Friday, August 26, 2005

Another Senseless Shooting; More Lives Destroyed

There is a truism that states “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished.” Tragically, that happened in this case. Mr. Terence Martin was shot when he tried to stop a young man who was beating his pregnant girlfriend. The young man is 17. His girlfriend is 16. Mr. Martin was 40, with his own 16-y.o. daughter.

According to today’s Contra Costa Times , the young man responsible has been arrested and will be tried as an adult. His life is probably over. His child probably grow up without a father, with a teenage mother who may not bother to graduate from high school.

Some may claim the young man and his girlfriend are victims. The corner where this happened is in one of the poorest areas of Richmond, CA. The schools in that area are among the worst-performing academically, although the DeJean Middle School is only five years old and both high schools are being rebuilt. Gang shootings and general violence are common. Does that excuse a young man from beating a pregnant girl? Or shooting an older, unarmed adult?

Richmond has had many candlelight vigils calling for the violence to stop. Pastors and preachers have called from the pulpit. The City Council and the Mayor have formed commission after commission to study the problems. Neighborhood groups have spoken out at several townhall meetings. The police department has worked with them, increased patrols, increased minority officers.

It’s not working. In fact, it’s spreading, not just in Richmond, but to the surrounding communities.

How do we stop this insanity? How do we prevent these children, our children, from self-destructing?

Meantime, the district has set up a donation account for Terence Martin at The Mechanics Bank. Donations will go towards a scholarship fund for Mr. Martin's 16-year-old daughter, Brittney Nicole Martin.
If you wish to offer a donation, please make your check out to: The WCCUSD Terence Martin Memorial Fund Please indicate on the check: Account #139-627065.
Donations may be dropped off at any branch of The Mechanics Bank, or at:
West Contra Costa Unified School District Attn: Business Services Office, Room 106 1108 Bissell Avenue Richmond, CA 94801-3135

From the WCCUSD Web Site: District employee fatally shot while coming to aid of a teenager

The West Contra Costa Unified School District is mourning the loss of one of its own. The shooting death of Furniture Driver Terence Martin has stunned employees throughout the school district community. Mr. Martin died Tuesday evening at John Muir Medical Center from a gunshot wound suffered as he tried to stop a fight earlier that day between the suspect, a teenage boy, and his pregnant teenage girlfriend.
“Our hearts and deepest sympathies go out to the families and loved ones who are affected by this tragedy,” said Interim Superintendent Dr. Cynthia LeBlanc of the West Contra Costa Unified School District. “We have lost not just a wonderful employee, but a valued member of the community as well. His death is especially heartbreaking because he died as a result of helping someone in distress.”

Mr. Martin was a dedicated employee who had worked for the district for the last 22 years. He began working for the district in 1983 as a substitute maintenance worker and became a permanent, full-time employee in July 1984. His prior positions included Maintenance Worker, Custodian, Head Custodian, and Warehouse Driver for the district’s Maintenance and Operations department.

“We are all grieving the loss of Mr. Martin, a fine individual who dedicated himself to serving our students,” said School Board President Glen Price. “Somehow we must use this devastating incident to come together as a community to deal with the reality of the conditions that our neighborhoods face,” Mr. Price said. “The problem is bigger than any one city or group of cities, and we need to deal with it on this level, as well as in each and every neighborhood.”