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Does ‘never again’ apply to me, too?

Your View is a recurring series of opinion pieces from members of The New Tropic community. To share your ideas, goals, and work about Miami with the community in a Your View piece, please submit it to [email protected].

Growing up in Liberty City, coming home to gun wars becomes normal. Drivebys and gunshots in the air like fireworks stop making your heart race; you become desensitized to the violence.

When I saw the story about the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, I was saddened by the tragedy. I’m a student as well, so school shootings terrify me tremendously.

But that situation made me notice how something like that gets publicized to that magnitude, while we have people dropping like flies every day in what is considered the “hood.” For us, there is silence.

So, I have a few questions: Why is it when there are shootings in urban neighborhoods, there aren’t therapy dogs granted to those families? Why don’t those people have personal police escorts to wherever they need to go?

I’m not trying to take light away from the massacre that happened in Parkland. I’m trying to understand why the same energy isn’t put into place in urban, often black areas. Don’t government and city officials believe our trauma is equal?

I think this is because of the area the crime happens, and the race of those who live in those areas: mostly African Americans.

That, to me, must be the only reasonable explanation for the lack of response we as a community receive from police officials. The shootings in the predominantly black neighborhoods are put on the news, too, but since the area is labeled as the “hood,” it is brushed off, as if crime is normal for those areas.

Meanwhile in the media, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has been broadcasted internationally, the students have met with the president, and they’ve met with local officials to change the laws pertaining to guns.

It took the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas for schools like Miami Central to up their security and safety measures – schools that should have already had stricter safety protocols. It’s sad that it took something of that magnitude to light a fire under our government officials’ behinds. 

But if they believe that raising the age to buy a firearm is supposed to prevent or reduce crime numbers they are just simple minded. Instead of changing that law, they should try to get to know their own people and get to the sources, find out who are supplying the youth with the guns, and why those youth want them.

We  don’t care about the laws – the people in our communities aren’t going to follow them.  With all the focus on Parkland and mass shootings, will there be any real change in lower class communities of color? Or will our officials will continue to feed us false hope and continue to treat us like caged animals? What is it going to take for predominantly black neighborhoods to get some change?

We are human too. We want the same compassion from all over the country as well.

I may live in an area where the crime rates are higher, but that doesn’t mean I want to. I want reassurance of “NEVER AGAIN” also.