When will V.I. leaders have the courage to stand up and end New Year's Eve gunfire?
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After experiencing the unprecedented gunfire in the downtown area of St. Thomas on New Year's Eve into New Year's Day, I intended to write a letter to The Daily News, but after reading the numerous letters in The Daily News on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013, on the same theme and talking with many other persons, it made me feel even more compelled to write in.
I attended the Vigil Mass at Ss. Peter and Paul Cathedral at 11 p.m. Dec. 31, 2012, with my children, and after mass ended at approximately 12:30 a.m. and as we and a church full of people were exiting the church and returning to our vehicles, gunfire erupted from the area of the Old Lottery building across from the USO and from the area behind the Windward Passage hotel.
I immediately told my children to get into the car and stay down as the gunfire was extremely close, which made them very concerned. I can only imagine how the other persons walking to their vehicles felt.
I immediately called 911, but a few moments later, as we were driving west past the Emile Griffith Ballpark, more gunfire erupted from the basketball court in the park. Silhouettes of individuals on the court could be seen.
Returning to work on Wednesday and talking about it with co-workers, I found that they had the same concerns about the level of gunfire this year. The wanton recklessness of some individuals has come to an all-time high. In the past, the gunfire has been in known trouble areas. Now it is happening in the open and on the streets with heavy pedestrian traffic.
This is something you would expect to see in the video news clips of war-torn areas of conflict in the Middle East showing persons in the streets randomly shooting guns. This, coupled with the total disregard for law enforcement, as demonstrated by the now common shooting attacks on uniformed police, should be a wakeup call for all government leaders and residents alike.
It is a blessing that no innocent persons were shot that night, but the direction this society is taking and the complacency of the citizens can only lead to total anarchy if nothing is done.
The question is: When will we stand up and take action?
- Mark Joseph, St. Thomas