Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A 14 year old Bronx gang member was shot by the NY police

I think this is an interesting story about what life is sometimes like in the Bronx. 

New York City is made up of 5 basic areas (called boroughs - pronounced BUR ooos).  The boroughs are Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.

The Bronx is one of the poorest areas in the Unites States, while Manhattan is one of the richest.

In this story we read about how the New York police shot and killed a 14 year old boy who was running down a street trying to shoot another person. 

Yes, the 14 year old had a gun and was out in the streets (at 3am) chasing another person, trying to kill him.  Apparently the 14 year old was a member of a 'gang.'  A gang is a group of young people who are usually very violent and who make money illegally, usually through selling drugs.

The gun the 14 year old was using:

The article:


Vocabulary to help you understand the article:

to open fire - to shoot a gun

rookie officers - beginning officers.  A rookie is someone just starting out.  A rookie baseball player is playing in his first year.

detectives - these are police officers who investigate crimes.

a gunslinger - someone who is shooting a gun or someone who likes shooting at other people.  It is a term from the old west, when almost everyone carried a gun and had to know how to shoot.

to rail against - to complain about; to attack something verbally or orally

a flood of firearms - a lot of guns.

falling into the wrong hands - if something falls into the wrong hands, something is being used by someone who should not be using it.

Melrose - an area in the Bronx

a pistol - a small gun that can be held in one hand.

a commissioner - the leader of the police department.

due in court - if you are due in court you are expected or supposed to come to court. If you take a book out of the library, the book will be due back at the library on a certain day.

a rap - an accusation, a charge.  If you accuse someone of something you claim the person did something wrong.

to recall - to remember.

to intervene - to get involved in something to stop something bad from happening.

undetermined - not known

to confiscate - to take something away from someone.

unfolded - happened.

in pursuit - if you are in pursuit of someone, you are chasing someone or trying to catch someone.

firing wildly at his foe - shooting wildly at his enemy or person he wanted to kill.

justified - if a shooting was justified, it means it was ok or morally right to do it.

distraught - if you feel distraught, you feel terrible - you feel distraught when something unexpectedly terrible happens.

a sophomore - he was in his second year of high school.

Trayvon Martin - a black young man who was killed by George Zimmerman.  There are a couple articles about this from last month on this blog.

Sean Bell - Bell was shot by police the night before his wedding.  He was drunk and apparently tried to hit a police officer with his car.  Other police officers fired about 200 bullets into his car, killing him.

bring him up on charges of murder - the aunt (his mother's sister) believes that the police officers should be arrested for killing the 14 year old boy.

intent on killing - if you are intent on doing something, you really want to do something.

condolences - sorrow.  The police commission expressed his condolences (sorrow) to the mother of the boy.  Yet, why did the mother allow the boy to be outside shooting at people?

reach out directly - to make contact with the family directly.

this juncture - this point in time

a felony - a major crime.  A misdemeanor is a minor crime.

stemming from - coming from

alleged - apparent; if someone is alleged to be a murderer, he hasn't been proved to be the killer, but the police think he is.

menacing - harassing, scaring, threatening

insufficient evidence - not enough evidence.


Discussion/writing topics:

1) Considering the fact that this young man had been arrested before for violent crimes and his mother could not seem to control him, should the police commissioner have expressed his condolences to her?

2) Does this story change your perception of what life might be like in New York City?

3) Basically, the mayor of New York City has done nothing to end poverty and violence in areas like the Bronx.  His solution has been to send extra police officers into poor and violent areas.  Is this a good solution?

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