Yesterday, when my phone rang, I had already heard that there was a problem, but no details. Like I said I work in a very urban area. It is not unusual to hear of muggings or a drug deal happening on the corner. Just last month there was a shooting one block over in a business school. Sunday, I somehow missed the fact that they removed a shooting victim from the road right behind my building. I was a bit surprised when my team mates asked me if I knew. These random things are "normal", if that is what normal has become. I guess I should say they are things that happen with great frequency in the area around where I work and live.
But the call yesterday shook me. It made me stop for a minute or two and really think about what is going on around me. Made me question the level of insanity, this new mentality of entitlement, the lack of respect for people and their rights. It made me wonder what is behind the current call for the elimination of guns. It made me doubt that the way we have raised a generation. It made me sad.
After that call I am wondering if my own thoughts are wrong. I am a firm believer in the basic good of everyone, I always look for it, and in most cases I am convinced that all have the capacity for good. I believe that if you live your life right and do the your level best to be the best person you can be that all will be right with the world.
That call.... Yesterday I heard that someone dear to me had spent the night at the hospital with her eldest son. Her big, lovable, hard working son. He'd left his job to head home for the evening. At some point between getting off the Metro Link and before getting on the bus to go home, some punks decided he must have had something that they themselves were to lazy and entitled to work for. And they attacked him. Hit him around the head and face to the point they had to take him to the hospital, he will miss a few days of work while he heals, his mother had to deal with an immense amount of stress. Because I can assure you no matter how old your children get they are still your babies. Her son is not a provocative type of person, he was not looking for a fight - he was looking for a bus to take him home after a long day at work. He isn't a punk kid, he was raised right, he's a grown man taking responsibility for his life and family.
The call reminded me that just a month ago another incident made me feel the same ill feeling, a few blocks from work a sweet lady in her 70's on her way to class was attacked outside of her home for her purse. Beat up for a few dollars.
This morning on the local news Sally's down the street was robbed at gun point. Someone else got a call last night from a terrified family member or friend.
How many more people need to get that call? How much longer will we allow this insanity to continue? Before we start saying we are doing something wrong? How many more excuses are going to be made? How many more get hurt? When did we stop punishing our children for doing wrong? When did we stop holding people accountable for their actions? When did we stop expecting people to earn their way in this world?
All these questions are bouncing around in my brain. I know it isn't unique to the area I work in, or even to the area I live in. I know it isn't race or gender specific. Selfish, ignorant people are everywhere. I just don't understand why anyone would want to make excuses for them. I don't understand why we keep condoning these behaviors and attitudes. I know I don't have answers, I don't know if anyone does. The solution isn't to move, because eventually the problem moves with you. Is there a solution?
Today is another day, I will give that friend a hug, I will say another prayer for her son, and I will continue to wonder. I will continue to question why people feel they have a right to take what isn't theirs.