2002-09-14 / Editorial/Opinion

The Sad Tale of Willie Velez

The Sad Tale of Willie Velez

Last weekend, a degenerate who had no regard for human life snuffed out the promising life of a 19-year old Rockaway resident. Many young kids watched in horror as the unknown assailant pumped six to eight shots into Willie Velez on the corner of Beach 40 Street and Beach Channel Drive. Many from the neighborhood, of all ages, described Velez as a great kid, who was always willing to help people. The ironic twist in this case, according to residents, is that the bullets that hit Velez were meant for someone else. "He didn’t deserve this," said one teary-eyed 14-year old mourner. "This makes no sense. The kids are supposed to be the ones burying us, not the other way around," said an elderly man standing near a makeshift memorial to Velez. As in the case of slain Christ The King High School football superstar Thomas Johnson and others, the sad truth is that there will be more Willie Velez’ because people are not willing to start talking about what is happening in their community. Too many people are afraid of being labeled a "snitch" or "sell-out." Those going through life with this attitude can rest assured that fate will catch up to them, and someone they truly love will end up being slaughtered by thugs who believe taking a life is a validation of manhood. Stand up, take back your community, and wake up to the fact that next time…. the bullet could have your name on it.

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