'What we've come to is insane:' Parents, city react to bloody weekend in Durham

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Durham parents are frustrated after three people were killed in three separate shootings since Sunday afternoon -- not even a month after eight people were shot in a matter of 24 hours.

"What we've come to is insane," said Adriane Lentz-Smith, a mother of two. "On the flip side I love Durham because it is this wonderful and vital and eclectic city where my kids grow up surrounded by everyone. I'm not willing to go hide in the suburbs to avoid that kind of confrontation of the hard realities of daily life."

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Lentz-Smith is also an associate professor of history at Duke University. She knows the realities Durham brings for her young children.

"To think we've got elementary school-aged children who are that savvy about the potential horrors of our daily life is really sobering to me," she said. "So some part of me just feels this sad and futile sense that I wish people had more compassion for each other and for themselves - more sense of value and our preciousness and then there's some part of me that's just furious."

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She believes more officers aren't necessarily the answer to Durham's issues.

Councilman Mark-Anthony Middleton has advocated for that in addition to raising the wages of part-time workers to a livable wage.

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"There's something going on with our young people," he said. "Some of the stuff going on can't be legislated, some of this you can't pass an ordinance to address. I think we're in danger of reaching a critical inflection point and that's where we become desensitized, where it's almost like: 'Oh there's another shooting,' That's what happens and woe unto us as a city if we reach that point."

Lentz-Smith believes there needs to be a conversation about the number of guns on the streets.

"A lot of time we're talking about young people who haven't thought about what it means to take a life, what it means to the families that lose it, what it means to the person who dies and what it will ultimately mean to them," she said. "We're no longer able to have a sane conversation about what it means to cut down on the number of guns."
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