“Shots fired! Shots fired!”
How many times have we as citizens in Austin said that as we scream into the phone at the 911 operator?
How often do we see yellow caution tape stretched across a crime area? Or worse, the red caution tape?
How many times have we seen, read or heard of a death, whether it be an innocent or a gangbanger?
How many times do we need to have this go on until everyone wakes up and says, “I have had enough?”
Just this Tuesday, May 27th, my husband and I – along with our daughter, son-in-law, two baby granddaughters, one grandson and a niece – were outside enjoying the day.
The grandson and niece were rolling around in the backyard, the two baby granddaughters sipping their sippy cups and running around after the older kids, and the rest of us sitting and chatting.
On this peaceful, warm day when families are walking around, pushing baby strollers and neighborhood kids are out riding bikes, multiple shots rang out.
People were running in all directions, and I ran to call 911 to say . . .
“Shots fired! Shots fired!”
That night I was up till the early morning hours, emotions swirling around in my head. First, shock, then anger, bewilderment, sadness, concern about the safety of my family – and anger again.
Inside my mind I am waving my arms in the air shouting, “Why?
How can people let this go on? How can people be so disconnected whether they live in the affected areas or not? How can I do something?
Why are the people not angry enough to do something? Why do some parents let their kids do this, or do they just give up, or are they part of the problem?
Why? Why? Why?
I read in the paper almost every day and receive emails from a community activist about how many shootings there are and how many people are killed. It’s sad to read this.
Again, why? How?
But a small voice keeps saying, nagging, “What can you do? Who do you know could bring this to the forefront and keep it there, not just another article to read and forget?”
The next morning, I read this quote: “One of the hardest parts of life is deciding whether to walk away or try harder.”
So, I decided to try harder. I decided I am not going to take this anymore.
I refuse to be a prisoner in my own home. I refuse to live in conditions that are not safe for anyone.
I decided to call the police commander and make an appointment to talk about this violence; I contacted the four aldermen in Austin; I wrote to the editor of a local online web site; I emailed the community activist and others to bring this out into the light.
And I am going to keep going till this is taken seriously.
I am not going to take this anymore, and I am not going to sit on my hands and expect someone else to do this. I AM GOING TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT and shout, yell, holler, write, email, call, Tweet, Facebook anyone and everyone about stopping . . .
“Shots fired! Shots fired!” must become peace and safety.