Tuesday, November 13, 2007

We live in a city where crime and violence are part of the everyday fabric of our existence. A few weeks ago a young man was killed near our block. He was trying to steal a car, was confronted by an off duty police officer, he fired a gun at the officer and the officer shot him in the head in self defense. The kid was seventeen and died for the joy ride in the car that he’d almost boosted. That same week a student of mine had a sibling killed in gang violence not far from where we live. There have actually been four killings in two weeks within a one mile radius of our house.

I had to call the police last night (911) because of a domestic violence incident up the street from us. A man was screaming and trying to kick in a door. Stupid English teacher: the man was screaming “Rachel” and all I could think of was “Stella”. The police came with spotlights and were there for hours. Often the victim won’t press charges. Jes woke me at two in the morning last night as she’d heard the exchange of gunfire – multiple shots, back and forth. We haven’t heard what that was about yet.

I broke up a fight at school today. I stood in the middle and made peace. No blows landed. With the security lights, our alarm system, and the dog I feel like I am “standing in the middle” in my home. In America, at the highest and lowest levels, people have been taught that violence can be a solution to problems. Whether it’s smart bombs or dumb kids, violence begets only more violence. Gandhi said that eye-for-an-eye justice leaves the whole world blind. Makes you want to come over and visit, doesn’t it.


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