“We have created an atmosphere which violence and hatred have become popular pastimes.” -- Martin Luther Kind, Jr.
In November 2005, we witnessed the shooting death of 11-year-old Mynisha Crenshaw and in 2006, 11-year-old Anthony Ramirez, was killed by some reckless, careless, don’t care gang members getting revenge on someone but killing innocent children. Now in September 2011, we witness the shooting death of 3-year-old Nylah Irene Franco-Torrez, who was killed by the same senseless act of violence from a reckless and careless thug with a gun.
Once again we will hold car washes to bury the dead ones whose life has been cut short while the killer will be placed on the public budget for us to care for the rest of their life. If Mynisha, Anthony, or Nylah had been able to live into adulthood, maybe they could have found the cure to cancer or other agonizing diseases or been the parents of a line of children that we could all be proud of. But we will never hear of them again other than when something like this happens but family members will be asking questions until their death. To them I say only God has the final answer but I think there are some things we as citizens can and must do to reduce this type of killing.
According to the Center for Disease Control, 3% of gun related deaths in America fall into the accidental shooting category and 9 children are killed each day in America by guns. Most of these guns are in the hands of what we consider youth between the ages of 16 to 24 years, usually in urban cities. I am well aware of our constitutional rights to bare arms but those rights do not extend to all and local jurisdictions must find a way to enact and enforce gun restrictions within its city limits without violating the rights of legitimate gun owners. I would encourage citizens to meet with the new San Bernardino Chief of Police Robert Handy and have an open and frank discussion about this issue and the killing of innocent children by the hands of random gunfire.
Maybe a code of conduct can be developed in your neighborhoods and what to report when you suspect behavior of youth behaving badly. My dad and mom use to tell me “a idle mind is the devil’s workshop” and that is why we try and keep you busy with something to do. They knew I would be busy doing something good or bad. The same is true with our people today regardless of one’s age and put a gun in their hands and you have a recipe for danger.
The City of San Bernardino was just awarded one of America’s most playful cities because of its attention to parks and recreation facilities and they are to be commended for this honor. How to make it truly work is going to take the commitment of citizens to make it work. Citizens will need to meet with city leaders to explore ways to engage our people between 16 and 24 years. We know the unemployment rate is over 14.7% and higher for this age group so someone has to begin the dialogue of what can we do before another baby is gunned down by a stray bullet.
We must change the atmosphere where violence is the favorite pastime.
Dr. Albert Karnig has been good for our community
After 15 years at the helm of California State University San Bernardino, Dr. Albert Karnig is retiring. He said, “it is time to pass the torch to a new steward.” Knowing when to pass the torch is key in a relay race and the same is true in life.
Dr. Karnig has been good for the university and the Inland Empire community especially the African American population. He took over at a time when Blacks were not sure if the university was friend or foe. He reached out and brought us into the decision and planning process of the university. He was invited to speak at various congregations in the community to demonstrate education was important and that we had a place on campus.
He is not leaving right away but I wanted to recognize his announcement and let him know I appreciate what he has done. I also want to thank him for inviting my wife and I to dinner and the nice evening with the greatest blues singer Mr. B.B. King several months ago.
Dr. Karnig many people in the area can learn from your style of leadership in working in a community of diverse people and ideas. You and Marilyn have made our lives richer.