CONVERSATING ABOUT WHAT'S ON YOUR MIND!
By LC DeVine
One Life Taken – As A Community Will We Let There Be More!
At the stroke of midnight on January 1, 2013 several teenagers shot off guns to ring in the New Year. Not long afterward, one life was loss and another would be forever alternated – not only by the loss of his best friend, but by the legal nightmare he would be faced with.
This scenario and many others like it is nothing new to this and other urban communities. As a matter of fact, the same scenario occurred over fifty some years ago to an older cousin of mine. The difference then, than now is they were not charging children as adults.
This situation has highly disturbed me for several reasons. I believe everyone is familiar with a recent situation that occurred in the City of Flint several weeks ago. I was appalled to read in the Flint Journal a columnist referring to the teenager being charged with this legal situation, as a thug. He is a teenager who had just turned sixteen. He’s someone’s child and obviously one that had become a product of the environment he was being raised . . . nonetheless, a child. I was furthered puzzled, as the columnist was, why a press conference was called when in fact what the teenager needed was for an experienced criminal attorney to be retained to represent him for the charges that would surely follow. This means helping the family bear the financial burden for a good defense for the teenager in order to keep him from being snatched up and entrapped in the legal system that so many of us know exists. I’m sure the intentions were honorable, but what was the purpose?
What concerns me and it should the community is how this teenager and other young people are getting their hands on these weapons. The picture above is an example of something like the one accidentally used in this situation. It has been said that it was purchased at a party. “At a party!” Something is truly wrong when our children are attending parties where they can purchase weapons and drugs.
Right now as President Obama and Congress wrestle with possible legislation to address the public concerns on gun control, the fact remains, there are hundreds of millions of guns already in the public sectors and available to purchase, cheaply. As a community we have to find a way to save our children that means being proactive as parents – your child should not have access to a weapon, period; teachers and principals have to take a more active role in these students lives (there are tell-tell signs a child is headed down the wrong path – intervention is needed; and our community leaders must step up to the plate and be doers, not just speakers.
The legal system is nothing to play with and it is definitely not a situation for a child to be involved in. Each person that‘s reading this article is either someone’s mother, father, grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, friend, neighbor, or church member. I am sure you know ONE child that is not living up to his/her fullest potential. It’s time for you to step up to the plate and make a difference. Words of encouragement and attention are all that’s needed to start. Why don’t you reach out and touch a child’s life!
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