Yesterday, an hour and a half after my girls got out of school, a 16 year old boy was shot and killed in the alley behind their school. From what we’ve heard, he was shot by his “friend” with whom he walking home from Dollar General after they got into some type of argument.
Craziness. Try explaining that to your kids. Alaina’s first response? “The guy’s in jail right?” Um, not yet.
And reassuring them that they are safe. Cami said, “Why do they want to shoot *us*?” They don’t sweetie. It wasn’t a random shooting.
I’ve been so troubled by it all night and today. There was hardly anything in the news about it. A brief “another killed earlier today” comment on a local news station. Too many deaths, Indy. Too many deaths if a 16 year old being shot and killed before 5pm right by a school in an established urban neighborhood becomes an added sentence to a different “breaking” news story about four others being found dead.
The one thing the shooting has confirmed for me: That revitalizing a neighborhood is never a finished project. There’s more work to do. There’s more reason to stay. There’s a continued need for commitment.
I could write so much more, about how we need to get guns out of kids’ hands, about the family life (or lack thereof) of so many kids these days, about women who make stupid choices with the wrong men, etc. But I’m not going to.
I just want to ask you to stay committed. If you live downtown, don’t pack up and move. If you worship downtown, pray about how God will use you and your church. If you send your kids to school downtown, enroll for another year. If you work or volunteer with urban youth, DON’T STOP.
The only way this violence is going to get better is through relationships where these kids see that shooting someone isn’t the answer. They have to see that there has got to be a better way, a better life. Seeing how families should treat each other, love each other. What being a man really means and looks like.
So don’t run. Don’t stay holed up in your house because you’re scared. Be seen. And be active. It’s the only way we’ll make a difference.