Shoot Someone

I’m pretty opinionated. And critical. That’s just the way it is. But I think many will agree there are quite a few people doing some pretty crazy things. Much of it associated with guns.

 

Our President and others talk about controlling gun violence. Great idea but I just don’t see it happening. People have rights and owning guns is one of them. Using those guns to murder people is not. Why do some feel the need to use a gun to “Shoot Someone”? When did all of this escalate to where it is now? Guns, violence, death…we are sliding into an abyss. Actually, based on the increase in shootings in Chicago in 2016, we are free-falling into the abyss. Is there hope?

 

A long time ago, when I was in college, I spent Sunday mornings one summer teaching Sunday School to inner city kids in Chicago. Several of us would go into the high rise buildings, knock on doors, and ask if we could take the kids to Sunday School. When we got them to the mission, we told them about Jesus. Many knew who Jesus was, but in their environment, I imagine it was hard for them to see the impact he could have in their life. Fifty years later, I wonder where those kids (now older adults) are today. Did they survive the violence, drugs, shootings that happen in those neighborhoods? Were they or someone they love the victim of a “drive-by” shooting? I pray not but I’m sure many were impacted.

 

Shoot someone…in the city, in a road rage incident, in a domestic argument, in a racially motivated traffic stop, in a school, at a peaceful rally. That seems to be the mantra today. Blacks kill blacks and many times the innocent are victims. Whites get angry, go into a theater, school, shopping mall or church and kill. People we are supposed to trust step over the line between right/wrong, moral/immoral, good/evil and kill black men and boys.

 

I grew up in a lily-white, Chicago suburb and never even talked to a black person until I got out of high school. I have no idea what it’s like for a black man to live in this country today. Does he feel at risk every time he leaves home? Does he fear gangs, police, family, co-workers? I want to be careful here but much of the violence I see is in the black community. Why don’t we see white people killing white people in drive-by shootings? Why is the violence in my city mainly in the black neighborhoods? Do shootings happen in every major city or is my city, Chicago, the “shoot someone” capital? Actually, it is. In 2015 there were 2,996 people shot in Chicago. 446 of them died. Nine were killed by police, so even though police shootings get the most attention, they aren’t the biggest problem. The number of police shootings in 2015 was the second lowest in the past seven years. However, given the amount of attention police shootings are receiving across the country, I think what happens next is the police quit responding in black neighborhoods. They stay in their cars and watch. It’s too dangerous and the downside too great to get involved. When that happens it’s going to become the wild west again. Dodge City, here we come.

 

Why do people kill? Is it racial? Some of it. Driven by fear? Some of it. Is it man’s depravity? Yup. Have we lost our moral compass?  Absolutely. Someone’s choice of shoes, skin color, or school jacket, is different than ours. Jesus says, “turn the other cheek” and “love your neighbor.” We say, “shoot someone”. A traffic stop and the driver becomes belligerent. Shoot him. Someone disrespects us. Shoot him. A kid struts his stuff and flashes a toy gun. Shoot him. A rival gang steals our illegal drugs or drives through our neighborhood. Shoot them. Police, watching a peaceful assembly, are shot down because of anger, skin color, or their uniform. Shoot someone.

 

Something has to change people. Racism must end. Life must be valued and protected. The right to bear arms must be managed more effectively. Jesus must be followed and his example of peace and love must become one of the cornerstones of our society. He is our hope. I think he’s our only hope. Let’s not “shoot someone.” Let’s “love someone.”

 

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