crime scene

How murder tears families apart

I’LL NEVER forget the night my wife and I walked out of Einstein Hospital after visiting a sick family member and found a couple we knew outside the emergency room. They were standing in the cold January air, holding each other and crying because a family member had been murdered.

I couldn’t imagine the grief they were experiencing. My offer of prayer felt hollow, but it was all I had to give.

RIP happy hollow gtown basketball ct -2029

Happy Hollow Playground; Philadelphia PA (Photo by Tieshka Smith)

As of January 16, there have been 15 murders in Philadelphia, including that couples’ loved one. That’s a 42 percent drop from this time last year, according to police statistics. Still, 15 homicides is almost one per day.

Fifteen. It seems like such a small number, but suppose one those 15 victims was your father or your son. Suppose you were the one standing outside an emergency room and trying to accept the finality, the cruelty, and the pain. Suppose one of those 15 was someone you loved. Would the number still seem small? Or would it seem insurmountable?

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(Learn more about photographer Tieshka Smith. Crime Scene photo by Canstockphoto)

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This commentary is so desperately needed, Solomon, because like you said, we’re all affected, directly, or indirectly, by the homicide rate and the growing number of young Black men who are incarcerated. Our young men need to be able to talk about how these losses affect them as well. We can do our part to amplify their voices, but all of us must soften our hearts and listen to what they have to say as well.