Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Reading the internet will make you mad...

And the worst part is that so often it is an impotent anger. So we go to Facebook or other social media. And we yell about it in short sentence fragments and paragraphs in which the easiest thing to do is yell our talking points into the ether. I nearly fell into that trap today.

You see, an article I read made me cry. This article--Six-Month-Old Baby Dies from Gunshot Wounds in Chicago. It's about a six-month-old baby who was shot six times. She died today. Her name was Jonylah Watkins. We share a surname, which isn't really surprising. It's a fairly common surname, but my last name matters a great deal to me. When I think about myself, it is what I identify with more than even my first name. And this little baby had that in common with me. And pretty much nothing else. Because she died at six months. I'll be 27 at the end of this month. I've never even broken a bone; she was shot SIX times. She was shot as many times as the months she lived. This is unspeakably horrible, yet we need to speak of it. We need to discuss it. We need to realize that her death is almost as common as the surname I share with her. Thirty-one days after the Newtown shooting, 919 people had died in gun related deaths.

I understand the importance of our Bill of Rights in the United States. I understand that this is a complicated issue. I understand it is unlikely we will discover a simple solution to this problem. But I am angry about the lack of real discussions and solutions. I am angry. I am angry. I am angry. I don't have all of the solutions. These problems are more complex than gun control. Poverty, lack of upward mobility, easy access to guns, these and more contribute to the problems of violence. But simply because the question is complicated doesn't mean we stop looking for answers--that we avoid discussing one of the areas that is definitely contributing to this issue: the access to guns, guns, and more guns.

So instead of yelling the common talking points, let's think about the women, men, and children who are dying every day in this country. Let's try to discuss and find solutions, real solutions that will help our community and country and world be safer and more secure.

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