Is everybody listening now?
Late last month I said in this space that something had to be done about gun violence in the city or there would be a tragedy.
Sadly, since that time we have gone from a community meeting to a community vigil.
The tragedy occurred after a stray bullet struck Iran Moreno-Balvaneda, a 13-year-old Blair Middle School student, as he sat in his bedroom in his family’s North Raymond Avenue home this past weekend.
All it takes is one bullet to stop a child from growing up.
According to Deputy Chief Cheryl Moody, 700 firearms, many of them ghost guns, have been recovered by police in the past two years.
Imagine that 700 guns in two years — that’s nearly double the amount of COVID-19 deaths in Pasadena.
Of course the comparison is not entirely fair, and it is more apt to compare local COVID cases in general to the guns recovered.
But the point is clear, locally and nationally: guns in the hands of the wrong people has become a social pandemic, much like gangs and drugs in the 80s.
The equation is simple, guns and police encounters increase the chance of tragedy.
Simply put, if something is not done, the next Police Chief will be at the podium addressing the community about an officer-involved shooting or something far worse.
On Nov. 15, someone fired shots at the Boys & Girls Club while young people were on the property.
Although no one was hurt that should scare us all.
But instead of local residents and City Councilmembers working together, which is typically what happens locally, City Council meetings are filled with calls demanding apologies that will change nothing, or demands for the City Council to take actions that the legislative body is prohibited from taking.
What we need now is information that leads to action.
Here’s where we can start, treat the social pandemic like the medical pandemic.
Deputy Chief Cheryl Moody or Lt. Bill Grisafe should update the council every week with the number of guns collected by the city and any other pertinent information, including arrests and local hotspots.
Get that ShotSpotter up and running. If it works, that’s another tool in the fight. If it doesn’t, end the contract.
That will allow the council and viewers to gain real time information.
Put a reward on the shooters of the Boys Club and Iran Moreno-Balvaneda.
Somebody knows who did this, and if the city offers the right amount of money, somebody will turn in the shooter or shooters.
Don’t scoff, the right reward will make even the hardest person sing like the Temptations.
The PUSD has a part to play as well in the intervention model. We have to teach kids early on that they can resolve problems without guns and violence.
Parents have to be parents and not enabling friends.
If you don’t know where your child is at night, you are failing your child, and that is unacceptable.
So I ask again, is everybody listening now?