Innocent Bystanders. So where’s the security?

Kotlowitz’s “I See Everything Through This Tragedy” paints the picture on how violence affects the lives of those subjected by highlighting their ongoing struggles. The thematic mention of murders throughout this reading also exposes just how life altering, unrelenting and spiritually depleting violence acts can be. There is a sympathetic ear because not only are the victims dignified; they are also young, innocent and fearful of their lives. It is upsetting to read one principles observation of her student’s demeanor right before school lets out. “Students would get into altercations. They’d run down the hall, slam lockers and holler at each other and teachers. They were, in essence, preparing themselves for the dangerous walk home.” And then another case in which a student stops her in the hall and tells her, “I’m going to be next.” What! Where is the protection for our youth? It’s ridiculous that in many communities children have to literally prepare themselves for unwarranted violence. And to be discouraged from sharing their experience out of fear that if they do they’ll somehow he held culpable for the crime they’ve witnessed even further proves how unprotected and alone they really are in this world. That there is no one looking out for them, this is disheartening. How is it that those, such as militants who have volunteered their lives to combat or partake in violence, are better protected and prepared to face physical force so as to injure or abuse than children who are simply trying make it home safely from school. In “How to Halt The Butchery in Syria” there are outlined measures on how to effectively keep the peace within a country. Meetings are held, intelligence gathered and solutions procured. This intern was all in reflection of determined protestors who were determined to face down bullets with chants, signs and their own bodies. And what stuck out most to me were the last two sentences of the ending paragraph. “The international community can draw on the power of nonviolence and create zones of peace in what are now zones of death. The Syrians have the ability to make that happen; the rest of the world must give them the means to do it.” If this conviction was applied and used as a guide to end the acts of brutality that young children are being exposed to, I believe it would make a world of a difference. And if we as Americans can assist and become a major stake in helping Syria’s neighbors stop the killing, why can’t we help our own?


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1 Response to Innocent Bystanders. So where’s the security?

  1. hashubah says:

    I’m interested in the quote that calmexpress brought up that says “The international community can draw on the power of nonviolence and create zones of peace in what are now zones of death. The Syrians have the ability to make that happen; the rest of the world must give them the means to do it.” At the end calmexpress brings up the idea about the Syrians being applied to the children in the schools as well. I think this is an idea worth expanding upon. The rest of the world needed to give Syrians the means to make peace but in the city schools the teachers, communities, and families needed to give the children the means to be peaceful. Myra Sampson is an example of someone who was trying to give the kids means of having peace by taking 20 minutes each morning to let them talk. Something as small as this allowed the children to speak about the turmoil that was going on inside and helped them become more at peace. Without actions like this taken by the community the children do not have the means to make peace. The children had to prepare just to make it home safely, which didn’t give them the opportunity to think about how they could establish peace in their community. If the children are so worried about keeping all their emotions held in they will be so preoccupied that peace may not even seem to be an option. The “Blocking the Transmission of Violence” article states that “For 25 years, murder has been the leading cause of death among African-American men between the ages of 15 and 34”. This prevalence of violence has a big impact on the minds of kids and leaves them feeling vulnerable and weak. Without opportunities to talk about those feelings in a safe environment the next best response is to try to become stronger, either to make themselves numb to the violence or to join it in an effort to control it. Having programs to let the kids talk about the things they are going through would reduce the violence and that would create a cycle of its own. Less violence would lead to less of a need for kids to talk about it, and less violence in general. The cycle goes both ways, and the only way to ensure the violence turns to peace is to help the children when they are young. Doing this may even help eliminate the need for other programs later on and reduce crime in general. I think the mental health of the kids is the most important, and they need to be given the means to create peace.

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