“You know someone got shot down there?” asked one of two teenagers seated on the curb at the corner of Bedford Avenue and Dean Street in Crown Heights on a recent Saturday night. His finger extended northeast towards Nostrand Avenue.
“I did know that,” I responded, to their surprise, and kept moving.
In spite of the menial attention garnered by Brooklyn’s violent and pervasive drug trade in the local news media, borough residents are making sure you’ve heard about their loved one, or even strangers, senselessly gunned down – but they’re not snitching.
Laminated pictures of victims with, “RIP,” “Never Forget,” or even laudatory phrases celebrating a violent lifestyle can be found hanging around the necks of some of Brooklyn’s young people, riding the train or roaming the streets, their gold chains augmented by the sadness of their loss.
There have always been street murals in memory of celebrities and sometimes victims, whose candlelit shrines last only until the wax disintegrates off of the cement beneath it. However, the laminated pictures that hang from the necks of Brooklyn’s youth are more than just a personal memorial, they are also a declaration.
It is an acknowledgment, if tacit, that there is a war being waged on Brooklyn’s streets. Shots ring out into the night, deadly or not, as reminders that guns may not often be seen, but they will be heard.
Last Friday night on Prospect Place near Classon Avenue, four shots rang out into the night, summoning a cartel of police and EMT vehicles.
“Couldn’t find anything online today,” texted my friend, who resides nearby, “ just wondering if you’d heard anything about it.”