A Bronx Tale
A 14-year-old boy shot and killed by police in self-defense is a story told far too often: a feral, fatherless child with a gun.
August 12, 2013 - 3:59 pm
This was not Shaaliver’s first experience with violence. He was arrested last May in connection with a shooting in which a rival gang member was wounded in the shoulder. The charges were dropped when the victim and a witness stopped cooperating with the investigation. And in October, he was arrested for possessing a handgun and was due in court later this month to answer for that charge.
So here we have a 14-year-old boy, arrested once for attempted murder but released for lack of a cooperating victim, and arrested again for possessing a gun and with a court date pending, yet who nonetheless was out on the streets of the Bronx at three in the morning with yet another gun, but this time coming up against someone who, we can all be grateful, was better at handling a weapon than he was. And a question arises: If indeed Shaaliver saw his father often, as the New York Times story tells us, what did they talk about? Did his father tell him not to be running the streets at three in the morning? Did he tell him not to carry guns and stay away from gang members? Did he in any way at all admonish him to divert from the reckless path he so clearly had taken? Of course you know the answer.
“Why would you shoot him in the head?” she asked. You’re supposed to shoot him in the arm, shoot him in the foot, break him down.”
And now this brings us to Shaaliver’s loving aunt, Quwana Barcene. Perhaps she tried to be a voice of morality in the young man’s life. Alas, no. “The cops gotta stop killing our children,” she told a reporter for the CBS affiliate in New York. “This is a 14-year-old kid. It’s not fair.”
No, it’s not fair, but not in the way dear Aunt Quwana believes. She expressed her point more forcefully to the Post. “There was no gun,” she said. “It’s all a cover-up. It’s what the police do. They kill us and cover it up.”
Yes, she would have you believe it is the police whom people in the Bronx should fear, not the feral, fatherless young men roaming the streets with guns.
If those police officers had not been there that night, if they had failed to act, if they had not prevented Shaaliver Douse, age 14, from carrying out the murder he planned, today there would be some different mother in mourning. But that story would not have appeared on television or in the Post and certainly not in the Times, for it would have been just another incident of one young black male gunning down another.
And nobody’s interested in that.