In the city where Nobel Peace Prize recipient and civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King made history serving as a pastor at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, it is painful to learn of so much gun violence and senseless murders of young Black men in Montgomery, Alabama. This historic city of Alabama was where the late Rosa Parks refused to sit at the back of the bus to allow a Caucasian passenger to have her seat. Feet hurting and exhausted from work, Parks was arrested for being Black or “colored” as they referred to Black people in the 1960s. After the so many were killed and incarcerated back during the civil rights movement for generations today to be able to live a peaceful life with equal rights, it baffles the country why gun violence and the murder rate has risen in 2015.
When I was asked to write about news taking place in Montgomery, Alabama, what I discovered in my research were many crime scenes of poverty, anger, and failing gun laws to protect innocent Americans. In the case of 25-year-old Lelve Watkins, the victim was involved in a drug deal gone bad. Watkins was shot four times at the Red Lion Apartments on Narrow Lane Road by 25-year-old Dontavius Jones and 23-year-old Rico Gilmer. Neither appearing to be remorseful in their mug shots, Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey gave a heartfelt speech to all three families Wednesday afternoon as they have all lost a son to senseless gun violence. Bailey thanked his violent crime team along with the Montgomery police department for being diligent in solving the July 1, 2013 case and getting two more murderers off the streets of Montgomery this week. The looming question is; who supplied firearms to two young drug dealers?
A young 22-year-old Alfred Jones was picked up Wednesday on Farrior Street after allegedly shooting into a home on the 500 block of Elm Street and striking a woman in the head. The victim’s name has not been released. According to the Troy Messenger, she is reportedly in critical condition at Montgomery Hospital. Montgomery police have not been able to release any further information regarding the case. Jones is being on held on $75,000 bond. The question remains; was this 22-year-old mentally stable to purchase a gun?
The story of 20-year-old football running back Altee Tenpenny is a bizarre tragedy that police are still trying to wrap their heads around. Tenpenny walked into ongoing traffic waving a gun in front of the police administrative building. He reportedly fired one shot into the air, explaining to police officers that he did not want to shoot himself. The police reported Tenpenny to be intoxicated as he tried to explain the gun did not belong to him. He was arrested at 6 a.m. Sunday morning and charged with possession and discharging a firearm. Nicholls State cut Tenpenny from the football team following the incident. The following day, the young former football player was involved in a tragic car accident in Greenville, Mississippi after hitting a street sign. Tenpenny was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected from the vehicle. He was pronounced dead Tuesday evening at Delta Regional Medical Center.
It remains a mystery who the firearm belonged to as Tenpenny had explained Sunday morning he got the gun from a teammate by the name of Kaleb Kador. Kador has been suspended from the team and under review by Nicholls State while maintaining the gun did not belong to him. How did the firearm land in the hands of a young football player with a promising career? An alarming rate in gun violence steadily rises across the nation, but the republican party refuses to get to the root of their irresponsible gun laws that provide easy access to anyone to get their hands on a firearm, putting innocent people in danger.
An angry 20-year-old living in poverty does not possess the resources to ship semi automatic weapons into the country to distribute amongst his friends in his neighborhoods. A rich government, however, can.