No one woke up Sunday and decided, “Hey, let’s shoot up a house and kill a 7-month-old.”
But someone held the reckless mindset that it was fine to blast bullets into the home where little JaQuail Mansaw was being cradled in his mother’s arms.
It takes forethought to cause that kind of mayhem. That’s not the same as intelligence. Get the car. Get the ammunition. Maybe recruit a fellow miscreant to drive so you can pump off the shots.
How about making 2015 the year of being honest about how at least five babies and children in the metro area have been shot — four died — in drive-bys since October. Often, it’s because of the adults who circle in and out of their world.
Not condoning violence here, but weaklings shoot from the street, then speed off. JaQuail’s mother pegged the mentality perfectly. She called the gunman a coward.
It’s possible the shooter is geographically challenged, that the house was picked randomly or in error. Maybe they meant to hit the house next door, or one on a nearby street.
But the same Kansas City, Kan., house where JaQuail was shot was targeted twice in recent months for a drive-by. That’s an indication that someone with ties to the house, however remote, has very dangerous enemies.
Years ago, media began to publicize the narrative that some young black men believed they wouldn’t reach 30. The sad storyline was that some young men had started down such destructive pathways of gangs and guns, that they had little to hope for. So they accepted and planned for their lives to be short.
JaQuail’s death is another layer to that hopelessness. Now, some people don’t care who goes down with them. Five other children were also inside the home and could have easily been shot, too.
Some neighbors didn’t want to be identified in their comments on the shooting, fearing retaliation. They are scared and rightfully so. Imagine the hesitation that a family member or friend might hold if they suspect it’s their own blood or an associate of their kin who is somehow linked to the violence. Addressing that reality is a huge challenge for police and communities. Neighbors and family affected by violent crime need safe havens and strong public support as encouragement to speak up.
Someone knows something about who shot up that house. And more likely than not, it’s someone who’d also passed through that precious dead baby boy’s world.