Last night was Halloween. My husband and I spent a few evening hours handing out candy to local ghosts, monkeys, and pumpkins. The streets were not crowded with costumed kiddies, but there was a fairly steady stream. The kids were happily running and skipping down the street, collecting loot from a handful of houses. There were a lot of kids with parents, people trick or treating in packs, a group of teen age girls with a father in tow, and an older brother watching over his costumed sister.
Between the ghosts and goblins, we socialized with the neighbours. The street had a friendly and fun feel to it. It was halloween, and everyone was out to enjoy the evening.
I remember last halloween, we picked up treats to hand out and we also took treats to the Friendship Center. We were not sure how many kids would come to the house, but wanted to have something for the kids that were out trick or treating on our block. Last year, halloween came on the heels of a triple shooting that left two people dead. And last year, we were told the shootings were random, unrelated events. That is what shook us the most, that the shootings could have happened to random, untargetted individuals. It shook us because it could just as easily have been us.
This year, we had the same sort of incidents. We had two murders, another gun shot and a few stabbings the weekend before halloween. They were spread throughout the weekend and throughout the City.
We learned only recently that last years shootings had gang connections, and this morning we learn that the two homicides had gang ties, as well as the third gun shot. Further to that, most of the violent incidents happen in the wee hours of the morning.
I find it odd that so many people would bring so much fear to the event of trick or treating. This event happens in the early evening. It brings home owners to their doors and on their streets. It crowds the streets with kids and parents. No gang banger is going to try something when the streets have that many eyes.
Now that we know the random triple shooting of last year has actual gang ties to it, it becomes just another tragic story in the lives of gang members, and it takes away the threat that it could happen to the law abiding citizens of the City. I wonder how long the WPS knew about the gang ties. And I wonder why it took a full year to let us know the gang connections. And did they know about the gang connections in this last weekend's violence prior to last evenings trick or treating events? That may have eased a bit of tension in going out for an evening of fun with the little goblins.
Last night was for the kids, the ghosts and goblins, and the monkey and pumpkin that come to my door.