I'm not okay.
This has been a very trying week.
As I was writing last week's blog, I got word of a Mass shooting that took place in downtown Louisville. That's my hometown. That's where I live and raise my children. People have been talking about it next to non-stop since it happened. I'm bothered by this...but not exactly why you think.
Imma get into it.
First and foremost, nothing that I'm about to say is intended to or should be interpreted to minimize the deaths of those five people from Old National Bank. What happened to them is a tragedy of senseless violence by [name redacted because fuck that guy] and I send my condolences to their families, friends, and to my city for the pain we're feeling...
...but let's not get it twisted! The city of Louisville has been hurting for YEARS because of gun violence. This shit ain't new and it's hardly even news anymore. It's ridiculous to suddenly be upset now! Yes, we get to be on the list of Mass shooting (because that's a joyous accolade) but in reality, the city has been suffering. We've been hurting!
Mothers have been crying for the loss of children in the streets. A couple of years ago, my 17-year-old cousin was found in an alley, not far from her grandmother's house. I don't know her well, but what I saw at the funeral will never leave me. I saw children. 14-,15-,16-year-olds crying and breaking down. They've like never lost an equal like that. I watched their lives change forever as they saw their friend in a casket. (Article)
Rest in Peace MaKenna Robinson.
Children have been crying for their mothers. Less than a year ago, My friends Danny and Jessica were moving in with Jessica's sister's Becca. Becca and I helped move their things into the moving truck and after seeing Becca's place (especially her kitchen) I told her that I was gonna come back and cook there with her (okay, I was admittedly flirting - sorry Honey - but I really like to cook and it was a really nice kitchen and according to my wife, everything I say is flirtatious). This never happened because one night, her ex-boyfriend shot her and left her for dead in her own room, later to be found by her sister. Becca left behind a young son. A young son who's live has been absolutely flipped because of gun violence. (Article)
Rest in Peace Rebecca Richardson.
In my old job, I've met a lot of people. I met this lovely woman named Jaie who had two kids (that I knew). I just found out late Saturday/early Sunday that the daughter, Kaden, a young girl who I've talked to, reached out to, encouraged personally was shot and killed by her boyfriend. (Article)
Rest in Peace Kaden Harkins.
I hear a lot of people talk about mass shooting and gun violence and how guns are the problem. Those three women I mentioned were not killed with AR-15s or AK-47s. A Nationwide ban wouldn't have kept those women alive. Background check might have helped. Unless the gun was obtained illegally (in which case, a background check wouldn't have mattered) or the gun was previously owned and obtained legally (in which none of those additions or previsions would have prevented them from happening.
I'm not saying that America doesn't need gun reform; it absolutely does. I'm not saying that we should ban or restrict rifles like the AR-15 because of their ability to kill a lot of people quickly. What I am saying is that if the only thing we're focusing on is the mass shootings, or the shootings that use AR-style guns, we've ignoring so many other victims. We're ignoring the handguns that are being found in schools.
Just the other day, two people were killed and four others were injured at a park in Louisville. While not confirmed, the weapon involved was likely a common handgun. Where's the national coverage? Where's the "mass shooting" tally? According to britannica.com, the FBI doesn't define a minimum for mass shooting, but a mass killing is "3 or more killings in a single incident". Do the lives lost not matter because only two people died? Do their lives not matter because an AR-15 wasn't used?
As I've said before and will continue to say, guns aren't the problem. They're a factor, but not the problem. The problem is that someone wanted someone else to die. The homepage of WDRB.com has a story about a man who beat another man with a tire iron. The victim is not suspected to survive his injuries. HERE you'll read an article about a man stabbed to death just this past Wednesday. HERE a woman beat her husband with a metal pipe. He didn't die, but easily could.
The problem is the intentions of the assailant. We don't know how to handle situations we see as adversity or conflicts. We don't have the resources, either personally or externally (like friends, family, government, etc.) to handle what we see as problems. Aside from that, we have a problem with viewing something like another person's race, religion, or lifestyle as a problem when they aren't.
The point I'm getting at is that we DO have a problem in this country. We are all hurting. We're all dealing with silent demons but some of us handle things better than others! If we're able to eliminate this desire to view everything as a problem that we need to solve, we can learn to seek out reasons to love and care for one another.
I saw my friends Jerry and Tracy Paulley host the Hillbilly Horror Stories Podcast live (great job you guys!) and as I left the venue (21st in Germantown), I came across this sign:
"Be you. Do you. For you." - which I take as "Be yourself and do whatever makes you happy for the sake of being happy." If you live with happiness as your focus, you won't have the time or energy to waste ruining someone else's day, time at an event, or life. If we don't shift THIS, nothing else we do will ultimately matter.
I love you all.