While driving home a few days ago my son asked me why there were teddy bears on the telephone poles. I knew the answer, but having to tell a nine year old child that those teddy bears were placed there because someone was killed in that location was not an easy thing to do.
I told him that those teddy bears meant that someone was killed at that spot and their friends and family placed the teddy bears there in remembrance and to show how much they loved them. It was a tribute to a loved one they lost.
So as we drove along, mind you this is the neighborhood I grew up in, we passed approximately 4 utility poles adorned with stuffed animals in a two mile radius. My son didn’t ask any further questions, but it saddened me that in just within two miles at least four people had lost their life within a year’s time. I can accurately say that it has been within a year because I have seen the stories on the news, time and time again of murders, shootings and stabbings in this part of South Memphis. The stories below are just a fraction of what has been going on in the past year in this area
Why is this area so saturated with crime?
I remember growing up in this neighborhood and being afraid if I heard that someone was killed, not that crime was not an issue back then, but it was definitely not as prominent as it is today. Drugs are being sold in huge capacity and murders are taking place almost daily. It is frightening to know that people are losing their lives almost daily where I was born and raised. Drug addicts adorn almost every nook and cranny of the neighborhood and honestly the people who were fighting for a better community seem to have given up. The fight seems like a lost battle when the majority is crime, drugs and murder and the minority are the law abiding citizens who want things to be better.
I read this at the Thaddeus Matthews blog- Are Neighborhood Stores Contributing to the drug trade?
That was quite interesting to me. I had no clue those were being sold and I definitely didn’t know what they were used for, but I do know that most of the corner stores in the neighborhood have drug sells going on right at their front door. Drug dealers stand in front of the stores each and every day selling dope, and of course the store owners (mostly Iranian or Asian) know that the drugs are being sold, but nothing is done about it. Then a portion of the store owners have illegal dealings going on aside from the drugs being sold along with and outside of the guys slinging dope outside the store’s front door.
I have lived in Memphis, TN all of my life and I am appalled that we are ranked number two in the nation for violent crime; appalled but not in disbelief. I hear the stories each and every day and many are so close to home that it makes me shiver. I remember watching the show The First 48 and seeing the Memphis episodes and shaking my head because there is so much murder and sadness. Then when the Lester Street Murders happened I was so shaken that it took me a while to realize that it was real. Six people including two children had indeed been murdered in my hometown. It was such a horrible event but even with that tragedy still fresh in our minds murders, robberies and every other act of violence were still taking place as if this mass murder had not just taken place. This city has taken a violent and destructive turn, one in which I cannot explain and have no answer to how things can change. When will the violence end?