Idiots with guns
Seattle is suffering a frightening contagion of mindless armed violence. Idiots with guns claiming lives and wounding others with stray rounds. Violence amped up to a delusional defense of honor and pride with murderous consequences for innocent people.
This urban tragedy is all the more disturbing because of the potential for the demented response it will inspire. Other idiots with guns will feel empowered to arm themselves and argue their right to protect the public. Please spare us the cheesy excuse to carry a piece into a diner or grocery store. An anxious city is not comforted by the prospect of hero wannabes itching to shoot back at - whatever.
One of the best antidotes for the current mayhem is for those who know the ones doing the shooting to contact authorities. This would not be an act of betrayal. Indeed, it might very well save the lives of loved ones on a path to suffer what they seek to inflict on others.
For a primer on what it takes to confront violence, concerned community members should start showing the 2011 documentary, "The Interrupters," around the city. The film by Steve James and Alex Kotlowitz follows members of the Violence Interrupters in Chicago. Their mission is to stop the next act of violence they know will follow a fight, a shooting, a murder. Essentially the film captures a gritty wisdom about the dynamic of neighborhood violence. Saving face, family pride and defending a sibling can have deadly consequences.
The Interrupters are not about world peace or urban harmony. This is all very close to home. They know preventing the next act of potentially lethal violence means interrupting the predictable path of emotions and events, and cooling things off.
(Video: Trailer for "The Interrupters" from Youtube user Kartemquin.)
Achenblog by Joel Achenbach
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