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The Bird’s Nest – Who Is to Blame for Gun Violence in Our Community? By Robin Carter

Gun Violence is a very serious issue in our community, but who is to blame for this? Is it the Liberals, Conservatives, Republicans or is it the Democrats? Some may believe that “Generation Y/Millennials” are the main reasons for the senseless killings in Peoria. Others have voiced that we have let loose on this Country a new generation that believes they are all winners and are always right about any decision they choose to make. Perhaps shooting someone places them on an upscale or some kind of personal award is awaiting them as a result of this. I have heard young people voice their opinions about President Joe Biden or Former President Donald Trump. Though everyone is entitled to their own opinion, some aren’t interested in what anyone else’s opinion is; they just know that they have hatred for one of them or the other. Right alongside this generation are multiple generations that grew up without clear and positive discipline and therefore may have little or no concept of the true meaning of what is right or wrong. Take racism, for instance, it is not conceived at birth, it is taught. While I believe the upbringing of our children plays a vital part in the outcome of their lives, it goes beyond that. When I was young, if l did something wrong, first I was made well aware of what I had done then I was punished for it. It wasn’t the teacher’s fault or my neighbor’s fault; it was me and only me to blame. I either had a run-in with a “braided switch” or a “belt.” The difference now is that this type of punishment today is called, “child abuse.” We cannot discipline our children as they did back then.

In today’s world/culture the two-parent family house is rare. But even in cases where there are two parents in the home, there is some distraction. Do we even sit at the dinner table anymore to break bread together? Do we have family talks and discuss our concerns, problems, or differences? Are we aware that our children are bullied at school? Electronic devices are a vital part of the distraction among our children as well as some adults. As parents, we must remain focused on the task at hand. Our children are our future and we must oversee their lives and pray and hope that they will make the right decisions as they grow older. Parents, if you know that you have raised your children to the best of your knowledge and ability, do not blame yourself if they make a bad decision. Stand behind them though and push them to do better and make wiser decisions/choices the next time. Never turn your back on your children, seek help for them.

So again, why is there so much violence in the community? After the parents have done their part then what happens next? Crime still remains at an all-time high in Peoria which saw 34 homicides last year and nine this year. According to Neighborhood Scout Statistics, Peoria has a crime rate of 41 per one thousand residents. It has one of the highest crime rates in America compared to all communities of all sizes from the smallest towns to the very largest cities. One’s chances of becoming a victim of either violent or property crime is one in 25. Information such as this leaves the community worried and fearful. Outside of the police department and the participation of the “gun buyback” how do we curb these violent crimes? Truth is, we all have a part to play in this situation and there is much work to be done. We must continue to “brainstorm” new ideas.

Making sure that guns purchased are registered and sold to responsible individuals is a vital part of gun safety. Some may believe that guns are unnecessary. Well, there are those who have guns who keep them out of reach of children or anyone, for that matter. Being a licensed gun owner, I have never fired a single shot at anyone or anything. I practice peace and safety in my home. I keep everything and all things locked, my car doors are always locked even though it has an alarm. I never keep anything of any value in plain view, ever.

I commend Peoria Mayor Rita Ali for all that she is doing to help our community grow and to be a better place to raise our children. Yet, we need everyone’s help in giving this situation the same attention she’s giving. If this happens, I believe we could conquer these problems; or at least get a handle on them.