This could be an article complaining about police and American brutality against black and brown men and boys, or about violence in our American culture in general. Rather, this piece is about living in a society where gun violence leads to many unnecessary deaths of adults and children, and what we can do to change this fact.
I am not against all guns. I grew up in the Mississippi Delta where my family hunted and ate their kill. Now, the enormous amount of gun sales and the types of military artillery available to the public have escalated, and kids are growing up playing first-person shooter video games nonstop.
When I was a young, single woman living on my own, my father offered me a pistol for protection and asked me to learn to shoot it in case I ever needed it. When I birthed a child, I gave it back due to its dangerous presence in our home.
On December 31, 2014, an Idaho toddler reached into his mother’s purse at Walmart, pulled out her legally concealed weapon, shot and killed her with three kids watching. How will those children ever make sense of this accidental but extreme violence? The toddler shooter will never erase the visual, the horror, and the facts.
Last week, I watched a video from The New York Times: No Guns for Christmas. I paused to wonder what I can do as an individual to halt gun violence: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/23/opinion/no-guns-for-christmas.html? emc=edit_th_20141223&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=58340336&_r=0&assetType=opinion
I believe in nonviolent action as a way to solve problems and have written much about issues of social justice, civil and human rights, violence, women’s rights, and income equality in the past. What I can do is to speak up again.
I understand we live in the Deep South. I understand that some people love to hunt or just shoot guns for sport. At Christmastime, my brother and I used to shoot down mistletoe from trees with a pellet gun. But, viewing this video where a young black man holding an air rifle at WalMart gets so quickly and inhumanely killed, makes me not only sorrowful but full of rage. Watching a 12 year old black boy get killed by police in Ohio within only 2 seconds of visual sight breaks my heart. When will our nation directly address and resolve these issues of unnecessary gun violence? And, why is there not more recourse when police kill so irresponsibly? If we stay silent, all victims’ blood is on our hands.
Doing nothing is an action. During 2015, please get more actively involved in the solution to this problem of gun violence, working together with others to discover new ways to decrease human and police brutality and accidents. We can change this tragic trend if we commit to this action.