A sad milestone is being marked by a murder vigil in New Jersey, entering the fourth day of the event to mark the record number of deaths in Camden.
The New Jersey murder vigil is set to last 67 hours, one for each of the victims of violence who died in a homicide in the city in 2012. Sister Helen Cole has been organizing the vigils since 1995, and 2012 marks the highest number of hours — and deaths — so far with which Cole has had to contend.
Cole, who has been heading up Guadalupe Family Services, an outreach agency, for nearly two decades says that, despite her long-term work with the community, few answers as to how to stop the bloodshed are known. She laments:
“If I had the answer … I would be on the mountaintop proclaiming it.”
NJ.com notes that the victims of violence honored with the New Jersey murder vigil range in age, with many children included in the sad count:
“The youngest victim was 2-year-old Zahree Thomas who, according to officials, was decapitated by his drugged mother in their Camden rowhouse on Aug. 22. The 33-year-old mother, Chevonne Thomas, fatally stabbed herself after hanging up on emergency dispatchers … Thirteen of the 67 homicide victims were under the age of 20 … Two were under the age of 10.”
Fifty-five of the victims counted in the vigil died of a gunshot wound, and seven were stabbed.
Of the reasons behind the violence, Cole says that placing the blame on families doesn’t help:
“How can you say it’s because of parenting when the streets are calling their kid’s names?”
The New Jersey murder vigil went on until 6 pm tonight.