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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.

by
Jack Dunphy

Bio

August 12, 2013 - 3:59 pm

Almost seven years ago, I wrote a piece for National Review Online called “This is Crazy,” in which I described the aftermath of a fatal shooting in South Los Angeles.  It was one of the thirteen murders committed in L.A. that Labor Day weekend, and one of the hundreds I’ve seen in my long career as a cop, but for some reason it has haunted me more than most of the others.

I’m sorry to admit it, for doing so seems to dishonor the victim’s memory, but now I can’t even recall his name.  If he hadn’t died that afternoon, he’d be about 27 years old today, maybe with a family of his own.  I think back on the day he was killed and on and the faces of his sisters as they rushed to the scene and pressed up against the yellow tape to see his car, and then in that moment to realize it was their own brother’s blood all over the interior.

And I remember the young man’s father, who came to the scene after the sisters and the other relatives, and who stood among them so stoically, with so much dignity, even in the grip of such overwhelming sadness.  As I wrote of him at the time, “Tonight he can only think of the baby boy he held for the first time 20 years ago and worried about every single day since, only to see him come to this.”

I was thinking of that poor young man and his father this week as I read about Shaaliver Douse, the 14-year-old boy shot and killed by an NYPD officer early last Sunday morning.  The New York Times reported that two rookie cops, barely a month out of the police academy, were on foot patrol in the Bronx at about 3 a.m. when they heard gunshots.  Rookies or not, they did what cops are expected to do, which is to run toward the sound of the gunfire.  As the officers ran east on 151st Street, near Courtlandt Avenue, they saw two males running toward them, one apparently chasing the other with a gun.  The officers told him to drop it.  He didn’t, instead firing a shot, either at the person he was chasing or at the officers.  One of the officers fired, hitting the gunman in the jaw and killing him.  And just like that, Shaaliver Douse, at 14, became another statistic, another grim dot on the map.

But how did he come to this?  Surely on the day he was born 14 years ago someone was there to hold him and love him and wish for him all that joy that life might bring.  But that someone was almost surely not his father.  Indeed, in all the press accounts I’ve read on the death of Shaaliver Douse, I’ve found many references to his mother and his aunt (about whom more later), but scarcely any mention of his father.  The New York Times, for example, reports that Shaaliver saw his father often, but the story doesn’t name him or indicate if the reporter made any attempt to find him.

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.

But what about Shaaliver’s mother, Shanise Farrar?  Did she try to rein him in?  Apparently not.  As reported in the New York Post, she called her son’s shooting an “assassination.”

“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.

Jack Dunphy is the pseudonym of a police officer in Southern California.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
"...in October, he was arrested for possessing a handgun and was due in court later this month to answer for that charge."

There is your candidate for "common sense steps to stop gun violence"! He was arrested in October and his trial was scheduled for the following August. Meanwhile, he is back on the street like nothing happened. This punk is a clear and present danger to the entire community and should have been kept in lockup. But, no, the powers-that-be want to control MY guns in the name of "gun violence" while letting this gangsta run wild.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
These two women share a lack of acceptance of personal responsibility with Sharpton and jackson, and obama and holder, and all the other race pimps. This racial paranoia creates fertile ground for the hustlers' lies.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
He could of been Trayvon's brother or Obama's son.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (47)
All Comments   (47)
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You know what's not fair, Quwana? That Shaaliver's mom was probably raised by a mom that probably didn't teach her to practice abstinence until she found a man willing to marry her and provide financially, emotionally, mentally, academically, spiritually and otherwise for her and any children he had with her. The people that murdered Shaaliver are the liars who told Shanise that she didn't need a man, and that the government was a good replacement for a husband and father.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
the ones who get out of those circumstances are able to do so because they have a normal working brain. most do not. most have brain damage at the very least. this comes about as a result of women who are alcoholics and drug users during their pregnancy. just as their mothers did before them.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
So are these the people that Mr. Obama wants to give money to so we won't have such a high rate of income inequality? Every time I see an obituary or death notice of someone named Shaaliver, Quwana, Shanies or Trayvon, I thank god for that death because it means that entity (because are they human?) won't be (1) doing home invasions, (2) carjacking, (3) committing welfare fraud, or (4) sitting in jail for the next few decades at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year to keep him/her there. Or (5) spawning new budding monsters just like s/he turned out to be.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Concord Bridge: I like your analysis about the effect of the culture on the young people in the inner city. But you've left out the question of personal responsibility: look at his mother - she didn't have to have a child but she did; she was unable to support herself, let alone a child, but she had him anyway; she was unable to provide a decent home with a father, but that didn't stop her. She was and is a selfish, stupid and greedy excuse for a parent. "Welfare mother" is not a valid career choice but her "culture," such as it is, had told her all her life that she's "just as good as anyone else." No, she isn't. She wouldn't even control or attempt to control her 14-year-old thug son and keep him off the streets in the middle of the night. How many other little thuglets is she raising? Probably enough to keep her in Food Stamps, EBT cards and section 8 housing. Shanise, have you EVER worked for a living? Sorry, Shanise, but someone has to say it: what happened is a result of the choices you and Shaaliver made. Not my fault and not my problem. Grow up and place the blame where it belongs - on yourself.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
It is clear the kid would end up dead some day. At lease he was killed before he had a chance to kill someone else first.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
There are those who say "every life has value". In light of what we are seeing in the inner cities resulting in numerous murders by gangster minded youths, I would reword the sentiment to read "every life has a potential value".

This kid never has a chance at success or attaining a life with value. He was born in the inner city to a mother who most likely had nothing going for her in life except the next welfare check. The other adult in his life, his aunt, comes across as stupid as one can possibly be. His "father" (sometimes call the sperm donor) likely had no positive role in Shaaliver's life.

His world, the inner city, where work and responsibility is not the norm, was that of young males running in gangs and using guns to settle all disputes. It is rare, absolutely abnormal, for a young male, born in these circumstances, to succeed in life. There are several we know of who did break from this inner city trap and succeed in life. It is my understanding that in those cases, the mothers were instrumental in seeing that the youths stayed away from gangs and got an education. Shaaliver's mother appears at the opposite end of the spectrum from those special moms who gave their sons a chance at success.

Some people are now brave enough to point out that it is the inner city culture that is to blame and they are roundly excoriated for stating the truth. Between LBJ's crass actions that created the inner city "plantation" to the likes of Jackson and Sharpton, there is little hope for change for the better. We will, unfortunately continue to see children born who don't even know who is their "father", who live from one welfare check to another, who have absolutely little desire for an education or a job and, for whom, the gang is their family.

Changing this situation will be a monumental task and it won't be accomplished without tremendous turmoil but change it we must because it will only get worse as the culture becomes even more entrenched.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Another possible scenario is the cops were not there or did not act. Shaaliver fires several shots and misses every time (of course). He does succeed in hitting an innocent baby asleep in their crib. Now the outraged neighborhood (including Sharpton and Jackson) complain because the NYPD is never around to protect the innocents from these "criminals".
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't want to appear ghoulish but actually there is nothing depraved (or deprived) about gang participation. And yes it is violent and turf oriented, defensive and repelling of invaders.

The connection with family and parents I will always believe is spotty in that all kinds of kids wind up their from all kinds of families. When my father grew up sine kids went into gangs some didn't.

If you looked at their parents you couldn't really tell them apart whichever path they choose.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
Their first mistake after the event of his birth? Naming him....Shaaliver.

Seems every thug out there has a "afro-centric" boutique made up name that is bestowed upon them by their ignorant/stupid parents.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
The term child should be redefined. A teenager with no adult supervision and a gun is not a child. Neither are the young women who are hooking on the street. or those cavorting at various beach frenzies. I was appalled that parents thought it perfectly ok to let their kids travel to a Caribbean resort and with the knowledge and tacit approval of parents deink excessively and do drugs. These young people should be treated as adults in court and in the court of life. Actions have consequences....sometimes infants result. and parents either pick up the slack or expect society to do so.
50 weeks ago
50 weeks ago Link To Comment
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