Opinion

Full court press on shootings

ITEM FILE PHOTO
Officers investigate the scene of a fatal shooting on Chestnut Street in this Jan. 13, 2017 photo.

The police department and elected city officials must take comprehensive and immediate steps to ensure Lynn residents are not endangered by gunfire in a city that saw six shootings one fatal between Friday and Saturday nights.

The outbreak of gunfire in a city not characterized by violence or lawlessness left four people injured and sent bullets into two cars and a house. It cut a swath across the city, from Austin Square, where the first shooting occurred on Friday, to Goodridge Street.

Police have urged residents to be cautious and investigators are committed to around-the-clock law-enforcement attention to the crimes. The shootings are being described as not random but not definitively related.

Every location where a shooting occurred on Friday and Saturday took place in a populated part of the city, including several streets where residents live in close proximity in multi-family residential buildings.

There is no question the majority of Lynn’s residents are law-abiding people who go to work, raise families and pursue pastimes not remotely related to violent and illegal activity. The people responsible for the weekend shootouts had motivations and reasons for their conduct and their actions represent a threat to local residents.

Police commanders and elected leaders should give residents a clear perspective on the danger posed by these lawless individuals. They should define, without revealing any investigative details, the efforts being made to rid the streets of armed menaces.

Residents must be assured they can move freely throughout the city on foot or in a vehicle without fear of gunfire. Parents must be assured their children can walk to school and participate in after-school activities without fear of violence.

Any act of violence has the potential to cause a ripple effect in a community. The potential for violence and the specter of danger are often out of proportion with a small number of acts that assume an outsized stature thanks to the media.

But city residents and leaders cannot tolerate even the impression that armed lawbreakers are using the city streets and neighborhoods as a stage for criminal acts. The city cannot return to the level of violence Lynn experienced 25 years ago when two teenagers were among the fatal shooting victims tallied up in the early 1990s.

There are twisted and misguided reasons and motivations behind Friday’s and Saturday’s shootings and the police must hunt down the people responsible for the killing and maimings. Lynn cannot be a home to criminals and it cannot be a community saddled with an undeserved reputation for lawlessness.

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