Gun violence in Birmingham: how to stop the bleeding?

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The magic city is riddled with bullet holes, crushed dreams and broken hearts. 2022 has been particularly bloody. Birmingham is on the verge of a record year for homicides. How to stop the bleeding?

AL.com and the Birmingham Times are collaborating on a series of reports focusing on the contributing factors that may have fueled the high homicide rate in 2022 and magnifying the voices of those affected by the violence or working in areas to reduce some of criminality.

RELATED: As homicides escalate, Birmingham Times and AL.com launch joint series on gun violence – al.com

RELATED: Violent weekend leaves 5 men gunned down in 3 Jefferson County towns; victims identified – al.com

RELATED: Birmingham mum after losing 3rd son to violence: ‘Lay down your arms and love one another’ – al.com

RELATED: Republicans MAGA and AL GOP: Stab the Blues in the back – al.com

Al.com Journalist Carol Robinson is on the front lines of the daily carnage. Here is an excerpt from one of his recent reports:

Theta Johnson stood in front of the yellow crime scene tape on Saturday afternoon with grief written on her face as she gazed at the bloodstained white sheet that covered her son’s body.

Johnson’s son, Rodriquez “Dreke” Powell, 32, and his nephew, Justin Taylor, 35, had just been shot in a hail of gunfire as they sat inside a Mustang on Inglenook Street in Birmingham.

Taylor was rushed to hospital where he died shortly after arriving.

Powell barely got out of the car before he was killed on the pavement.

For Johnson, the scene was all too familiar.

Powell is her third son to die of violence in Birmingham.

Taylor, who was like a son to her, was her second nephew killed in the street.

Her faith, she says, is what allows her to overcome the losses.

“I can’t say, ‘Again, Lord?’ No, because I trust God,’ Johnson said Sunday. “He lent them to us. They are not ours. They belong to God.”’

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JD Crowe is the cartoonist for Alabama Media Group and AL.com. He won the RFK Human Rights Award for Editorial Cartoons in 2020. In 2018, he received the Rex Babin Memorial Award for local and state cartoons by the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. Follow JD on FacebookTwitter @Crowejam and Instagram @JDCrowepix.

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