The fact that there have already been more murders in Minneapolis than during the entire year of 2009 would be enough to outrage any Twin Cities’ resident …but the fact that many in the cities are stating that this is simply ‘gangsters killing gangsters’ should disgust all Minnesotans as this type of disregard for human life is repulsive.

Being born and raised in the Twin Cities has enabled me to have a firsthand view of our growth, change, failures and successes. Like many residents I look forward to summer months full of barbeques, long days at the beach and snowless driveways. But this summer, even I, someone who has probably seen and heard more than the ‘average’ 25 year old, am shocked and disgusted by what has been happening here in the Twin Cities.
To say I’m outraged by the onslaught of murders would be an understatement but what prompted this topic is not the multitude of senseless murders we’ve experienced over the last few months, it’s the response to these acts of ignorance and violence that has. Reading through the news I noticed how a few people have wrote about how this is simply ‘gangsters killing gangsters’ or it’s ‘just drug dealers killing dealers’ and comments on those articles proved that more than a few shared those viewpoints.
Unsure if people are trying to pacify themselves or truly believe in their heartless comments I am not sure how to respond. Has the value of human life really taken a hit in some communities? To say that these people who have lost their lives are merely ‘gangsters’ disgraces the family members left behind and sends a message to the youth that it’s ok to judge others. It is heartless to pass judgment on someone who’s just had their life taken, especially so soon after the death has occurred. Even still we must ask ourselves:  how much do we really know about those who’ve lost their lives?
I can’t imagine how it would feel to open the newspaper and read how my child’s death was viewed as ‘just gangsters killing gangsters’.  As someone not related to anyone who’s been murdered I felt shocked, embarrassed and disgusted, I can only imagine the pain such comments bought the end of the day we all have our own opinions, however, and to end this post, I will state mine: If it’s wrong to take a life it’s dead wrong to devalue one that has been taken.
In closing I must add (before I ignite a barrage of hate mail): I am not, in any way, shape or form condoning being a ‘drug dealer’ or ‘gangster’. I truly believe that certain people’s choices hurt our communities, send horrible messages to our children and create fear, worry and tension in our cities. However, with that noted, I must say that these ‘gangsters’ are still a part of our communities, are still someone’s relative/loved one and are still human beings.
Thank you for reading,
DeSeandra Sheppheard

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