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June 2, 2008

Memorial Musings

During the past 40 years that I have been involved in the gun violence prevention movement, I have witnessed many things that have perplexed me. Not the least of these is the way our media treat some victims of gun violence.

Imagine this scene: Your family is in a crowd of people hanging out with friends and family at a neighborhood park at night on a holiday. Suddenly, the crowd is sprayed with gun fire. Six adolescents between the ages of 13 and 18 receive gunshot wounds to the chest, thigh, torso, abdomen, and foot. One child is even grazed on the forehead by a bullet.

Now picture these children as African-American.

Is your horror the same? It should be. In fact, this exact scene played out on May 26 and the mainstream media did not even report on it. Yet they somehow found the time to keep us abreast of the latest Hollywood gossip.

I venture to say that had these teens, these children, been white, this would have been headline news. Every major news outlet, AP reporter, and weekly magazine would have descended on the crime scene and reported on every single second of this tragedy.

Have we really become desensitized to the fact that young black men and women are being gunned down daily in their neighborhoods? Is this now an accepted “norm,” business as usual in a self-obsessed nation?

So I am asking the media, and the American public, to make all gun-related injuries and deaths a national priority. The day we start seeing any child affected by gun violence as one of our own—as an integral and precious part of our national fabric—is the day we can start taking a serious stand on the easy access that youth have to guns in America.

The alternative—to remain complacent and embrace an “everyone-for-him/herself” mentality—is too terrible to contemplate.


  1. The fact that so many shootings happen in inner city areas is the very reason so little is being done. Our legislators have turned their back on the increasing crime and domestic violence in poor areas, while making sure those higher income areas are stock piled with ammo just in case that same violence hits there. The gun industry has destroyed our freedom to live without fear.

  2. Black on black gun violence is a huge issue. Yet when do you hear a black "spokesman" like Al Sharpton inveigh on the incidence of this problem? Of course its' a double standard.A comparable shooting episodes on whites would be front page news. Even then, as we sadly know from the Virginia Tech shootings, public memory quickly fades, the victims are forgotten, and there is no change in any gun policy.Unless handguns are banned, the epidemic of gun violence will continue unabated.

  3. I am an African American female teacher who has lost a child to gun violence in Washington, D.C. My son gave his life to save a friend, and the bible says that for that he gets eternal life. The fact that he lived the way that God intended is my reward.

    However, I will say that there are multiple systems in America (education, prison, discrimination), which all work against African Americans (especially the youth), and are all a product of the moral degradation of American society in general. I believe that the Consitution has been misinterpreted with regard to separation of church and state. Our country started with the Holy Bible as one of the first readers in public schools, and this country is now at the point of removing God from everything. I think this is the major problem, and Christians must stand and speak out. Until this happens, there will be more disasters and travesties.

    Notice that many people pray after the fact, such as the case of the Virginia Tech tragedy. God ordered us to pray before the fact. We cannot expect the legislators to protect us from what they have helped to create. I urge all Americans to become morally responsible and pray for all people.

    Mother of RAB 1:3