After my last letter on a rise in gun violence was published by Mountain Xpress when a 12-year-old was shot and killed here in Asheville [“Where Is the Outrage for Derrick?” Aug. 8, 2018], I had an email exchange with Councilman Vijay Kapoor about setting up a special task force on gun violence. Mountain Xpress had sent my letter to the mayor and other Council people, but Kapoor was the only one who replied, and Mountain Xpress published his reply with my letter.
Recently, a pregnant woman, who had been a witness in a murder trial of a man accused of shooting another pregnant woman and testified against the shooter, was assassinated in my neighborhood, and it now looks like the Asheville Police Department has set up the task force. This should have been done a long time ago.
In my exchange with Councilman Kapoor, I also suggested that the city consider installing closed-circuit TV video-monitoring cameras (this is now common in many cities and results in a decrease in gun crimes and a rise in arrests for serious crimes) in areas with a history of serious gun violence. I realize that this is an intrusion on citizens’ privacy, but I believe that citizens would prefer giving up privacy to being shot.
If one had been placed in the area where a woman was just assassinated in West Asheville, I think she quite possibly would not have been shot and murdered. At the very least, the new task force would have a better idea about who did it.
— John Penley