Drive By Shootings and Other Drive-bys
By Hank Mattimore
Ho Hum! Another drive by shooting in Oakland or Chicago, or San Jose.. We hardly notice them anymore. Tragic as it is to the victims, it’s yesterday’s news. Only the major terrorist attacks get much attention anymore.
The truth is, drive by shootings usually take place in inner city neighborhoods which are largely invisible to the eyes of middle class or more affluent folks. We may not say it but unconsciously we expect that “drive by’s are a dime of dozen in THOSE areas, and there’s nothing we can do about it anyway.”
Well, we are dead wrong about that. Drive by shootings happen for many reasons but they are all connected one way or another with you and me, with the dysfunctional prison system we allow to exist, with the deep and ever-widening chasm between the haves and the have nots, our underfunded educational and mental health programs, and outrageously out of balance military budget, etc etc etc. All of which we, as citizens, can do something about.
We are also guilty of a different type of drive-bys. We are not pulling the triggers of those AK 47’s but we too easily accept the murderous results of their actions.
We drive by the black kid being hassled by a police officer for no other reason than the color of his skin. We don’t SEE the elementary school in need of repair or the veteran waiting for the benefits long overdue him or the working family who have been priced out of a housing market unresponsive to the needs of ordinary people.
We are not bad people, you and me. Most of us are not totally unaware of what is going on in our midst. We don’t consider ourselves racist. (Hell no! my friend Jose is a great guy. We bowl together on Saturdays)
But folks, we are not hitting on all eight cylinders. Our potential for leaving this world a much better place is not being tapped fully, not even close. It’s so much easier to escape into the womb of a comfortable lifestyle.
Hey, we are not breaking any laws (well maybe we’ll fudge a bit on our taxes). We might even go to church on Sundays and not cheat on our spouses.
But is that what we want for ourselves and our lives? We want our legacy to proclaim to our own families and to the world that we managed our lives without making any waves ?
Medical students take the Hippocratic Oath to “First, do no harm,” but we would not have made the tremendous progress we have made in the practice of medicine if we stopped there.
The future for ourselves and our children is being written right now. Do we
Want to be an active participant in making this a better world or just another