Thursday, August 30, 2012

Summer of Bullets Comes to an End as Concerns About Gun Violence Continues



Father Richard F. Gorman
Community Board #12 (The Bronx)

BRONX, NEW YORK, August 30- Phooey! Labor Day is upon us. Among other things  --  such as students having to return to their regimen of reading, writing and arithmetic  --  it means that the Summer is coming to an end. It has been an interesting Summer this year between the thrill of watching our American athletes winning the gold at the XXX Olympiad in London and the rather blustery, sometimes even turbulent, weather that has visited us.

Equally as stormy has been the crime scene in our area. There have been far too many instances of gun violence in the Borough of The Bronx overall and in Community Board #12  in particular. No one has been immune from the bloodshed.  Young and old, people of all religions, races, colors, and heritages, rich and poor, even infants in their strollers and baby carriages  --  people in all neighborhoods  --  North, South, East, and West  --  have suffered from the scourge of bullets fired from guns in hands which should not have held them. Most frightening of all, too often these illicit weapons were aimed by our children striking out and shooting at their peers, other youth.  This madness defies rational explanation and genuine justification!

Since last writing on this topic a week or so ago, more violence has scarred our Borough and our neighborhood. It has similarly afflicted other Boroughs and locales as well. In response, there have been calls for augmented police action and personnel along with enhanced strategies on the part of the New York City Police Department (N.Y.P.D.) in order to deal with this daunting state of affairs. Neighborhood activists and residents, joined by their elected officials and prominent personalities, have taken to the streets, occupying them from dusk until the early morning hours in an endeavor to “take back” their streets from the hoodlums and the shooters. While I wholeheartedly endorse the tactics of these engaged and enraged fellow New Yorkers, I sadly note that, in our sister Borough of Brooklyn, when activists and residents resolutely positioned themselves in one crime location, a shooting tragically went down only a few short blocks away.  Criminals are like cockroaches  --  the light scatters them, clearing their putrid presence from one place, only to have the little menaces flee and take up refuge in another.

One may honestly complain at this point that nothing can be done to rescue society from the mayhem of gun violence and that there is no possible solution(s) to this pandemonium. I beg to differ. The answer to this problem is staring us right in the face. It looks right back at us each time we peer into a mirror.  The rejoinder to gun violence is our rejection of violence as an acceptable response to disagreements and difficulties in life.  You and I must come to realize that violence, most especially that involving the use of illegal weapons, is not meant to be part-and-parcel of our existence, but anathema to it. Regrettably, you and I, and far too many of our fellow New Yorkers and Americans, have accepted, perhaps tacitly or maybe grudgingly, that we must live with guns and tolerate the violence that they bring. Moreover, there are still too, too many in our society that are willing to accept  --  and even PROMOTE!  --  the possession of firearms, whether in accordance with law or in defiance thereof  --  and to employ them and violence when they feel justified in doing so. Violence will cease when we  --  ALL OF US!  --  renounce it as a legitimate means to end, when, in the messianic vision of the Prophet Isaiah, we “beat our swords into ploughshares.” Illegal guns will be wiped from the streets of America, of the City of New York, of our beautiful Borough of The Bronx, and of Community Board #12 (The Bronx) when each and every man, woman, and young person refuses to tolerate their infection of our neighborhood a single second longer.

I thank my good Friend, The Honorable Efrain Alvarado, Administrative Judge for Criminal Matters of the Twelfth Judicial District (Bronx County) for the enlightening and instructive conversation we had on the topic of social violence and illicit handguns recently. As always, the Justice was an insightful individual as well as an exceptional teacher. 

For those that share his vision and mine of a society in which problems created by people can be solved by people and in which the power of good can ultimately overcome that of evil, I invite you to stand up and speak out about illegal weapons. If you know of one  --  and of an individual who is willing to use it, possibly against you or one of your loved ones  --  I implore you once more  --  PLEASE AND IN THE NAME OF GOD!  --  to pick of the telephone and to call immediately, without fail or any hesitation, 1 - 866 - GUN STOP (1 - 866 - 486 - 7867).  The information you share with the Police will be confidential.  The life that you save may be your own.

Until next time, that is it for this time!

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