2007-06-29 / Community

It's My Turn

By Liz Bishop-Goldsmith President, Mothers Against Guns

By Liz Bishop-Goldsmith President, Mothers Against Guns

As an African-American mother and grandmother, it troubles me that the African-American community is not in a state of outrage against the robberies, drugs, gangs and violence destroying our youth and our communities. Day after day, these horrible elements continue to ricochet from one end of this country to the other. It's really sad, but nothing out of the norm; it's just an everyday thing in this great civilized society - especially in the African-American community. We have the hunters and the hunted. Unfortunately, the hunters are usually young, involved in drug activity, gang members, jobless, educationally deprived, mentally unstable, African-American males.

We see the drugs, the gangs and acts of gun violence happening right here in our neighborhood, and yet so many turn their heads and remain silent. Many remain silent out of fear, but let's put fear aside for a moment. Would you rather fear making that anonymous call to 911, or being a victim? Keeping silent only gives these punks more power to rule their turf - your community. When will enough be enough?

I'm tired of seeing our youth not living to a ripe old age, rearing their own children, or enjoying their grandchildren. They need you to love them enough to guide them, teach them the difference between right and wrong and to impose consequences when they cross the line. I'm tired of seeing my daughters and sons on the street corners, robbing and stealing from their own families and others. I'm tired of seeing my sons and daughters spaced out from the effects of drugs. I'm tired of hearing other people's stories about how their children are incarcerated for committing horrible crimes, or worse: dead and buried!

Gun violence is out of control! Some of our youth (and not-so-young) are out of control! Drugs and gangs are rampant in our communities and we just sit back and wait for another body bag to be taken out. Something's wrong with this picture. It's time to wake up and get involved in reclaiming our youth and our communities. There is help out there that can save your life and that of your loved ones. Drug addicts need counseling and rehabilitation. Gang members need an education and intervention, and anyone who commits an act of gun violence against another human being should receive the maximum penalty allowed by law.

Guns make money , and so do lawyers, insurance companies, and funeral homes! Let's not forget the manufacturers and distributors! The only difference between us and other countries is that we make it as easy as possible for people to get a gun, all in the name of the so-called "right to bear arms." We need common sense federal gun laws and the elimination of state gun laws. This only makes common sense since laws vary from state to state. With federal laws, violators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and this will be a wake-up call to those who illegally transport guns across state lines.

We must get involved in the lives of the youth in our community, and let them know that we will not allow them to destroy it, or themselves. United, we can make our communities safe and reclaim our youth. I'm sick and tired of attending funerals because these thugs are allowed to continue their rampage and vengeful acts with no regard for the lives of others or themselves. Death due to natural causes is devastating, but a violent act causing death is beyond devastation.

Enough is enough.

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