By S. John Batiste ®
A car drives by a northwest Houston home just after midnight, riddling the home with nearly three dozen rounds of bullets. A two-year old is shot in the leg. He will survive.
No one is thinking Columbine in a neighborhood of poor folks. After all, this is how business is dealt in the hood, right? Except, this is not any hood.
This hood is far from the inner city “bottoms” and “wards” of Houston. It is a community of working class people and is not used to bullets flying and people dying. Not too far from the home is a barber shop.
The next day, after the drive-by, even the patrons there were in utter shock. I will now mention a word that is taboo in America: gun control. Okay, it is two words, really—the concept of which is vague, mechanical, and confusing.
“Gun control” rolls off the tongue, but not like Haiku poetry. There is a beat of a different drummer when guns and bullets defile neighborhoods…until they defile the neighborhoods of lawmakers themselves. But, I digress, because it is perfectly legal to carry a gun into our State Capitol.
Gun control means that people who live in fear must also figure out ways to protect themselves. Or do I digress further? Perhaps misery loves company when you make policy that affects the rest of us.
Complicated still is the fact that likely, most who bear arms today, do so without a permit. Perhaps, they do not carry them openly. Perhaps they are not students on a college campus.
In Texas, we love to bear such things as guns, but, in the “hoods,” much like hoods elsewhere, the poor pay the heavy price. Now, back to Columbine. That was long ago, so I will not spend too much time discussing cases where teens took advantage of the constitutional rights bestowed upon us to bear arms.
Yesterday’s and today’s news is easily forgotten. Virginia Tech, I apologize that we failed to hear those shots fired that day. Whatever happened to a shot that could be heard around the world?
A congresswoman is shot by a homegrown idiot who was able to purchase a gun even though federal laws are set up to prevent strange people from getting access to firearms. Who won that day when a little girl who liked how policymaking worked showed up for a pedagogically appropriate event to see just how our view of democracy worked? What did she learn in her final moments about freedom in America?
If you have never understood the concept of a drive-by, had a gun put to your face, or even been shot by a gun, I do not see what expertise you have at making rules for the rest of us. Until you have taught in a college classroom on the day some student loses his or her mind, or happen to be the school principal on the day your only recourse is to throw yourself into the path of a bullet to save a student while, just possibly thinking of how your own kids will miss you just as the bullet exits your backside. I am throwing a party for all those south of the border today who wished to hell that we redefine gun control…or maybe they are hoping we finally give it some meaning.
At this party, I have invited the man who awoke in the middle of the night to an intruder walking down the corridor of his home. Luckily, he had his gun locked and loaded. He fired. There, on the floor lay his fiancée. He had failed to notice that she was not in bed next to him, but only stepped out briefly to use the bathroom—I mean get shot. They were due to be married the next day. Maybe, she should have taken her pistol and gotten him first.