Get Rid of the Gangs

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Barring a successful appeal, Sherwin Thompson will spend the better part of the rest of his life behind bars. Thompson is 23 and a member of the Bloods gang. He was recently convicted of weapons possession and manslaughter in the killing of Germaine Persaud three years ago. Persaud was only 21.

This is a tragedy. Two young lives have been wasted. A third young man, also 23 and allegedly a Blood, is in jail waiting to be tried for murder in the same incident.

The gang violence in southeast Queens is maddening. There is no real difference between the Bloods and Crips. Nevertheless, young men are willing to kill and be killed out of loyalty to these organizations. The same is true for members of the Latin Kings and a dozen offshoots of these gangs.

The mugshot of Thompson that ran in the Jamaica Times last week speaks volumes about the insanity of gang violence. This is a young man who might have done something of value with his life. The same is true for his victim. In the end, this one act of violence will cause a lifetime of pain for at least three families.

The police can only respond after the fact. It is up to the community, icons of popular culture in the inner city and schools to expose the foolishness and emptiness of gangs.

Arizona’s Hate Draws Anger Here

It is rare that actions taken by a state on the other side of the country merit the attention of elected officials here. But two Queens City Council members had good reason to protest the anti-immigrant measures recently passed into law in Arizona.

Recently, Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras and Councilman Danny Dromm joined Corona- and Elmhurst-based immigration reform advocates in a protest outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters in lower Manhattan.

Arizona should be embarrassed by its new law. Nothing can disguise the fact that it is the product of bias and unfounded fear.

What we would like to see is a condemnation of the Arizona law by the Council and the state Legislature. The upstate Tea Partiers may cheer the Arizona crackdown, but it should be made clear that a city built by immigrants does not.

Updated 5:55 pm, October 10, 2011
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