Posted by tonibee on Aug 26, 2008.

Gunshots on my Lawn

I was in a community computer lab in the Port/Area 4 ‘round 3:40 pm on August 24th when I heard “pop pop BANG pop pop…” Suddenly every eye turned from their typing and gaming with an alarmed look that hurled the question “Was that gunshots?” I rushed outside selfishly praying there were no ‘bodies’. After all, my child, my nephew, and 98 other youth attend camps in the immediate area of the shooting - and at least a hundred others play at parks daylong. So in my panic I only thought of “The Babies!!!!”….

At least ten other neighbors cautiously spilled out into the streets, fear furrowing our eyebrows, as we witnessed two camp councilors with 20 kids rush from Clement Morgan Park “come on hurry!!!” they uttered while fast tracking their way back to a “safe spot”…Community members discussed what they saw, and we all unified in our fear and our mutual concern for each other as we spoke about the audacity of folks shooting Gunshots on our lawns.

The Audacity of the assailants to put the life of your daughter-his god child-her nephew-your MaMa-my cousin’s baby daddy- at risk. And the Audacity of someone, of the "world" daring to tell me to “be quiet” when my fiery mouth was quiet anyway (this season) and I Still had to dodge bullets even when I didn’t cause issues … Don’t tell me to be quiet as I am terrorized due to conflict that ain’t my business anyway. Quiet easily gets you killed, for gunmen have no target practice skills and bullets pierce at will no matter name age or race…

I am scared and sad and upset and alarmed that today I could have been planning to go to a neighbor’s, an elder’s, some 8 year olds’ funeral instead of writing this piece. I am writing this ‘cause I want to be the silent scared Punk that twitters within…I am writing for this is my protest and it is by far easier than risking my life on “Peace Walks” around the way with my neighbors…

So what will your protest be…Uncle, Daddy, Junior, Auntie, Old G, his Baby’s mother, my peers? Can we prevent these stray gunshots and frankly How? (SHHHHH be quiet…don’t go to meeting…stay in the house…and when you go out pray a stray shot don’t come your way while picking up milk at the corner store for your babe)….Don’t say a word just prepare your self to buy the bouquet of flowers for the next innocent one who falls…Sure they caught a few assailants this time but there are others out there for sure…and the time’ll come when they strike again. Then what? What will your/our protest (if any) be…Who will act who will rail who shall PeaceWalk who will pray who will engage the young who will make it so that there will be no more gunshots on our lawns

Comments

oh, Toni Bee, I just read about this today and I want to thank you for your eloquence, your anger, your call to all of us - I feel that knot in my stomach of "what if"

well said, Sister Bee. staying silent does end with innocents getting killed. generations in our cities grow up in a violent world; how do we change that?

Submitted by toniBee on

Anita,
I appreciate you reading and writing back. I like that you asked
How do we change our violent world - part of the answer is by using your gift to speak, to art, or to write about it. Even though we may be meek, scared or feel weak they can't beat back the fiercesness of our God given talent. I know that talent can make a positive difference
Bzzzzzzzzzzzz

Submitted by toniBee on

I appreciate your words Susan,
My heart is still in my throat as I have no choice BUT to walk down these beautiful at times violent streets in Area 4 - I mean I risk my life (AND MY DAUGHTER'S!!!) simply by living on this 'hood? Well if my life is at risk anyway I might As well Holler about it Cause I know I am not the only one who is still Scared as hell....
toniBee