Sunday, August 12, 2007

Deja Vu

Here in Peoria, Illinois, it seems like we are stuck in the 60's. There have been 15 homicides since the first of the year. This does not count a questionable shooting by Peoria's Finest. This situation has deepened the racial divide that has plagued the city for years. Any progress that may have been made, seems to have been wiped out. Negative steriotypes have replaced common sense. "Blame the victim" is the name of the game. Doesn't seem to matter if there is any reason for the blame.

The local "news rag" allows comments to be posted. These have often turned into vile slurs, veiled threats (some not so veiled) and White Supremacy rhetoric. Families of the victim are ignored, to a great extent. I, for one, hope they never read the posts as they would serve to be knives to the heart of a grieving family. Eventually, some of the posts are pulled, but not before the damage is done.

The cold-blooded murders in Newark, NJ points to the fact that the problems are wide spread and not limited to one race. Every death is sad. Death due to violence lends the additional sadness of the dark side of racial unrest and the impact of gangs / drugs on our daily lives.

There aren't enough police anywhere to stop someone who is determined to perpetrate violence. Line the street with officers and someone will get shot in the alley. Parental responsibility - only works when the parents are actually responsible and the youth is willing to listen.

Eventually, personal responsibility must become an issue. It is tempting to offer solutions, but to do so is ridiculous. If there were a single problem, it might be possible. There are many problems and each violent situation involves a diverse set of problems. My responsibility is to become involved, to report what I see - from truancy, curfew violation to "man with a gun". I understand the silence, but without a community wide voice that says, "enough is enough", no change will happen. Let us rise together to say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, then let us take the the personal action that says we mean it! There are many agencies and churches that have programs that could make a difference. It doesn't always take money, but it does take time!

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