Neighbor to Neighbor: Brookville Park incident shows necessity for rules

By Barbara Morris

Brookville Park holds many happy memories for a good number of people in southeast Queens. It is not a park of overwhelming size, but it has a concentration of beauty and tranquility that compares favorably to any other.

There are no sculptured flower beds or bushes. Instead, in the spring, the violets and myrtle join golden and white dandelions dancing to silent tunes choreographed by the breezes that wend their way through the grass at the water’s edge.

There is a brook that bubbles along into a glistening, placid lake where swans, geese, ducks, seagulls and other sea birds gather to sun themselves, eat, take a swim and sometimes nest and raise their tender little broods. If you are lucky, you might be able to see those fuzzy little babies take their first plunge into the water.

Brookville Park has well-used play areas, including basketball and tennis courts (in my youth, the latter were flooded for ice-skating). There are pedestrian paths that are sometimes used for cycling and in-line skating. There is a picnic area; there are lots of benches and an area where you can watch or participate in a pretty good baseball game.

Once in a while there is a special event, such as the Circus-with-a-Purpose, that draws a large crowd, but mostly it is a place of quiet contemplation.

I seldom have a problem sleeping, but one night last week every time I began to doze I woke up thinking of Brookville Park and all the happy memories it has afforded me and many others.

Earlier in the day the radio had described the way a group of teenage punks had plotted to lure, threaten, taunt, rob and then, without mercy, beat and cut up a hard-working, honest young man who was trying to accommodate their request to have Chinese food delivered to them.

According to reports, they then transported that poor soul’s remains to Brookville Lake and dumped them there to await discovery — and identification by his family.

Inhumanity comes to mind, as does “an eye for an eye.” Maybe some of these horrendous crimes would stop if we subjected criminals who hurt and kill someone to a punishment equivalent to the crime. Whatever they do to a victim would also will be done to them.

Might it work? I don’t know, but year after year we see and hear of those who are victims in their innocence and/or helplessness against overwhelming odds. Time after time within the last few years there have been too many Asians — especially those in the food service business — whose lives have been targets for those with such objectives as stealing enough money to buy a pair of sneakers.

If there is anyone in southeast Queens or anywhere else who is not outraged by this and other heinous crimes, I cannot understand that. Of course, every criminal is to be afforded a fair trial.

Doubtless there are those willing to defend and protect anyone for a price, money or otherwise. Somehow, many of the voices usually the first and loudest to complain about some real or imagined affront or some project in which they are interested are deafeningly silent.

Who among them will make stronger laws against inciting crime? They all say that children are our future, but unless there is no doubt in a child’s mind that rules and laws must be obeyed or punishment will be enacted, there is no hope for their future, our future or the world’s future.

We cannot continue to let the cruel, greedy, wicked actions of some despoil everything that could bring us to the better place of peace with each other.

Our sympathies go out to the family and friends of that young man and other victims as well. May they rest in peace and may the punishment fit the crime.

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