Any reaction to a 12-year-old being shot on one of our streets is appropriate.
Shock, dismay, anger, sadness – we can't even ponder the story and not have those reactions.
Bullets have no place on our streets, and when shooters begin firing toward children, our outrage should be unequivocal.
This is an outrage that cannot stand.
We have written too many times this year alone in this space about the need for an end to violence. Again, we recognize the wearing nature of readers seeing continual stories about homicides and senseless deaths, in our community, state, nation and world. But we cannot ignore them or normalize them. We continue to need to be furious and in a genuine search for solutions.
Just as there's not a single identifiable reason for the ongoing violence, there's no single magic cure for it. Our city working to make itself better can be an important part. Better schools, continuing to build effective after-school programs, investment in struggling neighborhoods, better jobs – all the kinds of things every city, including ours, pursues, and all things that are noble in both goal and accomplishment.
We must also encourage and enable witnesses to report what they see. Guns are being fired in neighborhoods, neighborhoods where children and adults are standing outside. There have to be witnesses. We – and “we” means citizens along with law enforcement – must provide a way for witnesses to do their part and be protected.
Because our neighbors deserve every amount of protection we can afford them. Only by finding and incarcerating offenders can we hope to have any opportunity to make that guarantee.
We are weary of urging calm. We are weary of expressing sadness, anger and condolences. Until we come up with a solution, and prove we are better than we are showing in 2017, we are only people who read headlines about guns destroying lives, briefly feel a sense of hopelessness and outrage, then go about our day.