Willie Gilbert lived in this house in West Oakland— his cousin, also a teen, was shot to death just a year ago.
opinion piece by Lee Benson
Students at McClymonds are once again grieving — this time for Willie Gilbert, a former student who liked to shoot hoops and was one of a handful of teens to own a car. Gilbert, who will be buried Friday, died from gunshot wounds 10 days ago at Highland Hospital, with police still trying to determine exactly where the shooting took place.
This is the second murder in 2014 of a student who attended McClymonds. In March, sophomore Denzel Jones was fatally shot in front of the Boys’ and Girls’Club on Market Street,
“It’s a shock because i just seen him not too long ago,” said senior Luckie Lovette. “He was one of the first people I met here, he was a funny dude, he would rap with me and stuff. He was a cool dude. He was a good friend of mine for some years and I’m going to miss him.”
The news of his death spread quickly on Facebook and Instagram. It hit students even harder because of the cumulative effect of the murders of friends in Oakland — including the fatal shooting of a young teenage mother by her brother.
Gilbert was a popular figure. “I knew Willie since middle school,” said Deshawn Nelson, a senior. “It’s just sad to see something like that happen and it’s a shame that he’s gone so soon. He deserved to live life just like the rest of us and someone took his life away from him.”
Lionel Hamilton, a senior at Mack, said, “I was devastated when I heard the news, I didn’t want to believe it but I saw the news and everybody was posting it on Instagram and Facebook. I’ve known him since we were little, he was like a brother to me. I was just with him the other day but it hurts me to know that I will never see him again.”
This shocked me as well. I was asleep when a friend called me with the news early Monday morning. It’s sad because I’ve known him since my freshman year; he was always a goofy person and fun to be around. It’s sad to know that I’m never going to see another one of my friends again.
These situations make you wonder who is going to be next. The entire class of 2014 is dealing with their grieving differently. Some are just letting their emotions show because they can’t help it while others just sit there and try to hold it in. The truth is that we are all hurting from the situation, especially because nobody expected it but you have to allow everyone to grieve in their own way.
“No one expected this at all,” said Lovette. “I guess what they say is true: if you look to your left and look to your right, some of ya’ll ain’t gonna make it. It feels like half my class is already gone.”
Will New Gun Laws in Oakland Make Mack School Students Safer?
by Anthony Beron
Will tracking guns reduce violence? Or is this just another unworkable solution?
In Oakland, guns appear and multiply. And get used, over and over again.
At McClymonds, students feel mixed about the effectiveness of proposed assembly bill number 180, sponsored by Rob Bonta, D-Alameda that allows the city of Oakland to pass its own gun regulations. Would it have any impact on the street violence that Mack students witness?
“As younger people in the streets get guns, they don’t wanna settle out a fight with their hands- they just kill with a gun,” declares a solemn-looking Lee Benson.
Gun control remains a major problem in Oakland, especially West Oakland. Five McClymonds High students and alumni were shot in 2012, which is just a fraction of the 1,594 total shooting victims in Oakland last year.
Three hundred and sixty crimes occur per square mile in the “hella” city, which is 320 above the national median according to the website neighborhoodscout. The Business Insider ranked Oakland as the second most dangerous city in the United States as of 2012.
“The main problem with this is if we track guns that will just give people another reason to use them more quickly,” argued Kardel Howard, “they’re defiant, and there’ll be more violent if rules and deadlines are forced onto them.”
Others feel that you just do the math. “Less guns means less violence,” said Jacob Miles, Mack senior.
“’The opponents like to paint it as some unreasonable restriction on gun ownership,’” said California senator Darrell Steinberg to the Sacramento Bee. “’And these bills are anything but. They are drawing a very careful distinction between gun ownership for sport, hunting and even self-defense – versus these guns that by definition fire dozens or hundreds of rounds indiscriminately and kill people.’”
Will restrictions work? We will see when (if) this new proposed assembly bill is signed by Governor Jerry Brown by October 13th.
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