THE LOSS OF A SON—Lydia Williams holding pictures of Jermaine Palmer. (Photo by Phillip Martin)

THE LOSS OF A SON—Lydia Williams holding pictures of Jermaine Palmer. (Photo by Phillip Martin)

(Part 3 of a 3 part series)

A shell for a handgun sells for approximately 45 cents apiece. Unfortunately, in some communities in Pittsburgh, that is the value placed on the lives of many of the African Americans who were murder victims in these communities. In 2014, there were 71 homicides in Allegheny County, and of those, 68 were African Americans.

The Pittsburgh neighborhood of Homewood has been a place where homicides have been occurring at an alarming rate. The gun violence leaves in its wake families and friends to ponder why this is happening to this once peaceful community that has become a killing field for so many of the people living there. Day after day, gunshots can be heard at all hours, leaving them to ask themselves, “Who got shot now and when will it end?” People fear that it may have been one of their children, a friend or someone from outside the close-knit neighborhood, and they wait for the answer. The uncertainty causes a stress that becomes all too familiar.

And then the call comes. Your son has been killed in a drive by, random shooting or in a gunfight in the street, terminology that once upon a time was only heard in the movies. The violence no longer is just something seen on the evening news but being witnessed on the very street on which they live. Sons and daughters, nieces and nephews, friends and strangers, no one is exempt from the weapons that are ever present in a neighborhood once full of promise, one that has devolved from a work and business economy where the only development is poverty, and the business of drugs and prostitution are a growth industry.

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