The fourth Tacoma homicide of 2011 occurred on Friday February 25th, a little after five in the morning, two blocks from the house I grew up in. Two women and a 36-year-old man named Marvin Plunkett were sitting in a car and joined by another man. Word is that it was some sort of drug deal. Words were exchanged and the man who got into the car shot the other man and got out. The two women in the car drove the injured man to St. Joseph’s Hospital. He was dead before they got there.
I wish I had more information about this, but everything I know about this crime is in that paragraph above. Despite looking on half a dozen other websites, I was unable to find out the victim’s name. Glancing at various comments on The News Tribune’s blog and elsewhere, most people seem to be treating this killing as a ‘misdemeanor homicide’. Since it was a ‘drug deal gone bad’, who cares that someone died?
I’m sure his friends and family care. I’m sure the neighborhood where this happened cares. And I care. Not simply because I used to walk those streets on a daily basis as a kid, but because drug dealer or not, drug user or not, he was still a person, and it’s unfortunate when anyone is killed.
Let’s be clear here. I’m not saying I’d have your average drug user or dealer watch my kid. But I also don’t think they should just be locked on general principal. They certainly don’t deserve to be shot and killed. And the fact that the news media wrote one article and didn’t even mention the victim’s name means that on some level, they think that since it was a ‘drug deal gone bad’, it’s okay that someone got killed.
Just to prove a point here, let’s take the shooting out of the situation. If there was simply an exchange of drugs for money, what are the horrible consequences for the community at large? Some people would get high. And though there are those who want us to think that drug crazed maniacs are going out raping and killing people, that’s simply not true. The vast majority of people doing drugs are sitting in a room laughing their asses off and eating a little too much Chicken in a Biskit.
As I mentioned, I grew up in that neighborhood. It wasn’t a good place in the late 80s and early 90s. I literally had a collection of shell casings I found around the neighborhood. I was so used to going to bed to the sound of gunshots and sirens that when I went out of town, I had trouble going to sleep. The neighborhood has improved since then. Still, drug deals are going to go on. People are going to do drugs. And some people are going to get shot. But to equate murderers with drug dealers is like equating drug dealers with speeders. The only thing they have in common is that they’re illegal.
If anyone reading this knows the victim in this homicide, please comment below.