2013

So,  it is 2013.  I find it’s tragedy that inspires me to come here and put up the first entry.

Hadiya Pendleton was murdered  in the last week of the first month of the new year by a man with a gun in the city of Chicago.  She died in a park that Google Maps tells me is less than 35 minutes from the town where my sister and her family live.  Hadiya was three years older than my niece.

Hadiya’s death made national headlines because earlier in January, the high school drum majorette  had been on top of the world, appearing in front of the most powerful man on earth as part of the inaugural parade. And now, she’s gone just like that, for good. Forever.

For nothing.

A lot of questions get asked in when we hear about a tragedy like this.  We ask “Who is to blame?”

And the answers come: criminals with guns, people who facilitate criminals’ getting those guns, parents of those kids who use guns, the insane, the misguided, the evil, the individual, society, gun makers, gun lobbyists, guns….There’s no shortage of answers to the question of “Who is to blame?”

And then the question comes:  “When will this carnage stop? When will we say enough?”   And then, the related question follows: “How do we stop this?”.  And then, we get the well-worn answers: more guns, less guns, different guns, different bullets, interventions, regulations. There is no shortage of answers to the question “How do we stop this?”

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I think, though, as the death count rises in this brand new year, as the gun debate rages, as laws are drafted as stories like this  infuriating tragedy of Hayida Pendleton get told and re-told and told again with different names and ages and places, the question must change.

It’s not “Who is to blame?” ….It’s not “When will this carnage stop?” ….It’s a recombination of these questions.

WHO is going to stop this carnage?

And the answer comes, I think, when every person —every person from ever strata of society, who says she or he wants to stop the senseless violence and the murders and the mourning— every one of us looks in the mirror and answers “Who is going to stop this carnage?” with “I am.”

Not everyone knows how to be part of a national solution to violence, but anyone with a mouth or an email account can ask a question of someone who DOES know. Anyone can get informed and let herself  be put to work. It’s time to get informed. It’s time to get involved. It’s time to get to work.

Because this has to stop. This just plain has to stop.

I am dedicating the focus of my blogging exploration in 2013 to this endeavor: to asking questions, to getting involved, to learning, to working,  to straying from my comfort zone, and to answering  “Who is going to stop this?’  with “I am.”

Because I am horrified. I am ashamed. I am angry. And I want that to start  counting  for something.

And because that girl didn’t deserve to die with her whole life in front of her.

Feel free this year  to be a guide, a companion, or a little of each.  “I am” is always better when it leads to “We are.””

Thanks for reading,

Beth

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