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Vigil hopes to raise violence awareness

Posted February 5, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

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— A candlelight vigil held Thursday night across the street from City Hall aimed to raise awareness and activism against violence.

The names of each of the city’s 35 homicide victims last year were read aloud. One of those names was 14-year-old Damien Dunn, who died June 14 after being shot at a home in the Walnut Terrace community.

candlelight vigil against violence 2/5/09 raleigh Raleigh residents hold vigil against violence

Damien belonged to the Helping Hand Mission Marching Band, a youth-driven band for boys and girls ages 7 to 17. The band has lost two members to gun violence in less than a year.

“The kids have really had to deal with it. They’ve had their crying spells. They’ve really taken it hard,” said Sylvia Wiggins, of Helping Hand Mission.

Andre Smith, who lost his son Daniel Smith to violence in December 2007, attended Thursday’s vigil and lit a candle in honor of his son. He told others that he was able to forgive the man who killed his son.

“It didn’t take away the pain. I lost my son,” Smith said. “Forgiveness is being able to let go of the pain, let go of the anger, let go of the need for revenge.”

Daniel Smith, 21, was stabbed to death at West Side Stories, 200 S. West St. in Raleigh, following an argument with Wallace Reynold Bass Jr., police said.

Raleigh’s 35 murders last year were 20 more than 2007’s total and the highest homicide total the city has had in 30 years.

Since 21 of last year’s homicides occurred in the southeast Raleigh police district, officers have stepped up patrols there and started a community police initiative. Officers patrol neighborhoods on foot and on bicycles.


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  • Dr. Dataclerk Feb 6, 2009

    I think he was being sarcastic.......

    Not being sarcastic but telling the truth. You see it in the news everyday. Violence is here. How will we the people stop the violence?

  • haggis basher Feb 6, 2009

    "Apparently you must have been living in a cave. Wake up, violence is all around us."
    I think he was being sarcastic........and no, actually its not. Crimes against persons are still rare and doubly so for those of us in the middle and wealthy classes who avoid high risk behaviors (getting drunk, walking home alone at 2AM, buying drugs etc)

  • Dr. Dataclerk Feb 6, 2009

    I wasn't aware of violence until they had a vigil.

    Apparently you must have been living in a cave. Wake up, violence is all around us.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Feb 6, 2009

    I know people say the purpose of a vigil is to make the people who attend the vigil "feel better". From what I can tell, that's a vigil's only purpose. The people who attend these vigils obviously have some spare time. I'm sure there is a better way they could spend this time that would actually help the problem, instead of making them feel better. If they do find a way to slow down the crime, they will simply be attending more useless vigils. Their time could be used to help with the problem, instead of just dealing with them as they happen. A vigil never solved a single problem.

  • daMoFo Feb 6, 2009

    Thank goodness they're doing this. I wasn't aware of violence until they had a vigil.

  • haggis basher Feb 6, 2009

    "Politicians are aware of crime. It's their specialty, based on what we see"
    Oh no doubt but they don't usually get involved unless there is money to be made. They can still occasionally be persuaded to do their jobs and do what we would like them to do as well.

  • meh2 Feb 6, 2009

    Politicians are aware of crime. It's their specialty, based on what we see - Nifong, Daschle, Frank, Kennedy - all are criminals.

  • haggis basher Feb 6, 2009

    I know they mean well but do they really think some punk with a gun is going to care less before the next robbery or murder?

    What they need is more Cops on patrol and a zero tolerance for criminal activity. That means getting the attention of our politicians and that takes a lot more than a quiet vigil.