matter what, i will make it my business to acknowledge shawrica(tune-a) each chance i get. I really miss her,( the thumb in her mouth), and i get so mad sometime when i pass her picture! It's so unreal. I REMEMBER YOU, I MISS YOU, AND I LOVE YOU.......
Auntie JACCI