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Star-Ledger Columnist Tries to Make Sense of the Nightmare on Schley Street

One of the many frightening aspects of Mark Di Ionno’s column today about the fatal Christmas night shooting in Newark of a 13-year-old girl taking out the trash and a 15-year-old boy visiting is the fact that an army veteran who lives on the street is now cowering in fear.

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Eighty-one-year-old Korean War vet Johnnie Shaw tells Di Ionno that he “stays inside at night,” while 60-year-old Vietnam vet and nearby resident Ernie McRae offers some solemn, generational perspective:

“All this was decent,” McRae said. “Now it’s the ‘Land of Lack.’ There’s no jobs, there’s no opportunity. There’s no parents paying attention. There’s no leadership. These kids have no place to go. But all this violence, it’s crazy.”

Di Ionno, a father of six, was unprepared for the answer he got from Schley Street visitor Quaisha Jackson when she was asked how many people – in a city under senseless, violent siege – she knew who have been murdered:

“In the last week?” It wasn’t what the questioner had in mind. He was thinking “ever.”

Jackson said maybe 13, 14, but three alone in the last six days.

The killings on Schley Street are the latest in a horrific two-week run of Essex County random violence that also claimed the lives of a college freshmen and a Hoboken lawyer. RIP.

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