The wall at the Boys and Girls Club on Market and 24th Street commemorates Denzel Jones.
photo and story by Anthony Beron
McClymonds high school students were shocked by the shooting in front of the Boys and Girls Club on Market and 24th Streets Saturday night, in which McClymonds sophomore Denzel Jones, 15, was killed along with a 35-year-old man.
“It’s a dangerous corner,” said freshman Jasmine Vilchis. “It makes me think about safety and worry about the killers, still on the loose.”
Vilchis was within earshot of the shooting, and recalls gunshots “ringing in the night, leaving everything silent.”
Spanish teacher Elsa Ochoa described him as having a lot of friends and as a student who presented a reserved resonance. “We’ve lost another youth to violence in Oakland.”
Several grief counselors were available Monday to help students sort out their emotions.
His family asked the public Sunday to help find the gunman who killed him. Police told reporters they have no suspects and no motive yet.
Jones, nicknamed “Beans,” had only attended McClymonds since winter break. He had transferred from Oakland High School and said he most enjoyed math. His sister, Sharda Macon, a psychology major at Laney College, told KTVU, “We just really need a lot of support right now. It’s hard losing a kid. He’s just a baby.”
Debate coach and journalism assistant Pamela Tapia saw him as a student full of potential and fraught with academic talent, and as someone with a strong work ethic.
“He was genuine, intelligent and mindful. It’s so horrible that he had so much talent that wasn’t harvested; he always turned in the best work and was one of the best students I’ve had.”
In front of the Boys and Girls Club, bystanders stopped to sign two enormous posters and light candles. A huge teddybear and red and white balloons — his favorite colors — also were placed nearby.
“He was hecka quiet,” said freshman Nicole Funes. “He looked smart, like he was capable of doing good work.”
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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Tagged ab 180, gun control, jerry brown, violence, youth