Memorial to the Lost

Memorial to the Lost
at Chester Eastside Ministries

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Teddy bear in the rain

From a letter from John Alston, of the Chester Children's Chorus.

In 2013, 23 people were murdered in Chester.  There is a tradition in Chester & other urban centers to place stuffed animals against walls & streetlights as memorials, so that passers-by will know that someone was killed.

John wrote a song for the kids to sing -- here is the last verse & chorus:

Your Teddy bear can't sit up straight.  He's soaked with all the rain.
I cry myself to sleep each night, because of all the pain.
When I see your empty room, it's hard for me to breathe.
You're at peace, now, Darling.  That's what I need to believe.

If I had known that was our very last moment,
I would have asked you to stay.  I would have held you close and prayed.
I would have begged God for one more day,
and told you, "I love you...I love you...I love you".

3 of the 22 murder victims were CCC members' older brothers.

So many T shirts

The Chester/Delco Chapter of Heeding God's Call is putting together a Memorial to the Lost 2009-2014 in Delaware County -- when it's done, it will look like this one (from DC)
For each person killed by gun violence, a t-shirt with their name, age at death and date of death, on a T made of PVC pipe, over a piece of ReBar stuck into the ground.  Pastor Anita had found t-shirts at Forman Mills for $1.20 each, but had only found 44 of the 144 we needed, so I went to buy the rest.

We use light colors (so the writing shows), preferably XL or XXL for the adults (goes over the frame easier).  Size S for the teens; little ones for the little kids.  71 XL, 27 S, 2 kids' 6-8.

We started out aiming for only light blue, yellow, and white, but there weren't enough in the 8 for $10 piles, so we branched out into grey, orange, light green.  I was soon sweating from pawing through the piles, and my cart was overflowing.  So many t-shirts.  So, so sad.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Why we stand in vigil at Mr. Miller's Gun Store

Please take a few minutes to read the Delco Times report below. Note that the accused purchased two handguns at Miller's Sporting Goods, where Heeding Chester/Delco witnesses twice monthly.

And, as you'll see from an earlier Delco Times report there is a second case pending of a woman charged with straw buying who purchased at Miller's. All the more reason for everyone who receives this email and their friends, neighbors and co-congregants to join us when we vigil at Miller's (next vigil: Tuesday, June 10th at 4pm)!

We need to let Mr. Miller know that the Delaware County faith community will not stand idle while gun retailers sell to those who would put guns on our streets. Best, Bryan Miller Executive Director Heeding God's Call
UNDER THE GUN: Trial begins for Delco woman accused of straw purchase By Alex Rose, Delaware County Daily Times MEDIA COURTHOUSE —

The trial for a Chester woman charged under a relatively new law requiring a five-year mandatory minimum sentence for those convicted of straw purchasing a gun began Tuesday before Judge James Bradley. Staci Dawson, 21, of the 2000 block of West Fourth Street, is the first person in Delaware County to be charged under the Brad Fox Law, passed a few months after Fox, a Plymouth Township Officer, was shot and killed in the line of duty by a man using a gun obtained through a straw purchase.

Dawson has been charged with providing false statements to police, tampering with government records, making false reports and two counts of illegally transferring firearms. Assistant District Attorney George Dawson (no relation) said the defendant had purchased a .40-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun on and a Kel-Tec 9 mm pistol from a Lower Chichester sporting goods store in February 2013.

Defense attorney Jason Antoine argued that these were intended for her own protection, as she lived in a rough area of Chester with her mother and had been the victim of at least two home invasions. But the Kel-Tec was found on Shamar Atkinson during a March 5, 2013, traffic stop in Chester. Atkinson pleaded guilty in December to firearms not to be possessed by a convict and was sentenced to three to six years in a state correctional facility. Dawson’s boyfriend, David Colon, was driving the car and was arrested with Atkinson on drug charges. Colon, 22, was murdered in August 2013.

Dawson reported two firearms stolen to Chester police on March 12, which she described as a “Glock .40 and a little 9,” according to Chester Officer Doug Staffelbach. Upon reviewing receipts for the weapons, Staffelbach noted that she had not bought a Glock. He said Tuesday that it was odd that a gun owner would not know the type of gun they had bought.

County Detective David Tyler said he interviewed Dawson the following day, but she only told him about the Kel-Tec. In a recorded interview played for the jury, Dawson said she bought the gun for protection, but never purchased ammunition and did not keep it loaded. She also claimed she had kept it in her bedroom until a drawer broke, after which she moved it to the basement of her mother’s house.

Dawson said she was kicked out of that house on March 2 or 3 and went to live with her father. She did not bring the gun with her, she said. Dawson also told Tyler there were multiple people coming in and out of her mother’s house that she did not know very well.

The prosecutor also played taped phone conversations between Dawson and Colon that were intercepted while Colon was incarcerated at the county prison. In one of the conversations, Colon asked Dawson if she had reported the gun stolen, to which Dawson replied, “I don’t know which one they’re talking about.” Dawson also asked Colon, “Which one did you have?” allegedly referring to the specific weapon Colon and Atkinson were in possession of at the time of their arrest.

Colon can also be heard telling Dawson not to say that he “put you up to anything.” Tyler said he had reviewed the tapes after speaking with Dawson and only then became aware of a second handgun. Colon was also interviewed March 12 and told investigators that Atkinson must have stolen the gun from Dawson, according to an affidavit of probable cause. Antoine is expected to cross-examine Tyler when the trial resumes this morning.

Chester/Delco Chapter of Heeding God's Call: Calendar