As I read about, watch and hear stories about people, especially children, being killed daily on Chicago’s South Side, I wonder how many people say, “Oh, another person died today,” or “Poor baby,” like it’s OK that a life was taken senselessly.
But, what is the reaction of those same people when something (God forbids) like that happens to someone close to them?
I find that there is another group of people that react after the fact for whatever reason. I respect the fact that they are taking action, but deaths are occurring NOW. There are small things that can be done NOW to stop great tragedy later.
I often wonder: when does the community start caring? If I had to guess, they start caring when they experience loss personally. They are not seeing the death of any one person as a loss because they don’t know that person. And I also wonder: Do they ever think of or pray for the family that was left behind?
Yes, I’m outraged! I don’t have any children of my own, but I grew up at a time when the community took care of me. When I did something (although I was generally scared to get in trouble), I was chastised from everyone who saw what I did from across the street to the end of the alley. Then, I got in trouble with my mother and grandmother. I usually only got one whipping. I guess they tossed a coin on that one. But still, I had a crew of people caring. I knew no one was going to bother me because someone was looking out for me even when I could not see them watching.
I often wonder if am just like those people who read, watch and hear stories and do nothing. I do get emotional when I see a family member or friend talking about their loved one in past tense – “She was” or “he was.” That should never be, especially when it’s a parent talking about their child.
Is my mission of speaking life to the people I encounter enough? Whenever I pass someone on the street, I normally smile, give a complement or saying something positive. I’m finding that just acknowledging people with a greeting makes a difference. However, I have not sought out an organization to volunteer my services. Do I really need to do that to make a difference? Or, is my speaking life to others enough? I don’t know.
What I do know is that people in the community need to start caring before tragedy hits home. And no one can say, “It can’t happen to me.” It can happen to anybody at anytime because bullets do not have names on them but they do have intended targets.
Please know that I’m not discounting other areas of the city. All lives are precious to me. However, lives are snuffed daily on the South Side and are just as quickly forgotten – except by those who loved them. And, if deaths are occurring at alarming rates in other areas, they are not being reported.
So, when do you think the community starts caring – before, during or after tragedy?