It’s palpable, you can cut the tension in my gut with a knife. For an avid follower of the news, I have been pretty avoidant of it lately, amidst the global pandemic, other forms of earth-shattering violence are still taking place. For instance, actor Hagen Mills shot his ex-girlfriend Erica Price, and turned the gun on himself, in a murder attempt/suicide on Tuesday, May 19. The last time I wrote about gun violence, I was fueled by the shooting in Walmart — the El Paso Texas shooting that happened sometime in 2019. I shared a personal story of the time a gun was pointed at me, which in turn stoked up my rage instead of taming it (You can read the story here: https://theayamba.com/apps/another-gun-another-victim/).
I am a reserved person, one might call me an introvert because of my need to avoid social situations. It includes anything that has to do with the usual angst of the 21st century millennial shenanigans. The one major thing I do indoors is written; about anything and everything. Especially about causes that are particularly close to my heart such as gun violence. My hope is that I tread carefully on the cutting edge of a very sensitive subject such as this. In turn, bring a form of an oasis in the midst of the proverbial dryness of human emotion that causes gun violence to rear its ugly head in the first place. One thing I am certain of is that when it comes to gun violence, the blatant need to take a life shows that such a person has no empathy for the world. A crime against one is a crime against all.
Racism as we know it has been a living breathing form of hatred that has been present since the colonial era. But one would think that because such a barbaric form of thinking is antiquated, human beings would learn to see themselves as equals especially in the 21st century. Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old African-American man, was running through his neighborhood on a Sunday afternoon, a sabbath day no less, when he was gunned down so violently by Gregory and Travis McMichael. According to news reports, Mr. Ahmaud was shot at least twice. Think about Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Dontrre Hamilton (who was fatally shot at least 14 times), John Crawford, Michael Brown, and 12-year-old Tamir Rice. I can keep going but this space will not be enough to mention all of our fallen brothers and sisters. Because this is not a race piece, I do not want to focus on its incessant and unwarranted brutality. But I will be remiss if I did not acknowledge that sometimes, gun violence and racism go hand in hand especially when officers of the law think that they have the right to break the law they swore to uphold. So, in your quiet time, light a candle and say a prayer for the newest victim of racism and gun violence, Ahmaud Arbery, who did nothing wrong but run through his neighborhood.
As a West African woman living in the United States, I am well aware of the unfortunate fate that may befall me as it could befall anyone. The truth is, when it comes to gun violence, it is not usually geared towards a particular race. Everyone and anyone can be a victim of it. Back in Nigeria, during a warm night enjoying some peace and tranquility with my family, I heard a loud bang. Weary, I walked to the window in my parent’s room to see if it was the water tank that had exploded, but it wasn’t. Outside, there was chaos, a woman was crying on the floor and a car had just sped away. All of a sudden, my dad was telling everyone to be silent and take cover, probably lie on the floor, and remain still because a young lady had been shot downstairs and the assailant had sped away in her new car. There was a trail of blood from where the incident happened all the way to the first floor where we lived because the young lady was running up the stairs, looking for help, hoping someone would save her life. My parents decided to open the door to her so that she could seek shelter. I came out of the room to understand what all the ruckus was about — the sight in front of me was astonishing. The woman was covered in blood and her own bodily fluid, the floor had blood everywhere, she was crying hysterically and wondering if she was going to make it. She was going to survive because the bullet went through her hand but the blood loss was tremendous. While my father asked us to stay inside and lock the door, he and my brothers took the woman to the nearest hospital, came back home, and cleaned everywhere. There was so much blood, it had to be washed away with water.
So you see, one cannot talk to me about guns without my mind running towards violence. I have experienced a great deal of its thunderous storm to last me a lifetime. Others have not just experienced it but have been deeply affected by it. I’ll end this piece the way I ended my last piece. Although I have had ample time to ponder on this issue, I am still not certain if we need gun control or self-control. I am only certain that the availability of guns gives people the right to do whatever they want, at the expense of others.
Be safe out there.
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