What began as just another news story about an urban teen that had strayed from the path, ending up riddled with bullets in the middle of an urban intersection, soon turned in to an ever-evolving, investigative news piece that with every turn, revealed yet another complicated layer of fifteen-year-old Jesus Reyes.
The week ended with the publication of our news story that prompted some very deep introspection and yes, even a tear or two from this crusty old codger of a newshound.
Reyes was shot to death last week and the car he was riding in coasted to a stop in the middle of the Truman Road and Hardesty intersection. His friend, who was rushed to the hospital clinging to life, apparently had eight slugs plugged in to his body.
While Reyes caused much angst and anger as he liberally applied his SCREW or REZR moniker on signs, walls and fences throughout Northeast, the Dog thinks about the creative light that was snuffed out because of the destructive path he chose. The “what if” questions remain for his friends, family and those at arm’s length that had given up on what may have outwardly seemed like a hard, cold shell but inwardly cried out for acceptance and name recognition.
What if…we had tried harder to get him to change his path? What if…that skate sponsorship would have panned out? What if…the opportunity to come to the table anonymously and for positive outcomes would have been afforded by a well known, local graffiti artist, rather than a rebuff and a snarky reply?
Sadly the what if’s will be drowned out by the legion of people who will write this off as “just another…” just another urban kid gone bad. Just another urban core killing. Nothing to see here, move along. Move along.
So here’s this week’s challenge from the crusty ol’ news dog. Instead of driving by and condemning urban youth, reach out. Offer a word of encouragement. Make a commitment to be a positive change to the youth in your community. Visit the PAL (Police Athletic League) Center at 18th & White Avenue and do some mentoring. You never know. You just might be that “what if” for an at-risk kid.