11.29.2007

NO MORE KILLINGS

I appreciated David Aldridge's sentiment in this morning's column on the Sean Taylor killing: "Time to Stop All the Dying." There are a lot of ways you can respond to all the killing in Philadelphia. You can put it out of your mind, deciding all these murders are happening in neighborhoods you've never been in, so it's really of no meaningful relevance to you. You can consider Philadelphia a violent place and decide not to vacation here, or if you live here to move out as soon as you have kids. You can be committed to Philadelphia and lament that all the murders mean exactly that: less tourism and less families.

Or you can decide that it is a damned shame that so many people are dying violently and prematurely. I got the chance to work with a lot of young black men at my previous job. Not all came from the best of circumstances, but all of them were intelligent, hard-working, and promising. It scares me that a bullet or a blade cares not about those traits. I already know of one young man who I thought the world of whose life was ended on the other side of a barrel of a gun, and that is one too many, and I shudder at the thought of learning of others in the future who I know who will meet the same fate.

It is often said that a silver lining of tragedy is that we come to grips with what is really important in life, namely life itself. Is 365 murders and counting in 2007 enough tragedy to cause us pause for reflection, conviction, and action? Shame on our cold, judgmental, and insular hearts if it isn't.
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