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Teenage visitor to STT was gunned down in apparent gang-related cross fire

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Teenage visitor to STT was gunned down in apparent gang-related cross fire

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(@everes)
Posts: 6
Active Member
Topic starter
 

How terribly terribly sad for the family of this girl – my thoughts are with them. CNN Story

I planned a trip to St. Thomas at the end of July but I will now spend my time and money in St. John.

 
Posted : July 13, 2010 11:40 pm
(@xislandgirl)
Posts: 397
Reputable Member
 

The suspect turned himself in yesterday.

It is a very sad situation and my heart goes out to the families of those affected, but it could have happened anywhere.

 
Posted : July 14, 2010 7:14 am
(@toes-in-the-sand)
Posts: 263
Reputable Member
 

I don't know that the statement "it could've happened anywhere" is accurate. Perhaps if it read, it could happen anywhere that drug and gang related violence occurs is more accurate. This is a tragedy for the young girls family and friends. They were celebrating her 15th birthday on a cruise ship excursion to Coki Beach when gunfire broke out while the taxi was passing a cemetary during a funeral. She was caught in the gunfire while on a safari type taxi as was another passenger on the taxi. Another young man lost his life. He was evidently the target of the crime. Evidently this was a shooting in retaliation for the shooting death of someone else who was shot in retaliation for another shooting. The USVI and it's residents need our prayers and the support and help from us to break this chain of violence. What can we do to help?

 
Posted : July 14, 2010 9:55 am
(@stt-resident)
Posts: 3318
Famed Member
 

It was a senseless tragedy for true and we locals are reeling in the aftermath. Don't assume otherwise for a moment. All government agencies are working together to try to ensure that something like this doesn't happen again. Maybe the VIPD should have been aware that the funeral of the young man who was shot in an earlier gang-related shooting was scheduled for that day and that time in a high density tourist location but hindsight is exactly that. Another gang-related funeral is scheduled for tomorrow at another cemetery (not the one at Coki) and the Commissioner of Police has given assurances that both this and any other similarly related funerals will be closely monitored with a big police presence.

I don't think Xislandgirl was remiss in saying that, "it could have happened anywhere" because crime is everywhere. I'm minimizing nothing and this was a senseless tragedy which has brought me to tears, not only because these pockets of stupid, ill-educated young gang members are killing each other but that a visiting child was caught in the crossfire and lost her life.

Thousands upon thousands of people visit the USVI every year and crime against tourists is minimal, despite what future visitors might be gleaning from all the blogs and forum entries in the last couple of days would have one believe. Unlike, for instance, vacation destinations such as Jamaica and the DR where the majority stay in gated communities and only go out on guided tours, the USVIs have always been a destination where freedom to safely travel around and independently explore are encouraged - and precisely why AI resorts don't do too well here.

 
Posted : July 14, 2010 10:27 am
(@toes-in-the-sand)
Posts: 263
Reputable Member
 

I agree that crime is everywhere and I will not get into a debate over whether of not it could happen anywhere. But you make a very good point. The police force was not at this funeral and that could be a contributing factor allowing this to happen. Where I live, we do not have police protection at funerals and I do not fear for my life or my families safety when passing a cemetary or funeral procession. My community has had problems with crime, drugs and gangs. When a trend toward violence appears our community, the community, officials and police force address it and do what they can to end it. To try to minimize this by saying that tourists are not TARGETED or that it COULD happen anywhere is burying more than just your toes in the sand. Perhaps if the gang members were given lessons on marksmanship, tourists would be safer since gang members are not aiming at them.
I love St Thomas and St John. I cherish the time that I am allowed to spend there. I pray that the cycle of violence can be broken. I will not stop visiting the USVI because of this. I WANT TO KNOW HOW I CAN HELP. Please do not disrespect the intellegence of prospective visitors to the USVI or the family of Lizmarie by saying that tourists are not targeted or be vigilant and you will be safe or this could happen anywhere. This teenager who was murdered was not in a neighborhood where her family should have expected that their safety was at risk. She was not stumbling around after dark looking for drugs or trouble. Denial will not break this cycle. This murder occured in broad daylight in an area where tourists and innocent members of society should expect to be safe. It occured in retaliation for a daylight murder of another person in a shopping mall. That murder probably occured in retaliation for another shooting and so on.

It is difficult to admit that there is a problem especially when the island relies on tourism but to turn this trend in the right direction requires first admitting that there is a problem. If it is admitted but only in secret it will do no good. IF THIS CYCLE CONTINUES THE USVI WILL NOT HAVE TO CONCERN ITSELF WITH HOW TO KEEP TOURISM. IT WILL HAVE LONG DEPARTED. Please refer to St Croix and how long it took to have cruise lines to even think about returning.

I fully expect that this post and/or thread will be deleted as was previous post about this subject have been deleted. I understand the reasoning behind this. But for those of you who love the USVI, please take this to heart. You cannot hide this forever. It must be faced head on NOW!

 
Posted : July 14, 2010 11:34 am
(@stt-resident)
Posts: 3318
Famed Member
 

There has been no attempt to minimize the problems we have here, no attempt made to cover up or shove under the rug this senseless crime or any other, and no denial of the problem(s) we face on a daily basis. What IS distressing is to be told over and over again on forums and in blogs that we're a bunch of mindless idiots who do and suffer from all of the above - with these comments coming from not only outsiders but some newbie residents who don't even bother to register to vote here because, "it won't make any difference." I make no excuses for the bad things which happen in my community and I do everything in my power to bring about change.

 
Posted : July 14, 2010 2:11 pm
(@toes-in-the-sand)
Posts: 263
Reputable Member
 

How would you categorize the statement "but it could have happened anywhere"?

-An accurate statement of fact that will lead to honest, open discussion and action toward a solution?
-A rationalization that because it does happen elsewhere therefore we are no worse than anywhere?
-A river in Egypt?

Yes, this was a violent act that might happen anywhere. When it is repeated more than once it should give you pause. This time it involved a tourist. The funeral was being held for a victim of a shooting in another public place. No tourists killed in that one. Doesn't make it less of a tragedy. If the accounts that I read are correct, that shooting was retaliation for another shooting. If the best solution so far is that the Police be notified and have a highly visible presence at the funeral of shooting victims then I would suggest that you ask for help.

I can understand what it is like to be in a fishbowl being told how you can and should fix problems by people who have no idea of what the problems actually are. No one here is calling you or anyone else mindless idiots. It is my opinion that the statement "but it could have happened anywhere" would be more accurate if it read "it could happen anywhere that drug and gang related violence occurs" and would actually address that there is gang and drug problems that are at the root of such senseless acts of violence. I think the better response would be - It was a senseless act that has many root causes. We are working tirelessly to eliminate the causes behind these brutal acts.

If the traveling public feels that they are being dismissed as fools or the community is not addressing the problems then they will not consider your island as a travel destination. When they hear the phrase "but it could happen anywhere" it leads them to believe that the situation is not being taken seriously. If however they realize that the community sees the problem and is working tirelessly to remedy the situation, I believe that they will support you. Usually that means considering STT as a destination.

 
Posted : July 14, 2010 3:50 pm
(@xislandgirl)
Posts: 397
Reputable Member
 

I stand behind my comment. It could happen anywhere. I am not dismissing it or anyone's concerns. I am simply stating that STT is not any more of a dangerous tourist destination than any other popular tourist destination. In fact, STT is safer than many I have visited.

I am not in denial about the situation nor am I looking for a solution. I am a tourist. I am fortunate to be able to visit the Virgin Islands often. I spend my money as locally as I can when I am on island and treat the islands and their residents with respect. I do not look for ways to control drugs or gangs or poverty or any other social issue. You may be a different type of tourist and that is certainly your choice.

I am not a missionary looking for solutions to the problems that I can not control. I am a tourist, and I will answers questions on the internet with my experiences and my opinions.

I wil now go back to talking about travel. If you wish to debate this subject further, please feel free to message me. I will not talk about on the board again.

 
Posted : July 14, 2010 6:03 pm
(@everes)
Posts: 6
Active Member
Topic starter
 

Dirt bag, Steve Tyson, turned himself in to authorities today.

"Today’s arrest is not Tyson’s first run-in with the law. He was arrested June 30 on a charge of third-degree assault after a man identified Tyson as the person who attempted to run him down with his vehicle in Frydendal, according to court records. The case was dismissed at the preliminary stage of prosecution for lack of probable cause.

If there is justice in this world, this punk will be sentenced to death.

USVI residents - please reclaim your beautiful islands from the corrupt government leading it into turmoil. The only "power" a visitor like myself has is to spend my tourism dollars elsewhere.

 
Posted : July 14, 2010 8:39 pm
(@emtjen)
Posts: 85
Estimable Member
 

It is true, violence does happen everywhere.Even in places you can least expect it. Even when violence and drugs are not an issue in an area. Sadly it is a fact of life. I think that is what was trying to be conveyed here. It was not a personal attack on the family. I can see how it could have been seen that way though. It does seem a little harsh to say "Oh she died, I'm sorry, I can happen anywhere" is how it came across. Little emotion was left in the statement. My guess is Xislandgirl was just trying to be brief, speak her condolences and remind those who may overreact (because you know there are people out there who will cancel their travel plans over this) that violence can happen anywhere at any given time. Maybe not the most appropriate words for such a tragedy. But I believe she was just simply stating the incident. The FACT that it was a child alone warrants the tragedy. It makes no difference if it was an island resident or a tourist. IT WAS AN INNOCENT CHILD CAUGHT IN THE GUNFIRE!!!! The fact of the matter is, a child's life was loss in a sensless act. How devastating for her family. How devastating for the proud people of St.Thomas. It is a tragedy for them as well. I do hope that officials are on top of things. This will not deter me from future visits, however i pray it doesn't become worse.

 
Posted : July 19, 2010 1:28 am
(@lolly)
Posts: 165
Reputable Member
 

While on vacation in the Black Hills ,I picked up my free copy of USA Today. Just like every traveler, in every hotel, in every US city, I was reading of this tragedy..If I had never visited the area I sure wouldn't go after reading this article. This is so sad for all involved. Will this be a wake up call for the Government? These are small islands, how hard can it be to " target" known drug dealers and gun runners? How hard is it to get enough Coast Guard ships to stop the drugs, guns and illegals coming in after dark?
How about a one way ticket to Afghanistan...wonder how brave they would be then!
Sorry, I just had to vent!
We will be back this winter, we will drive by Iris' night club, after dark, we will go all around the island, as in the past. As for the gentleman who said " I will spend my money on St John" , do you live in the state of Denial?

 
Posted : July 23, 2010 2:22 pm
(@stxer)
Posts: 49
Eminent Member
 

Lolly wrote:
While on vacation in the Black Hills ,I picked up my free copy of USA Today. Just like every traveler, in every hotel, in every US city, I was reading of this tragedy..If I had never visited the area I sure wouldn't go after reading this article. This is so sad for all involved. Will this be a wake up call for the Government? These are small islands, how hard can it be to " target" known drug dealers and gun runners? How hard is it to get enough Coast Guard ships to stop the drugs, guns and illegals coming in after dark?
How about a one way ticket to Afghanistan...wonder how brave they would be then!
Sorry, I just had to vent!
We will be back this winter, we will drive by Iris' night club, after dark, we will go all around the island, as in the past. As for the gentleman who said " I will spend my money on St John" , do you live in the state of Denial?

Thank you ... This is the message that I am trying to tell. It is all about perception. If you read... it is true...duh...not

Hey folks, these are small island(s) and that puts everyone at risk. Gangs and drugs and guns are everywhere in the states...and.. they are here too.. I think that we can change things here, other places may not be so fortunate , but we are small enough to really make a change it everyone works together.. I post because I think a real sense of outrage can move our police and politicians. Anything short of outrage will (as usual) be ignored. Get angry and do something. Hey tourists, would you rather spend your vacation in Detroit or Salinas, or Bell, California?

 
Posted : July 23, 2010 5:32 pm
(@stcroix)
Posts: 10
Active Member
 

Sadly, when a teenager wants to do something stupid, it is pretty hard to stop them. Circling the island with Coast Guard ships and soldiers isn't the answer. There are plenty enough guns already here (just like the rest of America).

The average citizen of these islands is very concerned for the young people who commit these crimes and their impact on the local economy. There are many initiatives afoot. But like the problems and poverty in so many parts of America, ours will not go away overnight.

The roots of local problems go back many generations to the time of slavery. It is a legacy which still grips many with a distorted world view and values. Since buying the islands during WWI, the has US benignly neglected these islands ever since. Having visited the other islands of the Caribbean, I can honestly say, however, that the USVI is the best all-around, and the reason I call it home.

 
Posted : July 27, 2010 8:54 pm
(@levin)
Posts: 8
Active Member
 

StCroix wrote:
Sadly, when a teenager wants to do something stupid, it is pretty hard to stop them. Circling the island with Coast Guard ships and soldiers isn't the answer. There are plenty enough guns already here (just like the rest of America).

The average citizen of these islands is very concerned for the young people who commit these crimes and their impact on the local economy. There are many initiatives afoot. But like the problems and poverty in so many parts of America, ours will not go away overnight.

The roots of local problems go back many generations to the time of slavery. It is a legacy which still grips many with a distorted world view and values. Since buying the islands during WWI, the has US benignly neglected these islands ever since. Having visited the other islands of the Caribbean, I can honestly say, however, that the USVI is the best all-around, and the reason I call it home.

This has nothing to do with slavery. I was born and raised in St Thomas and during my generation we did not shoot each other over the nonsense that these want to be so call thugs are doing nowadays. It is just that the mentally of the young people has changed and they have no respect for each other or anything. The young men are now influence by the U.S. gangster and thug culture to the point where they feel that the only way to settle disputes is with a gun.. It is sad but it is the truth.

 
Posted : July 27, 2010 9:52 pm
(@everes)
Posts: 6
Active Member
Topic starter
 

What in the world is going on in St Thomas? The news doesn't seem to stop Motorist in grave condition after being shot in head

 
Posted : July 27, 2010 10:45 pm
(@dntw8up)
Posts: 580
Honorable Member
 

Local thugs killing each other, and occasionally innocent bystanders.

 
Posted : July 28, 2010 12:36 am
(@stcroix)
Posts: 10
Active Member
 

levin wrote:
[quote=StCroix]
Sadly, when a teenager wants to do something stupid, it is pretty hard to stop them. Circling the island with Coast Guard ships and soldiers isn't the answer. There are plenty enough guns already here (just like the rest of America).

The average citizen of these islands is very concerned for the young people who commit these crimes and their impact on the local economy. There are many initiatives afoot. But like the problems and poverty in so many parts of America, ours will not go away overnight.

The roots of local problems go back many generations to the time of slavery. It is a legacy which still grips many with a distorted world view and values. Since buying the islands during WWI, the has US benignly neglected these islands ever since. Having visited the other islands of the Caribbean, I can honestly say, however, that the USVI is the best all-around, and the reason I call it home.

This has nothing to do with slavery. I was born and raised in St Thomas and during my generation we did not shoot each other over the nonsense that these want to be so call thugs are doing nowadays. It is just that the mentally of the young people has changed and they have no respect for each other or anything. The young men are now influence by the U.S. gangster and thug culture to the point where they feel that the only way to settle disputes is with a gun.. It is sad but it is the truth.

Your conclusions about the "thug culture" are correct, but the cultural conditions of these islands made it a fertile field for such to take root. There's a deep-rooted distrust for authority down here, a lack of outrage at corruption, and a quaint old-fashioned "look the other way" attitude when "the boys" are acting up. That, and a distorted sense of entitlement based on an ingrained belief that somebody owes them something because of history, hasn't helped.

 
Posted : July 29, 2010 5:45 pm
(@travler4)
Posts: 1
New Member
 

Just registered with the site to post my observations. Went back to St. Thomas with wife and teenage girls in April. Had not been on St. Thomas since 1994. My wife and I were Extremely saddened to see what had become of the island. Reading the news about this poor girl only confirmed what I had sensed while on the island. Someone on the island at one of the resorts had recommended Coki Point as a great dive location for us. Taking the turn onto the road leading down to Coki Point Beach and Coral World was like turning into a whole other world. The concertina wire on the resorts, the abandoned vehicles and run down shacks, made me think we were driving through downtown Beirut. Side note to any visitor - it is not worth your time or safety to drive on this road. Their are better beaches and better dive locations. St. John is still as beautiful as ever. St. Thomas appears to be already headed well down the road to becoming a third world plot of land that will eventually see tourism disappear altogether. My family and i have traveled enough now to know that there are other beautiful places on this planet where one can feel a little safer and where the locals actually want you to enjoy your stay because they realize the value of your tourist dollars. Too bad the airport isn't closer to Red Hook - it would make a lot easier to get over to St. John as quickly as possible.

 
Posted : July 30, 2010 11:41 am
(@dntw8up)
Posts: 580
Honorable Member
 

StCroix wrote: There's a deep-rooted distrust for authority down here, a lack of outrage at corruption, and a quaint old-fashioned "look the other way" attitude when "the boys" are acting up. That, and a distorted sense of entitlement based on an ingrained belief that somebody owes them something because of history...

A spot on assessment of the attitude held by the vast majority of VI West Indians.

 
Posted : July 30, 2010 4:35 pm
(@a-davis)
Posts: 563
Honorable Member
 

i don't agree with this assessment, nor that the vast majority of virgin islanders feel this way. certainly there are enough to create the chaos, but that's like assuming that everyone in a crime ridden neighborhood is condoning the criminal behavior, when in reality they are pretty much stunned or frightened into silence, while at the same time imploring tptb to act. unfortunately, it appears that when a tourist is killed, that's the signal to spring into serious action... mho, of course.

my thing has always been... if you make the islands safe for me as a resident, they will be safe for everyone else. not sure what has been holding up the works but better late than never. sincere condolences to anyone who has lost someone or had life enslaved to this chain of bad encounters over the past several years.

 
Posted : July 31, 2010 7:31 pm
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