Ten Homicides in 2010

Those of us always trying to convey the message to outside world about the Chelsea miracle are finding this a bit harder to do during this year of carnage.

Ten people have been murdered here during the year – and the year isn’t over, yet.

Young people have executed other young people with close-up gunshots. Others have been stabbed to death on sidewalks, strangled in their homes or run over with a car.

Altogether, the ten homicides represent one of the worst outbreaks of violent crime in this city in its entire history.

By comparison, last year there were no homicides.

In 2008, there were 3 – and at the time – that number seemed like a lot.

With ten homicides, the city has broken new ground, dangerous new ground at that.

Something about life has cheapened greatly for a great number of people who feel that homicidal violence is the way to go when it comes to settling a score.

Most of those murdered have been younger.

The murders, en masse have all been extremely violent (what murder isn’t?).

But this the new Chelsea.

This isn’t supposed to be happening here.

For so many years the city has been plagued by crime – but never by murders to this extent.

Ten homicides here is a tidal wave.

It is a tsunami.

At some point, it is going to cause a radical change in how the outside world looks at this city.

Last Friday, 24 hours before the tenth homicide took place, City Manager Jay Ash attended a private meeting with Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and others who were there for the specific reason to discuss violent, homicidal crime and what to do about it and how to stop it.

All the leaders agreed, I was told.

It is impossible to stop the kind of spontaneous, thoughtless, heartless, violent crimes that are occurring.

I have talked about this with Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes.

Like all of us, Kyes is horrified but the homicides which he finds incomprehensible.

“If we had 1,000 additional police officers patrolling our streets the insane violence we are trying to come to terms with could not have been prevented,” he said. “That’s how crazy this stretch of violence has been.”

Social scientists might well say that the homicidal violence is a condition that has become viral among those perpetrating the crimes.

How else to explain such a rash of murders?

Most people living in Chelsea or doing business here do not fear walking around the city’s streets.

This is so even after ten homicides.

But if the homicides continue stacking up into the New Year, this city’s reputation is going to badly suffer.

The irony in all this is that things are happening over which we have no control.

How do you stop a kid from stabbing another kid over nothing in the middle of the night?

How do you stop young people from breaking into an apartment and shooting to death three other young people over a grudge or a fight that took place earlier in the day?

How do we end the vicious cycle of homicidal violence?

If we knew how to do that, it would have been done months ago.

Let’s hope the New Year will bring an end to this proliferation of insane homicides.

Frankly, that’s about all that can be done right now.

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