Wednesday, March 24, 2010

More on the Clark Park Shooting

Courtesy of Penn's student-run paper, here's more on that Clark Park shooting I referenced the other day: "No Arrests in Clark Park Attack." So apparently four dudes went up to a guy who was in the middle of a basketball game and started roughing him up, and then one of the attackers pulled out a gun and shot the guy in the leg before running away.

Needless to say, this led to considerable chatter on the online forums, such as the Clark Park Tot Lot and Philadelphia Speaks. Some parents wrung their hands nervously, while others dismissed the incident as commonplace in a city as big and bad as Philly.

My thoughts are, naturally, somewhere in the middle. To be outraged too much is to discount the fact that this is an almost everyday occurrence in many local neighborhoods: it's as if this sort of stuff only matters if it happens in neighborhoods like mine, when in actuality we should find this unacceptable anywhere people live and kids play. And yet, it is only natural for this to hit home more forcefully when it is your playground and your gathering place and your children: I shuddered when I read the police report, realizing that but for the fact that our afternoon nap time ran longer than usual, we would have been at the scene during the dust-up, rather than having arrived 20 minutes after it had happened. If you are familiar with Clark Park, you know that the basketball courts are right next to the playground area, close enough that a fired gun that is pointed just so could easily hit an innocent kid.

Clark Park has vastly improved in the short time I have lived in University City. I will not hesitate to bring my kids to play there again; nor will I hesitate, when they get old enough to go by themselves, to let them go by themselves. But I am unnerved by the fact that conflicts in the city have become so heated, and gun-toters so brazen, that shots could be fired in broad daylight on a weekday afternoon in which hundreds of people were enjoying the beautiful weather.
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