Oakland Police Department statics reflect that 2,800 assaults were committed in Oakland in 2012, in addition to 4,100 robberies, making it “the most dangerous city in California” that year. 131 people were murdered, and eight of those victims were under eighteen years old.
These statistics illustrate the frequent crime that Richard and his friends are exposed to, which is also evidence of Oakland’s glaring social inequality. Instead of a normal childhood full of innocence and play, Richard’s life is consumed by crime and death.
Slater lists the names of all the minors killed in 2012, but Skeet was the first person killed in 2013. There will be 91 more murders before the end of the year, and of those 91 deaths, seven will be under the age of eighteen, “including an eight-year-old girl and a sixteen-month-old boy.” Death, unfortunately, is commonplace in Oakland. “Every year we lose somebody,” Cherie says. “It’s just like, who’s next? I’m scared for myself because bullets don’t have no names on them.”
Slater’s list of the minors killed in 2012—Richard knows two of them—has the effect of making them appear like real people and less like statistics. In addition to many other hardships Richard and his friends endure, they are also afraid that they will be the next one killed, since violence and death is so pervasive in their neighborhood.