Vigil Held In Bakersfield For Victims Of Gun Violence

AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File

So-called gun violence has reportedly been on the rise continually since last summer. Even before then, such violence wasn’t exactly at a rate of zero. As such, it’s a problem.


And, as many of you know, I’m not a big fan of protests that seek to address violent crime. They’re stupid and don’t accomplish a damn thing except to allow people to pat themselves on the back for doing something without them having to, you know…do something.

Yet a vigil in Bakersfield is a bit different.

Saxophone music soothed a crowd of 30 people at the Liberty Bell plaza Tuesday as victims advocates, city leaders and community members gathered to commemorate victims slain by gun violence and raise awareness of Bakersfield’s skyrocketing homicide rate at a vigil organized by Thee Next Steps.

Last year, Kern County had the highest homicide rate in the entire state and proved to be the deadliest year on record with 45 homicides rocking the community to its core, Bakersfield Police Chief Greg Terry said.

This year threatens to be more dangerous, with 44 homicides at August’s end, Terry said.

Terry, a speaker at the event, came to remember the survivors and victims of gun violence. Solutions for the rampant murders throughout the city must be rooted within a community-led response, he added.

See, I tend to view vigils as a little different. Those are more about remembering the victims of violence, rather than pretending you’re doing something about it.

Yes, Chief Terry talked about addressing the issue, but note that he didn’t pretend that the vigil was a solution. Instead, he talked about how a community-led response was necessary.

Also mentioned in the above-linked article is that many of these are drive-by shootings, which presents challenges to law enforcement.


All of that is fine and well. However, I can’t help but think about how this is California, the state with the strictest gun control laws in the entire nation. Those are the laws we’re told that if we all enacted would make our lives so much safer.

It damn sure doesn’t sound like it’s done much for Bakersfield.

To their credit, though, the words “gun laws” or “gun control” didn’t seem to come up. It seems the good people of Bakersfield aren’t looking to restrict people’s rights as a way to address their problem with “gun violence.” Instead, they’re focused on community-oriented approaches, which are far more likely to yield positive results.

Gun laws don’t actually do much, but a community that gets involved in preventing people from going down the path that leads to so-called gun violence is one that will see far, far better results. Frankly, I didn’t expect to see that out of such a large city in California. Maybe the people of Bakersfield have lessons they can pass on to the rest of the Golden State.

Then again, I’m not completely sure the rest of the state is ready to listen. Then again, considering who might well become their next governor, I may well be wrong.

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