Last Sunday morning at about 2:00 a.m., just down the street and around the corner from our house, two people were murdered.
Evidently, the couple, a 44-year-old man and a 27-year-old woman, were returning home when someone drove up and fired an automatic weapon, killing both.
The gunfire woke me up. It sounded as if it was in our front yard. We can see the home of the unfortunate couple from our front porch.
Since the grim event, friends and family have been coming and going, no doubt in an effort to comfort other family members who reside there.
Such an event and the loss of life is terrifying, to say the least.
But, underneath the senseless act of violence lurks a paralyzing sort of despair.
How could such a thing ever happen? What sort of insane rage or senseless de-valuing of life could arrive at such a moment, at such a terribly wrong decision?
Violence among the poor is a terrible fact of life in urban America. The ready availability of firearms, automatic weapons, doesn't help us.
Even worse than the proliferation of cheap weapons, if you can imagine anything worse, is the growing sense that life doesn't much matter.
If a person believes that his life is pretty much useless and without meaning or hope, why should he refrain from acting out this self-understanding? Often drug-induced acts of violence signal the depth of the loss of personal meaning and life purpose.
There is no excuse for such acts of irrational violence.
The answer to violence in the city must involve stepped-up law enforcement strategies, as well as heightened community cooperation and engagement.
But law enforcement will not provide ultimate solutions. No human effort will.
"Growing hope"--read "germinating" just here--in the ghetto must occupy a central place in any realistic strategy to reduce the senseless violence flowing from hopeless rage, gang life's counterfeit community, drug addiction/dealing and personal loss of meaning.
Gunshots in the night or the peaceful silence of rest will provide concrete markers for our progress or regress in inner city neighborhoods.
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