‘The community is tired’: No Gun Zone founder, residents react to rash of gun violence

No Gun Zone has amassed quite an audience.

The Instagram page run by Terence, who declined to provide his last name, intends to “raise awareness to the destruction caused by gun violence and other social ills.”

A 2018 column in The Philadelphia Inquirer profiling Terence cited his audience at 40,000. Over the years, as the city’s homicide rate has soared, so has his follower count. The Instagram page currently has nearly a quarter-million followers.

No Gun Zone serves as a de facto news source, often posting screenshots of news articles and raw video, either produced by the page’s curator or other residents committing acts of journalism.

Saj “Purple” Blackwell — the PQRadio1 founder who’s also a member of WHYY’s News and Information Community Exchange — recently caught up with the elusive social media maven to discuss the Fourth of July shooting on the 100 block of South 60th Street, which was caught on surveillance cameras and has been making the rounds on the internet.

A memorial on 60th Street in West Philadelphia
A memorial on 60th Street in West Philadelphia remembers those gunned down at a community gathering on July 4, 2021. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Four suspects are being sought in connection with that incident, which left two people dead and two others injured.

Blackwell also trekked to the James Finnegan Playground in Southwest Philadelphia to chat with neighbors about whether the rash of gun violence is causing them to rethink innocuous summer activities, such as frequenting public pools, and whether areas like playgrounds should have an increased police presence.

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