Sobering Moments

I was going to finish a short piece about split tax rate, but the news of the third violent gun incident in a week in Lowell has turned my attention.

Each incident happened in a different Lowell neighborhood, and one of the incidents was fatal.

I feel it is disingenuous not to take a moment to reflect on this side of Lowell. Certainly, Aurora and I both feel safe walking and living downtown. Police do not believe the first two incidents were random (they believe perpetrator and victim knew one another), and I imagine the same is true for the third, if the pattern holds. In addition, it is good that nobody seems desensitized to these type of incidents. When something like this happens, Lowellians are angry. They’re angry that stray gunfire could injure or kill innocent bystanders. They’re angry that this casts a city with award-winning nonprofits, a thriving entrepreneurial scene, and great restaurants in a negative light. Of course, they’re angry for the victims and their families.

Even so, I am very distressed that members of the community feel so desperate or choiceless that they become involved with gangs or other high-risk activities, and it is harrowing that this leads to violence and, occasionally, death. However, violence is not a surprise to me, and I do not see it as a particularly Lowellian problem. Rather, I see it as an American problem: it distresses me that these incidents happen in good cities across the nation.

At times, it almost feels frivolous to write about restaurant experiences when such troubling events occur. However, I remind myself sharing news about local businesses, cultural events, and building community is one piece of the puzzle to eliminating the environment that produces violence. For example, Aurora recently wrote about the Merrimack Valley Time Bank. The childcare that a time bank member might offer to a mother or father might have an immeasurable impact on that child and parent’s life. Not only the service is important, but also the support network that comes along with that service.

Restaurants as meeting places, the city’s efforts in economic development, the efforts of the police to increase patrols and disrupt gangs: these all may potentially impact Lowell’s health as a community. It’s why we want to keep focus on them. We welcome your comments below or in facebook.

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