May 3, 2012
A call for an end to violence in the Falls
Rally pinpoints how to combat shootings one week after Niagara Street incident

Pastor Jesse Scott, right, of the Word of Life Ministries prays to open an Operation Snug anti-violence rally on Niagara Street in response to a shooting that happened near 12th and Niagara Street last week.

Life Transformation Ministries Youth Reporting Center social worker Ricardo Herrera speaks during an Operation Snug anti-violence rally on Niagara Street in response to a shooting that happened near 12th and Niagara Street last week.

By Timothy Chipp
Niagara Gazette

NIAGARA FALLS — When it comes to violence in Niagara Falls, everybody is going to have to work together.

That’s the message Operation SNUG members delivered during their latest rally on Niagara Street Wednesday, the site of one of the city’s latest shootings.

“We can’t do this by ourselves,” SNUG Field Supervisor Michael Cole told a small group of attendees. “It’s going to take a collaborative effort of everybody in the community to fix this. It can’t just be one or two people. But it’s time for this to stop. Enough is enough.”

Niagara Street, between 12th and 13th streets, was the site of last week’s shooting of 18-year-old Anthony McDouglad. He was shot in the arm before the bullet entered his chest.

McDouglad was taken to Memorial Medical Center before being transfered to Erie County Medical Center, where the bullet was just recently removed.

In lieu of the incident, the group of SNUG representatives put an emphasis on finding ways to eliminate not only the actions but the decisions which lead to gun violence.

The secret, according to Rev. Jimmie Seright, executive driector of the New Jerusalem Reporting Center for Boys on 20th Street, is using SNUG members’ personal experiences to help communicate with those who haven’t yet learned how to be violent.

It’s all part of SNUG’s mission to be proactive, rather than reactive, against the violence the city experiences.

“Violence is a learned behavior,” he said. “Many of us come from that life. But we’ve made the decision to leave that behind and try to make an impact in our community. When you talk to these kids, you realize all they really want is some sort of attention.”

The Rev. Mark Perkins, of Destination Life Fellowship on 22nd Street, feels a slightly different approach might be just as effective in changing the fortunes of the city. He’s interested in talking to parents, helping the mothers and fathers understand what it means to be in their situations.

With 60 percent of the households single-parent, the pastor said, the key really is getting to those guardians and guiding them to stronger decisions.

“We have to get to the fathers,” he said. “We have to help dads understand what it means to be a dad. We need to work with the mothers. We need to be praying for the peace of the city.”