‘Why aren’t we angry?’: Memphis pastor urges community to address violence against children


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis pastor says it will take us all to address growing violence, especially against children.

“Memphis is a city under siege. We are a city in war,” Pastor Bill Adkins said three months ago. “This is a warzone. This is not a community.”

Since he made those remarks, 45 children have been shot, bringing the total for the year to 76.

“It’s still a war zone,” Adkins said when we spoke to him Friday. “We have serious problems.”

Those problems include Le Bonheur Children’s hospital breaking a monthly record for children shot in May and Memphis Police being tasked with investigating 10 murders involving children this year.

In April, Adkins stood side-by-side with other faith leaders wondering why people weren’t more concerned about the violence against children.

“Why aren’t we mad? Why aren’t we angry?” Adkins said. “Why aren’t we turning in murderers of children? Why aren’t we reporting to the police who they are? What is it about us now that we don’t seem to care as much about our children being murdered?”

This past week, at least five children were either shot or stabbed. One of them, 7-year-old Kelby Shorty, didn’t survive.

Adkins says he’s confident new Memphis Police Chief CJ Davis can turn things around but it will take time.

“Our new police chief is finding herself in a battle. I think she’s going to eventually be victorious but Memphis is very dangerous right now,” Adkins said.

In the meantime, Adkins says it will take faith leaders getting out of the church and into the community, creating programs and opportunities if we want to see our city move in a positive direction to address violent crime.

“I want to see a reduction in our 40 percent unsolved murder rate. That’s why we did the 901-WRAP, the witness relocation assistance program. I want to see us reduce that number down to the 20 percentile. I’d love to see us solve a lot of these murders,” Adkins said.

If you have any information, call Crime Stoppers at 901-528-CASH.

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