Storming the Castle

 

This week, in a community very near and dear to me—A gunman took aim at a crowd of boys and men finishing a basketball game. Three were killed, four wounded, just outside a Boys & Girls Club. A place where hot meals are served, literacy programs are breeding successful young children. A place where young adults are trained to give back to their community. This single gunman in a drive by shooting successfully murdered 3 of those upstanding young men part of a Step Up Program basketball game. 

 
A day later, on the same grounds, the Mayor is interrupted at her own quiet press conference by a passionate, compassionate man: telling his own story. As news cameras turn he divulged information about his own life, his own community. Spiked with outrage his concern for his life at 56 years old—is not what illness will take him down but confessing his fear of "black on black crime" "every 32 hours", he exclaims another and another succumbs to this tragedy. The lovely Mayor, graciously allows him the soap box and he mentors on, the cameras roll.
 
Beauty amongst the tragedy. Courage amongst the carnage. 
 
Day 1 the aftermath: Former Police Chief interviewed; the message is clear "let it go" work toward letting go of the violence by letting go of past vendettas. Gang related crimes. 
 
Day 2 the DA reminds us firmly it is our suburban and urban duty to all come forward. 
 
2 Days before the murders and driveby shooting: I pass by the Director of that same Boys & Girls Club at the grocery store—tap him on the shoulder to wave "hello" only—as he was deep in conversation on his cell phone. I spotted him and honesty could have walked by. I cash out in a very crowded store and a 7 items or less lane, to look up and see him waiting to speak to me—while he is still visibly on the phone. He asks me how I am and speaks to me about the up coming fundraising gala and the Capital Building Campaign brochure I am working on, he says "they love it" and the past chairman requires a few changes. He smiles. And continues to tell me how all this is happening while the construction of the new building/facility is underway and they are all in flux while moving will begin between now and that first gala. Still smiling. I think to myself and ask how are the kids doing with this exciting new change at the Club--"Good, good!" he says. We head out our separate ways, "see you in October" we both seem to say. 
 
This is my community. And especially, now. 
 
Up until mid-April I had been a long-standing suburbanite; not by choice but by accidental nurture. When my girls both went off to college last fall I started actively searching for my DT sanctuary. I found it and submerged myself in like a warm bath. 
 
Our numbers are not good. 1 in 4 children in my county community lives in poverty. Our local newspaper reports 50% of my City's community lives in poverty. 
 
We historically have one of the highest homicide morality rates. Violence begets violence. 
 
Forgiveness must be made. Peace is what this community is seeking!! But their voice is unheard! It's overrun by bad words spoken of everyone; stereotypes and close-minded people who don't have empathy for what is truly going on here. 
 
I have words for you—anyone who takes violence as a choice is always wrong. 
 
Now, you have the gall to storm this castle while its walls are being rebuilt. This community is appalled. Listen, you coward and cowards everywhere: You've messed with the wrong community! We are resilient. We are strong.
 
And
 
My kind reminder: Remember our strengths. Remember our courage. You build your community. That is your "human" responsibility. Whether it is your "church", your neighborhood, your girlfriends, your friends' friends, your kids' school, your neighborhood YMCA, your local Boys & Girls Club, your workplace; your nieces and nephews. Kids are our future, period. Raise every child up as if they were your own. 
 
Kindness begets kindness. 
 
It is the beauty of the thorns you adorn that I adore and always will. That is who I am in any community I am in. 
 
—DFTC

Just my rant. 

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Comments (44)

  1. Munkyman

    Reason.
    Gangs aren’t generally know to be reasonable.
    Their beefs can’t be settled in court.
    The police aren’t going to help, they’d rather find something on the person reporting.
    The police aren’t going to help, it’s a beef over a criminal enterprise.
    So they have their own justice
    & it can’t survive being reasonable it must be severe
    … sadly it’s generally indiscriminate.
    The police can’t help they show up after, they’re not prescient.
    Prisons don’t help, they call it college & they’re right.
    Schools don’t help zero tolerance just hastens the process.
    Boys & Girls Club helps, it takes kids who aren’t stars & helps them stay in the right direction.
    Charter schools help, they take kids & give them the structure they need whatever that structure may be, a very nice option to “juvie.”
    In situations like this an armed citizenry doesn’t help much, that’s why drive-bys exist.
    An armed citizenry does reduce the victim pool
    & lends courage to people who are often legitimately afraid to speak up,
    because the cops will just get there in time to take away the body.

    August 23, 2015
    1. drivefaastakechances

      I don’t disagree with anything you are saying — what I am positively seeing this time, and what I failed to mention this rant is that big voicing community leaders are saying this is a community issue not a police issue! So I have hope mixed with strength mixed with passion and compassion. I want to be a part of this change. We can only change this with our kindness, understanding and compassion. We NEED to educated the suburbs about what is truly going on in our cities—stop just reporting the bad news that travels. Report the good to more than just the entrepreneurs and philanthropist who have money to give to the inner city organizations—the suburbs who can come to the city to spend their monies, volunteer their time, spread the word what positive changes are currently happening at povert levels. Currently we have urban suburban programs which I believe are also helping our communities separate or together. We can’t solve this overnight, as police chief is saying but if we can start taking about it openly and safely—using the programs in place we can keep making progress. Making reports of every incident. Coming forward with what we do know. Including something as simple as an illegal firearm; it’s a step at a time. Rising above fear.

      August 23, 2015
      1. Munkyman

        There has always been those who speak of taking responsibility, the problem has always been too few want to. Leaders talking doesn’t make it any safer for someone to talk if they do want their lives credibly threatened. It’s a step but, it’s a step that’s been taken often, more like a latin hustle than a waltz.

        August 23, 2015
        1. drivefaastakechances

          Like anything it can be a chess game or or dance as you say—I don’t care who is talking as long as they are making positive non-violent, stop-the-cycle of abuse statements. We can only change us. You can only change you. But by changing me I have in affect or effect changed “you” and my environment by changing the dance. Does that make sense?

          August 23, 2015
          1. Munkyman

            It is encouraging when there’s been so little.

            August 23, 2015
      2. Munkyman

        Another thing that has helped is the infiltration of a motivated cohesive growing sub community, displacing the bad element… urban renewal. It doesn’t help so much as move the problem to a new bottom. Education in a form the child can use it. Work for the parents that want it, help for families that are intact & stumbling instead of almost exclusively single mothers & help getting to work they can do worth wanting. Dignity is the best cure for crime.

        August 23, 2015
        1. drivefaastakechances

          I love this statement. Dignity is the best cure for crime. When are backs are pressed up against the wall is the time for courage. Where care is is a place to heal. Believing in someone is letting them grow. Growing a garden of dignity will make change. This is third time I have written a reply and it deletes, the first ones are better :-(. Thank you again for are you beautiful thoughts and ideas and opinions. Without them my community here would be different. Thank you.

          August 26, 2015
          1. Munkyman

            August 26, 2015
    2. drivefaastakechances

      And it’s not just gangs as you mentioned it is the how it affects the environment the gangs choose to storm. The families that are already tired with loss and stress. I choose to support the programs that help these changes. Help folks help themselves. Thank you for reading, btw, Munk.

      August 23, 2015
      1. Munkyman

        https://youtu.be/V5-2-Xh0wxk

        August 23, 2015
        1. drivefaastakechances

          That’s a great song! I can’t get it to play but I know it well. Thanks for that kind reminder. Maybe I am a hippie at heart.

          August 23, 2015
  2. Hugh_Pizmehoff

    We are all responsible for our own community, because we are the community.

    August 23, 2015
    1. drivefaastakechances

      Precisely. One small community at a time with great focus! Thank you for reading.

      August 23, 2015
  3. bythesea

    Those who have left these communities to rot with unemployment and social issues sit comfortably in their walked mansions watching CNN shaking their heads and saying it will never happen in their community. But the storm is coming, and even they will not be able to hide.

    August 23, 2015
    1. drivefaastakechances

      Closed-mindedness happens at all income levels. It’s getting stuck and u education that continues that perverse behaviors. What boils my meat is not the lack of giving but the lack of giving in your own backyard. Don’t get me wrong I am all about supporting 3rd world nations with education, running water and food. But my city is amongst the top 5 poverty list for its country. Poverty not only causes extreme stress but produces crime. Lack of good employment for smart people make a cess pool of unhealthy. We need to find a way to talk to our homeless, not ignore them. We must find ways to give with the little we have leftover in time or monies to the right organizations. That make a difference. Pretty soon their will be more of us then there are of them is my hope. But then again; there will always be a high capacity gun available, illegally obtained. There are so many damned variables. But guess what; I’m fucking patient. Just tell me what more I can do to make a change and stop this type of violence. I’m not the smartest cookie but I have other talents. 😊

      August 23, 2015
  4. 12SunOryx

    I’m sorry to hear…

    August 23, 2015
    1. drivefaastakechances

      Thank you for reading, Sun. Ideas are spoken from courage if you have any thoughts please mention them, I am open to read them

      August 26, 2015
  5. scarletts_letters

    I wish I had answers, I don’t, hang in there lovely lady

    August 24, 2015
    1. drivefaastakechances

      You don’t have to. This is why we are here to write down thoughts and share ideas in this community. Right? Thank you for reading, Scarlett, and for always sharing your creativity and ideas. Ideas are born from thought and good ones are executed through collaboration—

      August 26, 2015
      1. scarletts_letters

        I wish I did though, I’m certainly opinionated enough but mostly it’s opinion not that I’m knowledgeable on a topic. I’m glad if anything I do helps, mostly I think I’m an entertainment, a distraction, that’s enough for me.

        August 27, 2015
  6. EyeVey

    I remember way back in the early 90’s, there was this black woman who had enough with the street crime where she lived. She said, something along the lines of: this is my street, not yours; this is my neighborhood not yours.
    I took what she said seriously, especially when it came to two gangs who were putting down stakes in nearby neighborhoods. We organized a group of about 30 men and women who were home at all hours, to be a visible presence on the streets. It was amazing to watch one day, surreal, as a group of 9 gang members began to walk through our community looking for someone. We all watched them, and they knew we were out there watching, and they became so uncomfortable that they left.

    August 24, 2015
    1. drivefaastakechances

      This is amazing, E! The courage it must have taken to devise a plan and pull together like that—it sounds like a movie—so surreal! Was this your neighborhood, or the outskirts

      August 26, 2015
      1. EyeVey

        When this happened, I was on the homeowner’s association board, and it ticked me off because we had several teens in our community who ended up in the gang. We had a kid in the gang who lived right outside the community who was harassing residents…his father was on the Ft Lauderdale police force. Our local police department was amazing and they were part of a multi county gang task force.
        It was, to say the least, a very interesting period of time.

        August 27, 2015
  7. funfreak

    You are such a passionate and articulate spokesperson for the urban community. I applaud you. I’ve always felt that if we don’t aid and support our cities, we loose our cultural, ethnic, and historical roots. Would you consider a run for the presidency?

    August 24, 2015
    1. drivefaastakechances

      I couldn’t agree with you more in your statement, Jo. It is our community to be part of if we choose. Where I live is not a NYC but it’s crimes and poverties seem as such, yet we are a warm and beautiful population fewer and farther between. We have wonderful restaurants, lots of live music, weekly festivals at very decent prices. Our cost of living is lower. We have markets in it seems nearly every neighborhood, the biggest being DT that accept public assistance benefit cards. I am proud to live here—and I love it’s people. Thank you for taking time to read and to comment so positively. Every community needs it—positivity. I think you know this. I am not sure you realize just how much I appreciate your reading me.

      August 24, 2015
  8. Buddhazilla

    The smell of a cultural awakening is tickling my senses. I think the sheep are growing weary. 3/4 of the prison population are non-violent criminals, our law enforcement needs a paradigm shift in their collective focus.

    August 24, 2015
    1. drivefaastakechances

      I wrote a comment here and it deleted or didn’t post, ugh. Thank you Budddha for always coming through positivity and new perspective and for reading me. Your presence is always encouraging and thoughtful. Thank you.

      August 26, 2015
      1. Buddhazilla

        very sweet of you-thank you

        August 31, 2015
  9. GoldenPig2012

    That’s appalling. It scares me. It makes me wonder if I am doing enough, is there more? I have no understanding of the urge to commit violence upon another, except my ex-husband, now I DID fantasize about violence while married, but, that isn’t the same thing. For almost 30 years I’ve strived to teach my children to NOT be violent: we don’t hit, we don’t destroy, we don’t harm another because we would not want them to do it to us. I’m sorry this happened in your community. How frightening. I suppose all we can do is continue to live by example.

    August 25, 2015
    1. drivefaastakechances

      Thank you for you kind and encouraging words, GP. I’m sorry that happened in your community yet you found a way to lead by example and raise respectful children. Your community being your marriage. Anger has a funny way of presenting itself, differently the way it does, amongst the sexes, doesn’t it—

      August 26, 2015
      1. GoldenPig2012

        Of course, we are individuals and we all act upon our experience, beliefs, hopes, disappointments, etc. But, I do believe, in the big scheme of things, most of us WANT peace, do not ever want to have to commit violence and actually care about others.

        August 26, 2015
  10. drivefaastakechances

    I needed to vent and remind myself why I moved here and figure a way to be mobile around this potential paralyzingly trauma. What I needed to say, here, is there appears to be hope and strength in a space that could feel hopeless. I am a new observer trying to wrap my head around how as, an individual I can help safely mobilize—and when. What I have learned from all of this is the number of programs that exist for youth in that area, lead by youth in that area. Those are the courageous ones. I have learned in my own life there must be a plan, a plan of action however paralyze I felt and that a community is just that—who decides to be a part of it and what we do to be a part of it. Thank you for reading–it means a lot that you do—that you card to comment helps me think forward

    August 26, 2015