As our nation focuses on possible military action against Syria for using chemical weapons on its citizens, the question is raised as to whether the U.S. government should intervene and should it even be a focus of our concern.
How often do we hear of violent acts that occur in the Middle East via CNN, The Associated Press or the local news stations? We receive a play-by-play account of the body count and terrorist acts that are happening abroad. With a heightened sense of focus and awareness, the president and his administration is pressured to respond.
Meanwhile, here in our homeland, we are experiencing a wave of recent ongoing violence in our urban communities that seem to still fall under the radar or fail to attract any national attention. The body count of urban violence in cities like Detroit, Los Angeles, Oakland and Chicago is much higher than what took place in Syria.
This week, I learned of an 8-year-old boy who was shot in the face by a man while playing outside his apartment in Texas. So far, it has been a deadly year in major cities throughout the U.S.
So the question is, why does there seem to be little concern for the lives lost here, yet our president is moved to take action on lives lost in Syria? Does it matter how the people were killed? Chemical weapons, car bomb or an assault rifle . . . the senseless killings should generate the same concern, particularly if it happens on our own soil. There seems to be little concern with the value of life in urban communities.
An American life that is violently taken should be a national concern, regardless of where it took place or why it happened.
There is no political pressure on the local leaders, city or state officials or Congress to end the insanity in our cities. According to national crime statistics, more Americans are killed by guns in this country than in any other country. Why is this problem not a priority in our nation? Why is it not on the agenda of our political leaders?
While our nation’s leaders focus on the global war on terror, there are mini-wars happening in our communities that terrorize local residents. Drug wars and gang violence are destroying Bay Area communities and local residents feel that not enough is being done about it.
They are forced to live in fear. They are scared to walk the streets. They feel imprisoned in their own neighborhoods and are afraid to speak out due to the real possibility of retaliation. These are circumstances that meet the definition of terrorism, yet it continues to receive little national media coverage.
What is it going to take for this to receive the attention it deserves? Who should be accountable for the violence that is notorious in urban communities?
It is unfair to place the burden of responsibility solely on the local authorities. In most violent encounters, there are several contributing factors.
One of the most critical and overlooked aspects is the facilitator of violence. We facilitate violence by allowing it to continue without taking action to stop it and by making it easy for it to happen in our neighborhoods. By leaving a disturbing number of murders unsolved, there is no deterrent or consequence for the perpetrators of violence.
Will our national leaders continue to overlook the issues that affect the lives of so many people here in our homeland? If action is being taken to respond to violence in Syria, why not take action for the violence that is taking place here in our own communities? Just a thought.
Deon D. Price is youth life skills coach and writer who lives in Fairfield. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow www.twitter.com/youthgeneration.