The Personal Is…
I haven’t written much here recently because I can’t quite find the words. My other blog is updated at least once a week with family updates and foster/adoption information, but I keep all that out of this blog for privacy reasons (I share this blog on Facebook from time to time, the other one, I don’t.)
The area where I live suffered a loss the other day.
A police officer was shot and killed in the line of duty by a kid with a gun. The definition of kid in this sentence is 17-year-old. The media tells me that he was a member of a gang. The officer wanted to talk to him, nothing more, and he ran. When the officer followed him behind a house, the kid open fired, shot, and killed the officer before taking his own life.
The officer was in his 2o’s, and he had two sons with a daughter on the way.
And it’s terrible. The community has been beside itself. There hasn’t been a loss of an officer in the line of duty since 1996. We don’t experience this kind of situation often, so when it happens, people get upset.
I’m sad for his wife and his sons and for the daughter who will grow up never even having met him. I’m sad for the other officers who have lost a coworker and a friend. The community has put flowers all around his car as a memorial.
But there’s one thing I don’t understand… Why have I not heard anything about fixing the situation that made this a reality?
When we hear about school shootings, we hear about mental health (if the person was white), terrorism (if the person was brown, specifically muslim), and “bad apples” (if the person was black). We hear calls for stricter gun laws. The debate gets sparked up again about “criminals won’t follow the rules” and blah blah blah.
But now…? There’s nothing. An officer was shot by a 17-year-old kid in a gang, and we don’t hear anything about how to reduce the amount of gang violence or getting guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them.
Has anyone stopped to think that maybe if it was harder to get a gun then there would be less guns out there for people to be killed by? Has anyone stopped to think that maybe criminals would be dissuaded from getting guns illegally if the punishment for doing so was more severe?
I’m not for taking guns away from people, but I don’t understand why we can’t have more regulations for getting those guns.
I’m a high school teacher. My wife shouldn’t have to worry about getting a phone call telling her that I was shot and killed while I was working. Death shouldn’t be side-effect of education, but every time we hear of another school shooting on the news, I know that Erin’s fear for my life and safety gets new life.
A cop’s job is dangerous. It’s made more dangerous because people can walk into a store and get a gun with a minimal of background checks, if there is one at all. We, in SC, don’t require permits or registration for guns. Would this police officer still be here if we did?
I can’t help but wonder and think and feel and believe that yes, quite possibly would be an appropriate answer to that question.
I realize that guns are the be-all-end-all of the problem.. that poverty and institutionalize racism and fear are all sources and precursors to gun violence and that restrictions on guns won’t fix the problem, but we aren’t doing much about those other things either, but that is a post for another day.