There was a story this week in the news connecting some of the most horrific acts in recent memory to the time of year – April. From the siege of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco to the Oklahoma City Bombing to the massacre at Columbine. Even the recent shooting rampage at Virginia Tech, all linked because they occurred in the month of April.
I thought that was just bunk … an eerie coincidence at best. That was until this first week of April our fair city. Since April began, we have seen less rain showers and more showers of violence.
It started with the Saturday morning killing of three officers responding to a domestic call in Stanton Heights. The very next day, a wife shoots her husband multiple times and holes up in her Pine Township home for an afternoon stand-off. Monday, a home invasion in East Liberty leads to a man being shot, but not fatally wounded. That night, a would-be robber gets into a gunfight with police in the West End. Finally tonight, a mother and daughter are killed in their home in Stowe Township.
Experts in this sort of thing say the change of season and the increase light that April brings can cause a sometimes violent change in manic individuals. That’s just bunk as far as I am concerned. To excuse violent and deadly behavior based upon atmospheric conditions is only giving such persons an excuse.
A think many factors go into violent actions … too numerous to name. The point is its happening … and as police Chief Nate Harper noted …. in a way that doesn’t happen around here. This is Pittsburgh. We are a community where we do more than know our neighbors, we watch out for them. Things like that don’t happen here because we, as citizens and residents, don’t let them happen here.
While we as residents of this region are not too blame for the recent string of violence, we can do something about it. We have to be the eyes and ears of our community and we can’t just see perilous situations developing and just walk away. What struck me about Saturday in Stanton Heights was just how many people in the community knew the gunman … and his proclivities. While no one I spoke with could have predicted the level of violence, few were shocked he had the capability to be violent.
April may very be the month of the greatest tragedy, but it can also be the month where we are our most alert. We need not surrender to violence and let it take over our city. We can fight back by being diligent and saying “no” to such crime. Instead, we can say “yes” to making sure we watch for the unscrupulous and the suspicious.
Perhaps then April, and every succeeding month, can be sparred the carnage we have witness just 7 days into this April.