District Attorney Hayden Says Shootings May Usher In ‘Generational Calamity’

Special to the Transcript

Suffolk District Attorney Kevin Hayden expressed his fears that the rising level of multiple-person shootings in Boston could usher in a “generational calamity” for young inner-city residents.

Hayden’s comments came after three teens were shot in Dorchester Saturday night and 15-year-old Curtis Ashford Jr. was shot to death on Wednesday.  Hayden, along with police and city officials, was at the Ellington St. scene of Ashford’s shooting.  Hayden has been at numerous shooting scenes since becoming DA in January, including the TechBoston Academy shooting in March that left a teach and a student wounded.

“When I see and re-see scenes like I saw this past week, with all the bullet casings and the blood and the tragedy, I fear that I’m looking at a generational calamity of the kind we haven’t witnessed for decades, and of the kind we can’t approach with the same societal and political mindset that once prevailed.  We cannot remedy this by filling our prisons with young inner-city men. That’s a solution that is as bad, and perhaps worse, than the problem it seeks to solve,” Hayden said.

“We need a full-front, all-segment response that puts all of society’s attention on the issues driving these shootings and the resources necessary to reduce them.  That includes availability and access to guns, the willingness among these young men to use violence to settle scores, the lack of federal funding that could help boost major intervention initiatives and the need to get our private-sector organizations deeply involved in workable, sensible long-term solutions,” Hayden said.

Hayden has reached out to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce in the hopes of sitting with business leaders to discuss how Boston’s private sector might participate in the comprehensive approach he says is necessary to address the dangerous combination of illegal guns and young people willing to use them.

“This crisis can’t be measured simply by fatalities.  Every shooting wounds us as a society, whether someone gets hit or not.  The young people involved in this violence, including the ones doing the shootings, are skewing their life paths.  This has to be seen for the immediate public safety—and generational threat—that it is,” Hayden said.

Data released by the Boston Police Department shows that the number of shooting incidents between January 1, 2022 and July 3, 2022, in which at least two individuals were struck by gunfire, has nearly tripled over the same period last year.

“I hope we can meet and explore whatever options are available to us, and they may be—and probably should be—options and actions that haven’t even been thought of, much less tried.  These conversations, across all sectors, have to be had, and they have to be followed up on,” Hayden said.

“I hope everyone, including our elected federal officials, will recognize that this is a problem that demands national attention and a national, regional and local response.  We are long past the point of simply turning our backs and thinking that police and prosecutors alone can fashion a solution.  This takes all of us.”

Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden’s office serves the communities of Boston, Chelsea, Revere, and Winthrop, Mass. The office handles over 20,000 cases a year. More than 160 attorneys in the office practice in nine district and municipal courts, Suffolk Superior Court, the Massachusetts Appeals Court, the Supreme Judicial Court, and the Boston Juvenile Courts. The office employs some 300 people and offers a wide range of services and programs to serve anyone who comes in contact with the criminal justice system. This office is committed to educating the public about the services we provide, our commitment to crime prevention, and our dedication to keeping the residents of Suffolk County safe.

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