The normalcy of violence

The following popped up in my Facebook feed this morning. It’s a post I wrote nine years ago. After reading it, I thought it would make a good blog, since it echoes the situation in my little cosmopolitan city today. Little Rock is currently experiencing far too much violence. Our population is 203,000. For 2022, we had eighty-one killings, a record number. City and community leaders are scratching their heads and actively working to stem the tide of violence in our city. I know that sounds horrible for such a small city, but I caution you to not construct an image of people roaming the streets of our city hankering to find someone to kill.

My twenty-two-year-old son just told me about the death of a friend of his, a young man about his age. When he mentioned it, I assumed this death wasn’t due to some natural cause. Does my conclusion speak volumes about my morbid perspective of the world, or the sad state of affairs in society? It’s probably more of a testament to the latter than the former. My son’s friend was shot. Although my son didn’t know the details, he simply said he was shot in a club.

Since about his junior year of high school, my son has, with some regularity, received the unfortunate news that one of his friends, associates, or homeboys has lost life due to some violent act. His emotional response to receiving this sad news is usually tepid in tone. I notice in him an almost, “that’s-the-way-it-is” reaction. I’ve even heard him refer to Little Rock as “Lil-Iraq.” That play on words says a lot about his generation versus mine. From my teen though early adulthood years, my friends and I got most of our bad news about young men dying from war statistics, the war in Vietnam not in the streets of America. After sixty-three years of living, I’m beginning to get a sense that each generation has its own population reduction process for robbing the future of human potential. I know that sounds fatalistic. I don’t mean to sound so, but the facts are what they are, aren’t they? God help us.

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.