Editorials

Teens are dying too young in this town

Johnny Lubin Jr., 15, was the latest victim of a rash of teen violence. He was shot and killed walking home from school.
Johnny Lubin Jr., 15, was the latest victim of a rash of teen violence. He was shot and killed walking home from school.

As we’re distracted with the ravages of the Paris bombing, and the threat of more attacks, a sinister type of deadly terrorism is underway in Miami-Dade.

Young people, mainly young black teens, are being killed or wounded at an alarming rate. The hardest hit public school appears to be Miami Northwestern Senior High, where so far this year four students have been killed. Imagine that happening when you were in school?

The latest victims in this rash of violence: a 9th grader. Let me say that again—a 15-year-old, 9th grader. Who could be so angry at a kid that age to kill him in a drive-by shooting? The assailant or assailants, who remain at large, are likely not much older.

When ambushed, Johnny Lubin Jr. was doing what kids do; walking home from school at 3:50 p.m. Wednesday, near the corner of Northwest 77th Street and 14th Avenue. A vehicle pulled up and someone inside took aim.

Police are still searching for a motive for the killing of the popular student, football player and middle school prom king.

Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Albert Carvalho recently told the Editorial Board that incidents of violence inside schools have dramatically decreased, but when kids walk into the community after school, their lives are often put in danger by their surroundings.

On Thursday, he visited Miami Northwestern to console stunned students and teachers. At their age, death is not supposed to be so tangible.

“These killings have taken a heavy toll on our student population,” Mr. Carvalho said.

Concern over the fate of kids who are suspended and sent to the street to serve it, prompted the district to end out door suspensions — a measure that has been a success in the first few months of the year.

But trying to provide a safe haven for inner city students is not enough. As proof, here’s the after school “death roll” from Miami Northwestern alone:

In May, student Joewaun Coles, 15, lost his life when he was hit by a stray bullet outside his Northwest 76th Street apartment when a group of masked men opened fire on people playing craps in the courtyard.

On Sept. 3, student Randall Dwaine Robinson III, 17, was fatally shot on the sidewalk at Northwest 53rd Street and Third Avenue. On Sept. 7, Northwestern student Maurice Harris,17, was killed while standing in the sidewalk a block away from where Robinson was killed.

Mr. Carvalho is growing wary of this assault on Miami-Dade students. He is growing tired of visiting wounded students in the hospital, or every grieving parent, since he took over the top job in the school district in 2008.“I have been to Ryder Trauma Center so many times, I stopped counting at 45 — two years ago,” he said.

What’s too blame? Too many guns in the street, or a widespread disregard for life?

How can this tide of violence be stopped? “The community needs to move from passive sadness, shock, grieving and anger to deliberate action,” Mr. Calvalho said. We agree.

Mr. Calvalho suggest some solutions: “building hope in the community, creating more safe spaces through community engagement of youth parks and libraries.

Mr. Carvalho is focusing on the “no snitch” culture that allows heartless shooters with automatic weapons to pick off young victims at will.“There is somebody out there who knows who is doing these killings, but they’re afraid to speak out,” he said.

But how do you fix it?

Other stakeholders victimized by this “terror act” should unite to stem the tide. These killings are present the ISIS is our community.

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