The recent shooting of 7-year-old Divan Silva is yet another reminder that in some parts of Boston, innocence is no guarantee of safety.
Asked about the shooting by WBZ, Mayor Marty Walsh sounded frustrated by what he called a muted response.
“What’s sad is that there’s no outrage or protests about a 7-year-old being shot,” the mayor said. “So I’m hoping that we can continue to rally, and continue to make the streets of Boston safe."
Those comments echo an argument made by cultural conservatives who argue that so-called black-on-black crime doesn’t elicit the outrage that it should. As such, they’re politically risky.
So I stopped by the spot on Bowdoin Street in Dorchester where the shooting occurred to gauge the reaction. And I found a fair number of local residents who agree with the mayor.
“I mean, that’s true — I definitely agree with him,” said Bruce Hopkins. "I didn’t see nothing out here. Nobody coming out. It was just a one-and-done. I heard about it once.”
“I think there should have been a protest for that,” said Jecara King. “Because they protest for everything else, like the cops killing black people, and stuff like that.”
But that doesn’t mean there’s no outrage. In fact, there’s plenty.
“I was shocked,” Robert Thompson said of Silva’s shooting, his voice rising in anger. “I mean a kid, that young, to be in a shootout — it’s ridiculous! Utterly ridiculous!”
But that anger coexists with weariness — a conviction that in some parts of the city, this is simply what happens.
“Same thing we’ve been talking about [forever] — trying to get the guns off the streets,” said Herb Smith. “It’s just another day in the neighborhood.”
And every time someone like Divan Silva is shot, that sense of resignation gets reinforced.