Killing Us Swiftly
ELINOR TATUM Publisher and Editor in Chief | 9/14/2011, 6:40 p.m.
BANG! BANG! BANG!
The sounds of gunfire are coming at our communities from every direction. Young people, the elderly, hard-working men and women are all gunned down on our streets, and no one seems to give a damn.
Our community activists have been fighting gun violence for decades. They have gone to the streets, to city hall, to churches, to gangs. They have been beating drums, asking folks to end the drug abuse, to stop the senseless killing-to no avail.
On these pages of the Amsterdam News, too often we have seen the pictures of those gunned down. And too often have there have been too many to show all of their faces.
Our young people are being killed playing in the park, walking down the street, going to school. Our working men and women are being slain sitting on their stoops, enjoying a block party. This violence must stop.
But the problem is the way the powers that be believe they can curb the violence. Increasing stop-and-frisks does not work. Profiling does not work. Locking more kids up for petty crimes does not work. Putting more police in patrol cars does not work.
So what does work?
Giving kids an excellent education and having them want to learn-that works.
Providing employment opportunities to young people that can lead to meaningful careers and a sense of value for their lives-that works.
Genuine community policing-that works.
A true desire to get guns off the streets-that works.
If the powers that be believe in the necessity of keeping upstate employed on the backs of our young people by continuing a cycle of incarceration, nothing will change in our communities.
We need a plan from the federal, state and local governments working in tandem with the community.
There is no legitimate reason why our governor has stayed silent on the issue of gun violence. There is no reason why our mayor has timidly sat back and watched thousands of guns infiltrate our street.
We do not make guns. We do not import guns, automatic or otherwise. But we are killed by them every day. We need to stop this madness and make our city safe.
If this problem is not addressed, we will lose our next generation-or perhaps that's what the powers that be want after all.