Saturday, December 08, 2012

South Side: A Community That Still Has a Soul

Despite a bone-chilling rain, over fifty people attended a candlelight vigil in South Bethlehem on Friday night, just a few feet from where six people were shot the previous weekend. After a volley of thirty bullets, Yolanda Morales, age 23, is dead. Her killer and another shooter, still hospitalized, have been charged. But that was little consolation to the people who came to wonder why.

Kim Carrell-Smith, a Lehigh University History Professor who lives on the South Side, pointed to the where the shooting occurred and said, "That is not who we are. But this, the community gathering, is who we are. We're the South Side."
Kim Carrell-Smith (L) and Lorna Velazquez (R)
Those attending the vigil included Evelyn Rivera, President of the Puerto Rican Beneficial Society, where a minor argument escalated into a gunfight outside. "There's not much you can do except cry," she said, as her daughter, Jaclyn, consoled her.
Jaclyn Rivera consoles her mother, Evelyn
Police Chief Jason Schiffer, who helped light candles, said his force is proud to partner with a "community that still has a soul." He stated his force would never have been able to piece this together without them. "We're standing here together, and against what happened," he said.
Police Chief Jason Schiffer mourns with the rest of the community
Northampton Community College's South Side Campus Dean, Paul Pierpoint, stated we are all "shocked and saddened at the senseless violence and loss of precious life that occurred on this street." He attributed it to "our current gun culture. None would have died here last weekend if guns were not present." Guns "exacerbate our flaws," he said. "Maybe guns don't kill people. But angry or frightened people with guns far too often do." Pierpoint dreams of an "island" without gun violence. "But it is only a dream so long as our island is surrounded by an ocean of guns."
Bearded Paul Pierpoint listens to other speakers
Twins Brigid and Stephen White, age 9, attend the vigil with mother Sheila.
A saddened State Rep. Steve Samuelson said little, and spent most of his time at the vigil in prayer.
City Council member J. Willie Reynolds, in brief remarks, said that despite geographical divisions, there is only one Bethlehem. What happened last weekend is unacceptable, he claimed.
Bethlehem police help light vigil candles.

77 comments:

Anonymous said...

Where was Callahan?

Anonymous said...

How many of these vigils over the years were held in Reading, Allentown, Easton and what has changed?

Anonymous said...

Where WAS Calllahan?

Anonymous said...

Attributed the problem to our current gun culture...... What a fucking cowardly cop-out.

Anonymous said...

Where was Donchez? You never see him at community events.

Anonymous said...

Vigils don't cure violence. Rubber bracelets do. This is widely known.

Anonymous said...

A properly( emphasis on properly ) planed vigil can reduce the cycle of violence following an incident of this sort. A poorly planned one can glorify violence and increase tensions in a community.

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Anonymous said...

Leave your attitude, gold jewelry and diamond accessories at home when you're going out and drinking cheap alcohol...

Oh and ps, stay in Allentown!

Anonymous said...

Those wanting to know where the politicians are, does that matter?

It's obvious that those who were not in attendance are being called out by their opponents, stupid politicians...

Anonymous said...

Without guns, they'd stab each other.

Without guns and knives, they'd bludgeon each other with rocks.

You can control anything you want and people will still find ways to kill each other.

These vigils only give those who attend them some solace, some confidence that the world truly isn't as random and violent as it really is and how helpless we all are in stopping it.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I did not see Callahan or Donchez. The only elected city official there was J Willie Reynolds. It's funny bc he thanked me, a non-resident, for being there. I would not draw any conclusions about the city officials who were unable to make it. They are all busy people and attend many functions. If it happened regularly, it would be fair criticism. But I see each one of them at numerous events throughout the city and all the time. They are all pretty dedicated.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Vigils don't cure violence. Rubber bracelets do."

Funny. But it meant something to the people there.

Bernie O'Hare said...

9:32, Go take your drug cocktail, Mezzacrappa.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"It's obvious that those who were not in attendance are being called out by their opponents, stupid politicians..."

Agreed. I see each of them at numerous events all the time. They all care very much.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"You can control anything you want and people will still find ways to kill each other"

Sorry, but it is access to guns that leads to this. If they used their fists, Yolanda Morales would be alive today.

Anonymous said...

BO To say most school shooting have been done by students who are white, suburban and middle class is to make a valid observation. There are other significant factors in the perpetrators of those crimes profiles of course.
To say that most shooters ( and most victims ) of street shoots in the Lehigh Valley are black or Latino is to notice a verifiable profile point. It's not racist any more than its sexist to say almost all shooters are male.
Political correctness gets us no closer to solutions than racism does.
This must be considered from an epidemiological perspective. Difficult factors can't be discarded any more than they can be given disproportionally significant consideration. If prevention , interdiction and intervention strategys are going to be successful.

Anonymous said...

9:44 When community leadership is present, or absent, it does in fact matter.
Yes.

Anonymous said...

The Bethlehem Police Chief is a real professional. He has delt with this remarkable well and deserves special credit. Bethlehem is fortunate to have him.

Anonymous said...

We still have to work around that pesky Bill of Rights, like 'em all or not, it's not an al' la carte deal.
So we can rail on how in a world without guns this would not have happened ..... Bla. Bla . Why not tackle highway safety by saying on an island without cars there are no traffic fatalities?
Where does that get us?
If we deal with this intelligently, then we deal with gun violence from a public health perspective. That means 1) agent 2) host 3) enviroment. All three and in relationship with and to each other. The guns/ammo and drugs ( ie alcohol ) involved, the people involved and when & where these events take place.
Sal was correct last week when he said we won't simply arrest our way out of of this.
As long as this is viewed as primarily a police problem nothing much changes.

Anonymous said...

Those vigils can also shortcut the spiral of retribution, no small thing.
They also establish the " community norm ". "This is not exceptable here. We as a people do not see this as appropriate behavior and we stand opposed to this behavior !" We call this " culture ".
It's in fact criticly important to hold events like public vigils in a civilized democratic society.

Anonymous said...

To admit that race-ethnicity-cultural/subculture does matter is NOT THE SAME as saying school shootings happen BECAUSEe those perpetrators are overwhelmingly white or street shooting happen in the Lehigh Valley BECAUSE the shooters are young black or Latino men in most cases.
But to totally ignore those factors is silly and counter productive.
To the hospitals--- DA's --- Police Departments --- Coroner's office..... show us the data. If you don't have it, can't plot it or won't share it, step aside, your don't meet the minimum requirement for compedence in your field.

Anonymous said...

To admit that race-ethnicity-cultural/subculture does matter is NOT THE SAME as saying school shootings happen BECAUSEe those perpetrators are overwhelmingly white or street shooting happen in the Lehigh Valley BECAUSE the shooters are young black or Latino men in most cases.
But to totally ignore those factors is silly and counter productive.
To the hospitals--- DA's --- Police Departments --- Coroner's office..... show us the data. If you don't have it, can't plot it or won't share it, step aside, your don't meet the minimum requirement for compedence in your field.

Anonymous said...

To admit that race-ethnicity-cultural/subculture does matter is NOT THE SAME as saying school shootings happen BECAUSEe those perpetrators are overwhelmingly white or street shooting happen in the Lehigh Valley BECAUSE the shooters are young black or Latino men in most cases.
But to totally ignore those factors is silly and counter productive.
To the hospitals--- DA's --- Police Departments --- Coroner's office..... show us the data. If you don't have it, can't plot it or won't share it, step aside, your don't meet the minimum requirement for compedence in your field.

Anonymous said...

IT IS NOT UNFAIR TO ASK WHERE ARE THE LEADERS IN THE LATINO COMMUNITY??????
Very few appear to be assuming a leadership role.
Very few!

Anonymous said...

I feel way safer anywhere in Southside Bethlehem than I do almost anywhere in large sections of Allentown. ( I live in Allentown.)
What till this happens near the NIZ, and it's a question of when not if. How is that going to effect the master plan for the Queen City?
This is NOT a retorical question ladies and gentlemen.

Anonymous said...

To suggest its all about race makes us an ugly people.

To suggest race plays no part makes us a stupid people.

Anonymous said...

But blaming it all on guns is so easy and clean.
Right Dean?

Anonymous said...

We simply CAN'T legislate morality.

We can ban drugs, guns, all forms of crimes, etc. but they'll still be around, with other devices than could be harmful.

I mean, why can't I own a gun for target practice, a knife for cutting bread, a razor for shaving?

Anonymous said...

If McClure or Reibman were Mayor and had not attended, O'Hare would have had three different topics about it.

Anonymous said...

2:48
Very intelligent post dude. Real sharp.

Anonymous said...

A COMMUNITY THAT STILL HAS A SOUL?????

Spare me please!

The Southside has ten times the soul and heart that Allentown has. 10xs!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

........ and God bless those that rallied to march against gun violence in Easton.

Sorry to say it but it must be said.... Allentown is the place missing a soul or a community heart beat.
Allentown is the Sick Man of the Lehigh Valley, there's no escaping it and the rot, political and cultural, infects the entire Valley.

We had better find some way to turn this around or our Valley pays the price, sooner or later.

Anonymous said...

Dean Pierpoint, why not call for a ban on alcohol, most clearly a factor?
You seemed to be looking for some simple solutions. Try alcohol. It's often the common denominator, isn't it?

Mezzacrappa said...

Bernie is a recovering alcoholic, but he still enjoys the occasional meth fueled gay sex binge.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"If McClure or Reibman were Mayor and had not attended, O'Hare would have had three different topics about it."

So now we know where the petty attacks come from. Thanks.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"IT IS NOT UNFAIR TO ASK WHERE ARE THE LEADERS IN THE LATINO COMMUNITY??????"

Many were there.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"9:44 When community leadership is present, or absent, it does in fact matter."

There was plenty of community leadership. You are just taking a tragedy to try and score political points, and we now know it comes from Reibman and McClure supporters. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

To 9;32 am, did they ever get that person who stabbed that woman in Nazareth?

Anonymous said...

Latino leadership. Not just folks, God bless them.... But leadership speaking in a large voice to their community to stop the shooting?
Where are they? Where is their outrage and their leadership?
I don't see it.... I don't hear it. Maybe I'm missing it.

Bernie O'Hare said...

As I indicated, there were a number of Latino leaders present and who spoke. I did not focus on the speakers, but on the community. This "where are the Latino leaders" question bothers me, too? It contains the implication that Latinos are somehow different from the rest of us and do not place the same value on life we do.

Anonymous said...

No Mayor Callahan to be seen. He is too busy with the high rollers in New York City. Be honest O'Hare, you know this.

Baron Van Munchausen said...

12:27, Listen esse while you were at home eating chiccharones and drinking grape soda my hombre Bernee was hitting the streets taking the pulse of the latino community. He is so multicultural that when he goes to eat at La Lupita he brings a copy of Vibe magazine to browse while he listens to burmese folk music on his ipod.

Anonymous said...

But was he smoking Kool menthols?

Anonymous said...

Bigots. Puerto Ricans have been part of Bethlehem's fabric for three generations.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"No Mayor Callahan to be seen. He is too busy with the high rollers in New York City. Be honest O'Hare, you know this"

I see that Reibman and/or McClure supporters continue to politicize a tragedy. They're such nice people.

Anonymous said...

Vigils like this are a joke. Its a fact that the South Side has now become a war zone. The Morning Call ran a piece this morning trying to down play the violence and NOT ONE mention of the muggings of unsuspecting Lehigh students that take place on a regular basis. NOT ONE MENTION!! The south side is not safe. Period. More Police doing beat work around the clock is needed over there instead of stupid vigils!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Peace is not possible until the community makes clear it will not tolerate violence. That is why these vigils are important, especially to those who are there. They also provide healing. Sorry you have such hatred in your heart.

Anonymous said...

Way safer than Allentown dude, way safer.
Southside a war zone?

This guy is clueless. Absolutely clueless.

Anonymous said...

Why are Latinos involved in so much violence Bernie ?
Tell us.
Why?

Anonymous said...

These young PR men do put a lower value on life than the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

anon 12:57, Bernies answer to your question is that you are a bigot for asking it.

Simple answers for the real bigots like Bernie.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I have answered these questions, so you must be stupid in addition to being bigoted.

Anonymous said...

There is a problem down there. Especially with the roberies. There has been for a while.

Anonymous said...

983 murders on the island of PR last year !!!
I'd say they had a little problem with killing as well.
PR is about twice the size of Roade Island.

You never said what those factors are BH.
Do tell?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Yeah, I did. I mentioned the poverty, unemployment and lack of education. But in addition to being a bigot, you are stupid.

Anonymous said...

Do we know the income level or employment status of the shooters at the PR Club shoot out?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Let's drop the sophism and take your drug cocktail. You can still wake up a bigot.

Anonymous said...

So your answer is to attack and call people names? That advances the conversation.
Very well then.

Anonymous said...

Did Robinson and Apple kill because they were poor or uneducated ?

Anonymous said...

As long as poor, uneducated, under employed, Latinos continue to flock to Allentown, Reading etc.we will continue to see a rise in crime and gunfire.
Could Bernie be right ?

Anonymous said...

983 killings?
WOW!

Anonymous said...

Disagree with Bernie and your an asshole!

Anonymous said...

I don't beleive it, no way.

Anonymous said...

I don't beleive it, no way.

Anonymous said...

I don't beleive it, no way.

Anonymous said...

Did I understand from a Vidieo on the rally that the president of the club had lost a 20 year old son to violence?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I did not hear that.

Anonymous said...

Check the MCall vid.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I just watched it and there is no such reference.

http://www.mcall.com/videogallery/73617612/News/VIDEO-Bethlehem-community-holds-a-Prayer-and-Candle-Vigil-Against-Violence#gl-0

Anonymous said...

Try Expresstimes, I'm certain I heard her speak for a moment and with considerable grief talk of losing a son at 20.

Anonymous said...

Try Expresstimes, I'm certain I heard her speak for a moment and with considerable grief talk of losing a son at 20.

Anonymous said...

MCall--Sat Dec 8
Front Page
"This Community Needs to Heal"
JD Malone

Evelyn Rivera, President PR Benifical Society talks about her 20 year old son "lost to violence".

Bernie O'Hare said...

You said it was on a video. Thanks for wasting my time and stay off this blog, please. It is not here for you to focus on your hatred for Latinos. In addition, you are OT.

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