The Killing Must Stop
By Kathy Reschini Sweeney
No boob jokes. No snark. I look like the same person, but inside I am a piece of fragile glass, teetering on the edge of stability and shatter.
Yesterday, in Pittsburgh, my town that I love, someone opened fire in a hospital lobby with a 9mm handgun. Maybe two guns. I know this happens all over the place, all the time. But not here. Not within a few block radius of schools and other hospitals.
I'm not an idiot. We have shootings here. We have tragedies of all kinds. They are senseless in their own way - gangs, violent crime, relationships gone bad. We lose young kids here who get caught in the crossfire.
But this one got me. Partially because my son and many of the young men and women he grew up with were on lockdown in their schools. I understand the reason. I accept that it is standard protocol in post 9/11 America. But do you have any idea what it does to a mother bear to know that she is not only powerless, but forbidden, to protect her own? Never mind that my cub has been taller than me for years. Never mind that he has the brains and the strength to take care of himself.
Someone with a gun threatened what is mine to shield and cherish.
Upon reflection, I realize part of my reaction was based on the recent focus on Joseph Kony. If you have a teenager in the house, you probably already heard about this - these kids have some kind of social media insider network and they were on top of this story a a full two days in front of the media - and in our days of 24-hour news, that is saying something.
Joseph Kony is a Ugandan war lord. For way too many years, he has cut a swath of terror in Africa by kidnapping children and turning them into soldiers or slaves to power his army. I had never even heard his name. Now I see his face. I see faces of kids who could be mine. There is a 30-minute movie, and lots of other information out there. I don't know enough about the organization to post it here (learned my lesson from the Komen Foundation) but I encourage you to at least find out about this evil man. He needs to be stopped.
Tired of hearing "no" from the alleged powers that be, a group of people started a campaign to raise awareness. They are calling it "Kony 2012" and their goal is to make this murderer a household name, giving him no where to hide. The International Criminal Court at the Hague has him listed as their #1 War Crimes Criminal. I think it's a damn shame that I had to learn about his reign of mutilation and horror from my 16-year old, while every "news" source out there is more content to tell you who the Kardashians are fucking this week. And it's an even worse shame that the only reason the politicians are paying attention to this is because it's an election year and they have a bunch of angry voters to appease. Nauseating.
WHAT THE HELL?
Maybe that is the answer. Maybe we all have to start talking about guns and killing until we find some answers. I freely admit that I don't want to talk about it. Hell, I don't want to think about it. Denial is one of my people's greatest tools.
But this cannot continue. We cannot abide the killing, on any scale.
We can no longer be content to pray for peace or hope for an end to violence. We need to do something. SOMETHING. And life experience, as illustrated by the Kony 2012 program, tells us that our governments, left to their own devices, will do nothing.
We need ideas. We need a plan. We need to come together to stop the killing.
I have no idea how to do this. I am asking for help - ideas big and small. Because alone, we are potential victims. But together, we can be a force to be reckoned with. The killing must stop.