Senseless violence. A child’s life cut short. A mother’s heart broken. A neighborhood terrorized.
From the article:
Ashake Banks said she opened a candy stand on the street of her North Austin block two weeks ago to keep kids close to their homes and maybe away from gang crossfire.
Late Wednesday night, Banks’ 7-year-old daughter Heaven was sitting next to Banks as she sold snacks and snow cones when someone opened fire down the street around 10:45 p.m.
Heaven was shot in the back and died half an hour later.
“I’m lost for words. That was my pride and joy,” Banks said. The little girl had been looking forward to going to Disney World next month.
Police recently released statistics showing the number of Chicago Public School students shot this past school year — 319 — was the highest in four years. The toll from last weekend’s gun violence in the city included the deaths of two boys, 13 and 14.
This should bother you.
Having worked in the news business years ago, I will admit that I became somewhat immune to stories like this at one point. Sadly, these kind of stories are just part of what constitutes news. You’re compelled to report on incidents that involve a life being taken. It is by its very nature, news when someone is killed. People need to know what’s going on in their neighborhoods and getting that message out is important.
Reading story after story of people who were killed or injured, or whatever it might have been was just part of an average day for me. Plus, part of my job was to deliver those stories without getting overly emotional or attached to them. So I did.
But I don’t think it takes working in the news business to ‘get used to’ stories like this one. No matter where you live, chances are incidents like this are taking place at least somewhere in the general area. Plus, we are in an age where information is readily available through countless sources and it’s only a matter of time before our brains become conditioned to hearing about tragedies like this one. People are sadly ‘used to’ seeing this type of story in the headlines.
This story bothers me, though.
It bothers me and I have a blog, so for better or worse you get to read about that here. If you’ve read this far, I have a request. Stop what you’re doing for a moment and really think about 1) how blessed you are to be alive and to have what you have, and 2) how you can help others who may not be as fortunate or have the kind of opportunities you do.
The second part is a fairly broad request but after taking a few minutes to contemplate the first part, I hope it will become more clear as to what you can do to make a difference in someone else’s life.
If not, let me just say this: Someone needs you today. You can make a difference, no matter who you are. Mentor someone. Become a Big Brother or Big Sister. Volunteer at a youth center. Be there for your own kids. The time you spend with a young person could give them the hope they lack or the knowledge that might enable them to make the right decisions for their lives instead of wrong ones, like the shooter(s) in this case did.
Regardless of who you are and what your time/talent/treasure might be, you can absolutely make a difference in someone’s life and in your community as a whole.
Rest in peace, little girl. I trust you’re in a better place now…the same place you were named after.