The shooting of four boys who were playing basketball near a local church last Monday should not serve as just another reminder of how violence can ravage a community.
It should be a wake-up call.
For all of us.
The trauma those boys have experienced is something no one should have to go through, let alone someone so young. But unfortunately, shootings and other acts of violence are becoming more common in today’s society.
Police still are investigating the death of 15-year-old Brian Freeman, who was shot and killed while coming home from a friend’s house last month. It’s devastating to think of his life being cut so short from such a horrific event.
We all need to band together and work to combat acts of violence in our community. It might seem like a daunting task, but it’s not impossible. Together, we can start changing the culture of violence and stop it from becoming even more pervasive.
Since the shooting last week, local pastors, parents, elected officials and others in the community have spoken out about the need to work together to find proactive ways to curb violence. We need to make sure we match those cries with action.
The young ages of the victims shows that we must start early. We need to teach children from a young age about the importance of compassion and kindness, and we need to reinforce that message in our homes, schools, churches and communities. Although sometimes it is easy to be overcome by despair and anger in the wake of a tragic event, we need to teach our children that there is a better way to respond. We need to make sure our children have opportunities to escape the clutches of gang activity.
We also need to assist police in any way we can. Law enforcement agencies work to protect our community, but they cannot do everything alone. Anyone who witnesses a crime or knows information about a crime should talk to the police. We owe that to our own loved ones and to everyone else around us.
Violence affects us all, and it has far-reaching ripples. None of us are immune to it. Therefore, all of us need to be part of the solution.