By now everyone has heard about little Heaven Sutton. She is the 7-year-old child who was shot dead by a thug, a killer, a low-life piece of scum, a devil masquerading as a human being. I was going to write an entire column to state how I felt about the murderer of that baby. As I began to write, I called him every name I could think of. And the more I damned him, the more I realized that he has an entire neighborhood full of accomplices in this tragedy.

This killer wasn’t created in a vacuum. He was created in a community. There are always warning signs: If your young male relative doesn’t have a job but can afford the latest gym shoes, something is wrong. If he is walking with all his friends wearing matching outfits consisting of white T-shirts and jeans, it ain’t because they’re in a musical group. If the person doesn’t have a job but can hang out all night and sleep all day, that’s a problem. And if he has a number of co-stars who also don’t have jobs, schooling, goals and positive aspirations, then they supplement the drama with their poor behavior.

Last week I wrote about how our thugs live here in Austin because they are in mama or grandmama’s house. About the only thing they own is the $2 T-shirts on their backs. They don’t own property and couldn’t care less about the effect their behavior has on the community. The only thing they run is their mouth and that’s not saying much, considering that what comes out their mouths is filled with MF this, or she-it that, and peppered with lots of “niggas” in between.

Adding to the poor behavior of these young males (they are not men by a long shot) are parents whose skills are lacking. At almost 11 p.m., no one should be selling candy or anything else on a residential block. Young children should be in the house and in bed. Playing should be reserved for the backyard and not up and down the street. Lack of any kind of order in their lives is the reason so many of our children demonstrate poor academic performance. They live in an environment that never settles down for the night so that everyone can rest.

The block that Heaven lived on is also at fault. No good will ever comes from an unlicensed stand operating – especially that late at night. I understand the stand also sold cigarettes. So that item, along with the snacks, will attract not just young kids but grown folks as well. Which is exactly what happened when Heaven was murdered. The killer aimed at one person who got hit in the ankle, but he killed Heaven by shooting her in the back as she ran for cover. A front yard is a place for grass and flowers and not a huge tent that won’t do a thing but invite trouble and add to the deteriorating property values. Homeowners on that block with a vested interest should have eliminated that problem as soon as it got started with calls to the city, police and attendance at the BEAT 2532 meetings.

Lastly, many people have been clamoring for those new lights that let you see for blocks. They have been touted as making the neighborhood “safer.” But with folks willing to shoot and not hide their faces, they only serve to better illuminate the target.

This community and this society created the hell in which Heaven lived. It’s a damn shame she had to die to finally get to live in the place she was named for!