Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Danger Faces the Innocent

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Danger Faces the Innocent

Article excerpt

LAQUITA ADAMS and Jonelle Fury have seen more deaths in their 17 years than most people see in a lifetime.

The two inner-city teen-agers have their own acts together. Both are seniors at the Central Visual and Performing Arts High School and plan to attend college next year - Adams at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Fury at Harris-Stowe State College here.

Both have walked straight and narrow paths in their high school years.

But that hasn't prevented them from witnessing violence all around them.

"People I know have been killed for clothes, in one case over a girl, jealousy, stupid stuff," said Fury, who lives in the Walnut Park neighborhood.

"I know a lot of people who have been killed," said Adams, who lives in the College Hill neighborhood. "They've been killed in gang violence, over drugs, money they owed somebody, even over territory."

Territory?

"If you live in a neighborhood where there's a lot of drug dealing, like I do, and if new people move in and start selling drugs, somebody's going to get killed," she said.

The comments of Adams and Fury come as "Let's Stop Kids Killing Kids" - a weeklong campaign against youth violence - progresses in cities across the nation. Locally, Mayor Freeman Bosley Jr. kicked off the event Friday with a rally and a conversation with 200 students at Vashon High School. The centerpiece of the week, sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, is a television program that will air at 7 o'clock tonight on Channel 4 and Channel 30.

In a way, Fury said, many of today's teen-agers don't feel their lives are important. "A lot of kids figure they're going to die anyway, so what's the use?" she said. "Plus, when somebody gets shot, a lot of times the police don't even come to the scene for a long time," she said. "Maybe they're scared, too, I don't know. But the people who are doing the shooting figure they'll probably get away with it. And most of the time they do. It seems like even the police don't care."

Even though they're not involved in the violence themselves, Fury and Adams have been affected by it.

"In 1993, I saw more deaths of young people than I had ever seen before, and it scared me," she said. …

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