International Boulevard in East Oakland is a bustling commercial district. On any given afternoon, the sidewalks are jammed with people.
On Monday, a young couple and their family were shopping near 64th Avenue. They were pushing their toddler in a red-and-blue stroller shaped like a car. Someone in a passing vehicle started shooting.
Like most of the cowards who commit killings by drive-by, the gunman had terrible aim. One of the bullets struck Carlos Fernando Nava, 3 years old, in the neck.
Carlos died late that afternoon at Children's Hospital. The two men who were the intended targets, a 37- and 27-year-old, suffered only minor injuries. The police believe the shooting stemmed from an ongoing feud between two rival groups.
In column after column after column, I have asked what it is going to take before the residents and the leadership of this city take action to combat the almost daily slaughter in the streets of East Oakland.
If the slaying of a 3-year-old on a public street in broad daylight does not generate public momentum for a comprehensive strategy for addressing the public safety crisis, nothing will.
By strategy, I'm not talking about going up to the Claremont Hotel -- about as far away from the killing fields of East Oakland as you can get -- and holding a feel-good "peace" summit.
That is what former Mayor Ron Dellums did in 2010.
We are not going to make headway by talking the problem
We've got to stop reacting and be proactive.
We know that a relative minority of young men are the ones causing all the chaos, destroying not only themselves but anyone who gets in their way.
They aren't the ones who are going to be sitting around pontificating at peace summit roundtables or turning out for midnight basketball.
How do we get through to them?
How do we provide alternatives to thug culture?
How do we encourage residents who are terrified of retaliation to work with the police to remove killers from the streets?
These are the questions we need to answer, and we need to develop policies based on the findings.
On Monday, Mayor Jean Quan issued a statement outlining measures that she had taken to deal with the public safety crisis.
Quan said the city had added police patrols. She asked Gov. Jerry Brown for help from the California Highway Patrol. The mayor also said that she had contacted Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, and Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., for federal assistance.
Quan went on to say that she has called for federal help to stop the influx of illegal weapons into the city.
She further said that she had asked the U.S. Attorney's Office to form a joint task force of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the FBI to work with Oakland police to combat the killings in East and West Oakland.
That all sounds good.
The reality, however, is that the state and the feds are as broke as church mice. The ATF has already been assisting the OPD in some illegal firearms sweeps. But I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for much more help from the state or the federal government.
This is Oakland's problem, and Oakland is going to have to look within for solutions.
I have received many emails from people asking what can we possibly do as individuals?
You can start by contacting your council member and letting him or her know that you will not tolerate the slaying of a 3-year-old on our streets.
Tell the council you demand to know how the city intends to address the escalating violence.
But the killings don't even seem to be high on the council's agenda.
Carlos is the 73rd person to die in a homicide since the first of the year. Yet city officials insist he is the 67th.
This week, city officials insisted that people who were fatally shot by the police in justifiable homicides or accidental gunshot deaths should not be included in the homicide tally.
This is puzzling; they are no less dead.
I'm afraid lowering the number of homicides by six won't do much to repair Oakland's tarnished image.
Tammerlin Drummond is a columnist for Bay Area News Group. Contact her at email@example.com or Twitter/tammerlin.