Thursday morning began with the radio station’s newscast. There was a shooting over the night in the Trumbull Gardens complex in Bridgeport, nine people shot, one killed. The shooters ran off and are at large; and then onto the next story.
Ten seconds on a newscast, nine victims, at least two shooters and ho hum, just another day in Bridgeport.
By Friday morning’s broadcast, the shooting was ancient history. Our local daily paper had no mention of the shooting in Thursday’s edition but the story did make it in Friday’s. There was only enough room on the front page for stories about school corruption, a boating accident involving three adults and a report on a Johns Hopkins study claiming state gun permit laws reduce homicides.
Page three had an article on the possible return of minor league hockey to town and it was not until you opened the second section and turned to page 14 that mention was made, below the fold, about a mass shooting in the county’s and the state’s largest city.
Having witnessed numerous shootings, murders, break-ins, drug arrests and gang activity, the residents of Trumbull Gardens are accustomed to hearing gunshots in the night; and another shooting is hardly front page news. But even by the jaded standards of inner-city life, Wednesday night’s shootings were exceptional in their brutality, their random nature and the utter disregard for human life displayed by the killers.
And yet, aside from Mayor Bill Fitch and his rival in the upcoming primary, former mayor Joe Ganim, the Bridgeport police and some local clergy, the silence from Connecticut’s leaders is telling.
On Friday Sen. Richard Blumenthal briefly visited the complex with along with Mayor Fitch, and both men called for more gun control laws.
If the killers are captured, does anyone truly believe they will have lawfully registered handguns and valid Connecticut concealed carry permits?
If this shooting had occurred in any of our state’s suburbs, there would not have been enough television cameras for Connecticut’s local, state and federal officials. If nine people had been shot in an affluent Connecticut city, the news would have gone onto national and world wide news feeds.
But the shooting of nine people in Bridgeport’s Trumbull Gardens does not even elicit a three line press release from our governor, our congressional delegation and our state house.
No votes will be won by taking a stand and apparently our politicians have more pressing problems than the constant violence that hangs over our urban areas.
Politicians and media were not alone as they ignored the shooting. Our clergy and community activists remain strangely mute as more black and Hispanic residents of our urban areas become crime statistics. Seemingly, no one wants to speak up.
Trumbull Gardens is well known not only for its violent past but for the ready availability of heroin, cocaine, crystal meth and marijuana. The gangs that sell those drugs police their territory with extreme prejudice. Although this shooting may or may not be related to gangs and the drug trafficking they engage in, if you are truly looking for a cause for the violence that permeates Trumbull Gardens, you need look no further than drugs and the gangs that provide those drugs.
But what about us? Where are all those who denounced the Sandy Hook shootings, who demanded action after Aurora, Colorado, after Virginia Tech, after Ferguson Missouri, after Freddy Gray or after any of the horrific incidents of the past decade?
Why are those voices not raised in defense of nine victims of senseless violence in Trumbull Gardens? With our continued silence as our inner-cities become killing fields, we are saying, “Black lives matter, maybe.”
Michael Dutton of New Fairfield maintains a blog called The Abandoned Generation Project.