Monday, June 15, 2009

Too Close For Comfort

Yesterday, I headed over to visit the Mattress Factory (one of my favorite museums in Pittsburgh). I skipped their fabulous annual Urban Garden Party to attend their free Sunday Community Garden Party. Unfortunately, as I was arriving a 22-year old Wilkinsburg man was on his way to the hospital after being shot around the corner from the museum. He died at Allegheny General Hospital at 3:08pm. Respectfully, the museum closed its doors, and I walked past cop cars to get back in my car and head home.

I've questioned whether to publicize this sad event or to let it pass. I don't want to deter folks from appreciating the thought-provoking exhibits and fun parties that the Mattress Factory specializes in. However, it's important to realize that the North Side is a dichotomy. The lovely houses of the Mexican War Streets intermingle with the gang violence of Allegheny City. If we don't force ourselves to look at the problems, we will never deal with them. The most unfortunate of these monthly tragedies are when the victims are innocent, like 12-year-old Jolesa Barber.

These dichotomies are found throughout Pittsburgh, so I don't mean to single out the North Side. The Waterfront development contrasts with Homestead's problems. On the South Side we deal with the dichotomy of drunken college students and senior citizens, but at least both sides tend to steer clear of guns. East Liberty is being splintered into East Side which has even spawned a documentary, "East of Liberty." But appropriately, filmmaker Chris Ivey is moving onto the North Side.

And if you think that people on the North Side don't care, you need to watch this video:

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