Essay on Gun Violence: Be Aware
By Ali Amani
The scene couldn’t be more normal. The sun spreads its rays to the pavements below, brightening up the day in both senses of the word. Endless crowds populate the street, chatter and car engines setting the city sound that’s as familiar as your own breath. Today shouldn’t be different than any other day, right? You go about your business, taking part in the simple, innocent act of living your life, as you’ve done yesterday, as you’re doing today, and as you will do tomorrow. In a perfect world, this would be true. In a perfect world, you’d be living a happy life, a peaceful life, where everything is as it should be. In a perfect world, you wouldn’t have to face the possibility of being murdered in broad daylight, because someone doesn’t like the color of your skin.
But sadly, this world isn’t perfect. Injustice and unfairness have happened in the past, and we’d love nothing more than to say we’ve learned from our mistakes. We’d like to think that all is well and fine, but what’s currently happening in the world shows us that this perspective couldn’t be farther from the truth. While our society has come a long way in the struggle against racism, we still have a long way to go on the matter. As was said, we like to believe the better and look away from the worse, and racial discrimination against African Americans is among what we turn a blind eye to. Since the day we could walk, seeing past the color of someone’s skin is taught as regularly as the alphabet, and yet racism is so common amongst our society that it’s treated almost casually. When you actually pay attention to the matter, it’s sickening to see how many innocent African Americans are persecuted, mistreated, even killed, and worst of all, it’s overlooked.
With authority comes responsibility. We are all supposed to believe that this holds true for everyone, that those with power will never abuse it. But the shooting of innocent people by those whose motto is “protect and serve” doesn’t exactly play along with those expectations. Police brutality, the “Stand Your Ground” laws, all of this has not only oppressed or even killed innocent African Americans, but inflicted irreparable damage to the lives of their families as well. All you need to do is look it up and you’ll find thousands of cases of racism happening in the world we live in, from mistreatment to murder. At the end of the day, there’s no denying the terrible truth; whether or not you’ll be attacked by someone who’s supposed to be protecting you seems to depend on the color of your skin. Children, parents, friends, all taken away from their families, because of police officers who can’t get past their racist views.
It’s easy to keep your eyes closed and feel more comfortable with turning your head in the other direction. But that won’t change the fact that racism is real, and it has cost innocent African Americans their rights, their safety, and even their lives. If we can’t even acknowledge the fact that there is a problem, then we have no hope in solving it. This nation was founded on the idea of liberty and justice for all, not for some. We need change, and there’s never a better time to start than the here and now.
Awareness is the first step. The next is action.