Tag Archives: gun violence

Open Letter to the NRA

Dear NRA Leaders,

Hello! My name is Mariann and I am the mother of four children, whom I LOVE more than anything. My love for them is what brings me to write this letter.
Midway through the year of 2011, I packed my four children up and moved across the country. I left behind my parents, my sibling, nieces, nephews, aunts, cousins, friends and neighbors, many of whom I’ve known for the last thirty years of my life.

Our drive down to Texas!

Our drive down to Texas!

Mainly, I did this because I wanted save my teenage son. You see, Detroit has become the belly of the beast, as it pertains to crime and violence. Crime has soared beyond the perimeter of the clouds and gun violence is amongst the highest in the nation. The homicide rate for black males is astronomical.
As I already stated, I love my teenage son. He’s my firstborn and I didn’t want to lose him to a bullet. So it was best for me to relocate somewhere completely foreign to us. Even if it meant leaving behind everything and everyone with which I was familiar.
When we’d safely moved away I was able to breathe a sigh of relief. I was amazed that we’d successfully escaped. We’d escaped the vicious threat of unnecessary, untimely, senseless violence and/or a tragic death,  which would’ve  likely brought itself, unsolicited, to my front doorstep. Just as it had to so many of my fellow Detroit parents, attempting to raise their children within city limits.
I can’t help but feel that the life of a black teenage boy isn’t respected. Not by his peers, not by the law, not the gun lobbyist, the NRA, Washington and especially not by the urban law enforcement; seeing that no one has ever taken any measures to curtail the threat to their existence.
I called myself moving from that lack-a-daisy inner city attitude (as it pertained to my son) and into an area where he’d have a better chance at surviving his childhood and teenage years.
In my mind, the suburbs had to be better than the urban cement jungle. Right?
Well, I was partially right.
This last year and a half, I got the best sleep ever.  I haven’t slept so soundly, since becoming a mother nearly sixteen years ago. I was able to sleep comfortably because my child, my children were safe.  Not only were they safe, but they were also free.
No longer was I hesitant to let them walk to the neighborhood store. Now they could go outside and play, as children ought to be, without the constant threat of gunshots ringing out!
For the first time, in a really long time, I’ve been able to let my mommy guard down, rest and exist in peace.
Now what I’d like you to do is imagine how pissed I was when that peace was unexpectedly  interrupted and that protective mommy guard had to go back up!
July 2012 is when that maniac walked into that Colorado movie theater, in suburban Aurora, and opened fire on audience members waiting to view a movie.
Imagine the terror that infringed upon my person when I learned of that tragedy. Especially since my teens are at the movie theatre every free chance that they get.
With that horrific incident I was back in full mommy protection mode.
But wait Mr. NRA leader and other NRA people. It gets even worse! Just when enough time had passed, I started thinking, “that was an isolated incident, not likely that it’ll happen again.”
I, along with the rest of the nation, receive another punch in the gut, this pass December.
It goes without saying, our schools are suppose to be one of the safest places for our children, next to our own homes. It’s suppose to be that lone place, outside of home, where you can let your guard down and know without a shadow of a doubt, that your child is protected.
Never once did any of those Newtown parents think that they were sending their children into the direct line of fire. Never did it cross any of their minds that, “Today! A mad gunman could shoot his way into my child’s school and commit a heinous crime against them!” Never once did any one of them consent to sending their beautiful and innocent children onto a battlefield that December morning.
Those are NOT the thoughts that we, as parents,  have when we send our babies off to school! It’s not what we think about when we purchase tickets to watch a movie or when we pull into the parking lot of the local mall to go shopping.
When did going on about our daily lives, begin to mean that a little bit of deadly gun violence can be inserted in there, at any moment? When did our beautiful nation become an open battlefield? When did the American people become moving targets?

As that mother of four who fled to a suburban Texas city to flee the inner city gun violence, in order to save my oldest son, I want you to know I’m back to being filled with constant worry. My thoughts, days and nights are back to being consumed with being their protector.
Understand this, not only am I back to being concerned for the safety of my teenage son, but now I’m just as concerned for the safety of his siblings! I’m concerned times four now. Way more than before!

The open and constant threat of gun violence is no longer reserved primarily for the young black males that roam through the inner city. It has broken rank and has penetrated the beautiful folds of suburbia.
It has presented itself in the workplace, shopping centers, college campuses, high school campuses, and sadly elementary school campuses. So yes! I’m back. I’m back to worrying each and every single time I or my four children leave the safety of our home.
It’s clear that gun violence will rear its ugly head whenever and wherever. Gun violence is no longer reserved for certain areas, times, days or people. The threat is constant for everyone and can present itself anywhere and at anytime!
NRA Leaders, this doesn’t have to be. The American people don’t have to live under the constant threat of gun violence. The American people shouldn’t have to live in fear. They shouldn’t have to wonder nor anticipate when and where the next shocking and tragic act of gun violence will occur. Why does this have to be America’s new normal?
It’s no secret that the current president and his administration are not friends of yours. But if only, for the sake of the American people and being an American and loving this nation, as you so loudly proclaim, can the common sense measures that everyone agrees upon be taken? Can we agree to implement those laws? Can those be the first steps taken?
Mothers and fathers, such as myself, would like nothing more than to get back to our old normal?
For the sake of our children and our sanity, shed the labels and erase the party lines. Let’s stop the finger-pointing and find solutions. Let’s get back using common sense. Let’s get back to the times where people meant more than the right to possess guns. Let’s get back to being caring Americans. More importantly, let’s get back to being human.

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I want to successfully usher each of my children into adulthood. I want to experience high school and college graduations. I want to witness the big weddings. I want to see my grandchildren and my great-grandchildren! Those are the things that I, and a whole lot of other parents want. I don’t think it’s too much to ask for.
We just want to live.
We want to get back to the way things use to be.

Sincerely,

Mariann

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As a Mother…..

As a mother I am saddened. As an American I’m outraged! Most days I can’t tell if the year’s 2012 or 1812. Last I checked justice applied to every single individual, across the board, in spite of race, gender, religion, occupation, choices, etc. Whenever is it okay for a self-appointed neighborhood watch leader to gun down (literally!) an unarmed, non-threatening child, who pleaded over and over again for his young innocent life? When did that ever become okay, especially here in America? Evidently, somewhere along the line, that behavior has been deemed acceptable because it happened here, in our country, in our America! Where is the arrest of this shooter? Of this murderer? Why does there always seem to be a loophole or excuse made on behalf of the non African-American perpertrator whenever it comes to assaulting or killing an African-American (particularly an African-American male)?

Why am I having the same conversation with my dark-skinned teenage son in 2012, that my mother had with my brown-skinned brother in 1983, and that her mother had with my caramel color skinned uncle in 1961? Why are mothers of black boys in America still nervous and fretful of “losing” their sons whenever they cross the thresholds of their homes to go out into the world? Must I repeat that this is 2012?

Funny thing is, My teenage son had this same T-shirt on yesterday!

Goosebumps overtake my skin every single time I see a photo of Trayvon Martin because I can’t help but to see the faces of either one of my sons…or my twin nephews. I see the face of Tommy, a friend of my children’s whose from a trailer park in the backwoods of Louisiana, I see the faces of the biracial children who live in a building over from me, I see the faces of the brother and sister whose family recently immigrated here from the continent of Asia, I see the faces of many people when I see the pictures of Trayvon Martin.

When I see Trayvon Martin’s face I see the face of a child. I see the face of a child who was the citizen of the greatest nation on earth. I see the face of a child who was the resident in the state of Florida. When I see Trayvon Martin’s face I realize that his circumstance could have been that of any child, anywhere in this country. Yes. He was a black child in America, but he could have been the child of any parent in this country! Imagine that!

We all are Trayvon Martin!

Insert the picture of your child or loved one here!

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BANG!

Just a little more than two weeks ago, as a mother, I experienced one of the most terrifying moments EVER! During my high school’s annual alumni picnic, a fight broke out, and then gun shots quickly followed. BANG!

Three of my four children were on the picnic grounds when this madness occurred. Two of my babies were close by, but my fourteen year son and some of his friends walked out of my sight, just two minutes prior, and that scared the bejesus out of me. After I secured the safety of my two girls (on the ground under a table!) I immediately jumped up and scanned the crowd, of way more than a thousand, desperately hoping to spot my son. There were so many panic-stricken faces, but none of them belonged to my boy. Anxiety started crippling my thoughts and I started to freak out. It took several times before I could even dial the correct number to his cell phone. When I was finally able to connect with him, my anxiety and fear started to subside. He (and all the members of his party) was safe.

They all managed to escape from being trampled, under the weight of the thick crowd, and were headed back home. Knowing that, I retrieved both of my girls and scrambled out of there, as quickly as I could.

Sad to say, I’ve experienced situations similar to this before. The only difference between those incidences and this one is that my children happened to be there, in the midst of all the chaos. As a mother, it was a total and complete nightmare. It’s something that you don’t want your children to know exists, let alone be caught in the middle of.  To be placed in a situation where you’re left (as a parent) being completely vulnerable versus being in total control (like you’re use to being) is horrific. Not knowing if my children were safe from harm, and whether or not they would make it away from there unscathed, was just too much for me. I’m so thankful that my motherly instincts kicked in and took over. Had they not, no telling what my response would have been. In fact, I know if only I had myself to rely on, things would’ve likely wound up more chaotic. There were so many children there, so I’m sure scores of other mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles and friends felt very similar to what I described.

*A 17-year-old male was shot, and several days later he died as a result of his injury.

So that was my (our) first time attending the alumni picnic, and more than likely it’ll be my (definitely, theirs…meaning my children) last time. BANG!

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