In Wilmington, bullets and violence

Filed in Delaware by on July 14, 2014

Wilmington gun violence

Wednesday night, 27-year-old Otis Saunders was gunned down in Wilmington, the city’s 15th homicide victim this year.

While police seek answers behind this latest death, the answer to this question continues to elude everyone: how to reduce the violence?

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About the Author ()

Rob Tornoe is a local cartoonist and columnist, and can be seen in The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Press of Atlantic City, The News Journal, and the Dover Post chain of newspapers. He's also a contributor to Media Matters and WHYY. Web site: RobTornoe.com Twitter: @RobTornoe

Comments (13)

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  1. mediawatch says:

    I agree with Rob’s comments, but not with the image. CR would be just as safe atop his horse as hiding behind the pedestal because the safest areas of the city are downtown and the Riverfront.
    The cartoon plays into the stereotypical suburban misconception that downtown is not safe, when in fact virtually all the violence occurs in areas other than downtown.

  2. cassandra_m says:

    I agree with mediawatch here — CR downtown is in one of the safest places in the city. The folks who don’t know that are the folks cowering behind their News Journals in their suburban tract houses.

    And I’ll note that the retired cops working for the WPD (when they can pay them) are working on cold cases — they are not working on active (but unresolved) cases.

  3. KathyJ says:

    Wondering if it’s true that WPD doesn’t have a homicide dept?

  4. Brock Landers says:

    15 homicides year to date? Chicago calls that a rounding error.

  5. ben says:

    Is the point WHERE the is, or that the “honorable” mayor Williams has proven to be a horrendous failure? … He was supposed to have from a job that perfectly suited him to address the issue.

  6. cassandra m says:

    WPD has 40+ detectives, they just aren’t split up into specific criminal units like homicide. So, no they don’t have a Homicide Unit, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t investigate homicides.

  7. Rob Tornoe says:

    mediawatch and cassandra m: You guys make some good points about my cartoon. I was just trying to think of an iconic image to get across the point of urban violence.

    That may be an idea for a different cartoon – how the violence in parts of Wilmington cloud people’s perception of the city as a whole, which effects tourism, business and investment.

  8. Rob Tornoe says:

    KathyJ: It’s true that Wilmington doesn’t have a homicide unit. He revealed it to Larry Mendte during an interview that will air on MeTV Channel 2 on Saturday night at 7 p.m.

  9. puck says:

    What are the boundaries of “downtown?” The News Journal shootings map shows some serious clusters of shootings just a hop, skip, and a jump from Rodney Square. In fact you have to go through some of those areas to get to Rodney Square. Of course shootings are clustered in residential areas, not the desolate business districts. I suggest that the lack of shootings in Rodney Square is because it is depopulated in the evening/night hours when shootings tend to occur. It is not irrational at all for non-Wilmingtonians to avoid Wilmington entirely, rather than having to make distinctions within five blocks of where the danger is.

    I guess it is kind of like living in places with grizzly bears or polar bears – people do it, but they get to know the rules about where you can go and what you can do, while outsiders may prefer to avoid bear country entirely.

    I get the iconic image thing. Stand by your cartoon Rob, it’s great.

  10. think123 says:

    Can’t help thinking the gangster gun culture is the direct result of bad policy over many years. The war on drugs turned into a search and destroy mission aimed at poor black men. We rounded up millions of young black men, brothers, fathers, sons took them away from their families, made them felons – no voting, no job prospects, ex-cons. We’ve been doing this for two generations now. The war on drugs was intended to make life better. It made life much worse. Guns and murder. Heroin epidemics, meth, all the rest all rampant. The only things forty years of prohibition did was give us a huge prison population, and a black-market gangster culture that runs on guns and murder. The only way to wind down the gangster gun drug murder culture is to end prohibition. All the talk about this being a law enforcement problem or a police chief problem is just more of the same bad thinking that made this mess.

  11. Walt says:

    You can end the prohibition and they will keep on killing each other on a wholesale rate. And you will then think of other reasons to blame the rest of society for it. What shocks me more than the murders is afrOMERTA, their code of silence. You can bring the best homicide units in the country to Wilmington and they will never solve the crimes because the witnesses will not come forward. Even for a murder in their own neighborhood. That is as damaged as a culture can get. Four generations of welfare in a matriarchal culture has produced these young men. Unwilling to assume even the most basic responsibility. Very sad.

  12. pandora says:

    Matriarchal culture? Mitt, is that you?

  13. think123 says:

    During the last prohibition Irish and Italian gangs were equally as murdereous. That was before welfare. Seven were murdered with machine guns in the infamous St. Valentine’s day massacre. There were more white on white murders in Chicago 100 years ago than happen in Chicago today. Sure, before 1990′s welfare reform there were disincentives for families to have a father in the house. That was fixed. The drug black market today is behaving pretty much the same as the liquor drug prohibition. Al Capone and Bugsy Moran had their white boys armed with machine guns. Machine guns were outlawed in the 1930′s. Too many white boys shooting the place up. So . . don’t make it all about blacks. Prohibition defies free markets, breeds criminals with guns. Just like gambling prohibition did. Now gambling and liquor are legal. You have to pick between the lessor of evils. Let people get high anyway they want, or try to enforce laws against certain stuff and you get a screwed up society. Freedom cures a lot of ills.

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