Lawmakers, local organizations address anti-violence work after weekend nightclub shooting
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Baton Rouge native Gerald Haynes knows firsthand about the crime problem in the city.
“I hurt my community so much that I feel like I owe it to them,” Haynes said.
Haynes spent most of his life in and out of jail since he was 13. He’s gone to prison on attempted murder and drug charges and has seen the destruction he and others have caused to people.
“I’ve been the victim and the perpetrator,” Haynes said. “I’ve been the person that has pried on people and hurt them, and I’ve been hurt as well. So, I understand what it is to be on both sides of the situation.”
Now in his 50′s, Hayne turned his life around and is a part of the Baton Rouge Community Street Team. The Street Team is a local group dedicated to reducing violence and gun crimes in the city.
After a mass shooting at the Dior night club downtown that left 12 people injured, Haynes says he and others have to do their part to reverse the trend.
“There are people that did not give up on me when other people did, and I have to give that back,” Haynes said.
On the federal level, Rep. Troy Carter voted to pass legislation such as the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.
The bill enhances background checks, disarms domestic abusers, and cracks down on illegal gun trafficking.
“We all have a role to make sure these weapons do not fall in the hands of people that have ill intentions,” Carter said.
But even Carter says more has to be done, and that’s where others have to step in.
He says proper education and properly storing guns is a big piece that needs to happen that could help reduce some of these crimes.
“These bullets know no party affiliations, these bullets know no race, they know no social economic bounds. Often times the victims are innocent bystanders that are not the intended target,” Carter said.Back in Baton Rouge, those in the mayor’s office says they have to work to change the community’s mindset if we want to see change.
“Think about your children and the possibility that if we don’t do anything, they may not be there,” Jazzika Matthews said.Part of that includes the work that Haynes and the Street Team are doing. That includes traveling to a lot of these high risk areas to offer counseling, intervention and other resources.Haynes says he will not give up, because the city never gave up on him.
“Everybody doesn’t feel like somebody love them. I can’t always make you feel loved, but I can make you feel like you’re worth something in this world,” Haynes said.
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