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Duke Chapel discussion focuses on Durham crime

Posted October 20, 2014

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— Where is the hope in addressing crime in Durham?

When asked during a panel discussion about the issue at Duke Chapel on Monday night, a district court judge and a Duke University history professor emphasized love for one another.

Joslin Simms, who also sat on the panel, didn’t have an answer.

Her 30-year-old son, Rayburn Antonio Demarcus Simms, was killed after he was shot while in his vehicle on Leon Street near Broad Street on May 21, 2005.

His killing remains unsolved.

“I am still going through that anger and pain right now,” Simms said. “There is a part of me that is never going to heal.”

Monday’s conversation, titled “Responding to Violence with Justice and Mercy,” is part of the chapel’s Bridge Series, which seeks to connect people from various walks of life to discuss issues of shared concern.

The talk comes as a rash of shootings earlier this year increased the city’s crime rate by 30 percent between January and June, compared with the first six months of 2013, according to Durham police.

Aggravated assaults were up 50 percent in the first half of 2014, to 587 from 391 last year. Meanwhile, the number of homicides in the city dropped from 13 to 10 in the same period.
Police said a series of retaliation shootings between rival gangs played a role in the jump in assaults.

“We should be protesting these numbers in Durham,” said Simon Partner, the Duke professor.

The panelists cited common denominators behind the numbers. Durham County Chief District Court Judge Marcia Morey said most of the defendants she sees are minorities who receive criminal records at a young age. Rev. Melvin Bullock, retired chaplain of Polk Correctional Institution, said broken families are to blame.

Simms, the mother, blames limited opportunities for youth.

“They have to rob and sell drugs,” she said. “Stir it up and it will explode.”

While Monday’s conversation focused on an important concern in Durham, only about 20 people attended.

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  • disgusted2010 Oct 21, 2014

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    The people of which you speak don't want equality. They have been taught that everything will be given to them and what is not they can steal or sell drugs and buy and the community supports them. All a part of the great society.

  • btneast Oct 21, 2014

    It was the implementation of the Great Society programs and the expansion of the welfare state that did far more damage It certainly didn't help the situation, but this dysfunctional family problem existed long before welfare rode into town.....

  • btneast Oct 21, 2014

    The 15 year old kid who cuts my grass was shut down by a Wendell Town Councilman who said he had to go apply for a work permit, get a business license and insurance before he could cut another yard in town Did you question him? I would have been at the very next Town Council meeting, making sure all present heard about it. A Town Councilman cannot enforce anything. They can alert the proper person and suggest they look into it.....but making something as ridiculous as this very public would have shut him down very quickly.

  • Kristin Byrne Oct 21, 2014
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    It was publicized. The Rev tried to spread the word about the meeting. He was very vocal in trying to get people to come. His pleas fell on deaf ears.

  • foodstamptrader Oct 21, 2014

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    The 11 million illegals living in our country now do most of the "unglamorous work" that you and I did as young folks. When you have to compete with illegals for lawn mowing, McD's, and painting gigs, its tough to find work for a teenager. But we want to welcome more competition into our midst and disregard our immigration laws. Legal taxpaying citizens are an afterthought....

  • foodstamptrader Oct 21, 2014

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    It was the implementation of the Great Society programs and the expansion of the welfare state that did far more damage. For women to get welfare support, they had to have more kids, and NOT have a male at home. The economic incentive to be single caused marriage to break down. The hopelessness of generational dependency on government for one's livelihood destroyed initiative and self respect. The whole liberal cradle to grave handout scheme has damaged the black community in countless ways. It is shameful....

  • foodstamptrader Oct 21, 2014

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    "have seen it all before" and "it's hopeless" probably hits closest to the truth.

  • Bullcity34 Oct 21, 2014

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    Haha unfair police tactics? Classic liberal response. No accountability.

  • Todd Singleton Oct 21, 2014
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    The 15 year old kid who cuts my grass was shut down by a Wendell Town Councilman who said he had to go apply for a work permit, get a business license and insurance before he could cut another yard in town. These are our esteemed elected representatives looking out for jobs and opportunities for youth. The ignorance and pretentious arrogance of the Good Sam Club cannot be matched. I just wonder if the councilman's child had some competition in the yard mowing business? That's the only time a politician sees fit to regulate, when it destroys a level playing field.

  • Todd Singleton Oct 21, 2014
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    A lot of suburbs of Atlanta are thriving black FAMILY communities with substantial incomes. Not a lot of hoodies, hanging out on street corners and baby daddies to be found either. Coincidence?

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