Memorial Day weekend is supposed to be a happy time in America, a time for remembering our heroes and eating big, juicy burgers hot off the grill. But a series of shootings in Chicago and a Texas shooting spree have put a damper on all the holiday fun. At least eight people are dead, including a child, and more are wounded, including at least one police officer.
Is this what our soldiers died for? An America where our kids and our cops aren't safe?
According to Chicago police, the bloody weekend has a body count of six, from a 17-year-old girl shot in the head on Friday to a 42-year-old man killed in an apparent road rage incident. Also killed in various incidents -- some related to one another, some not -- were two 18-year-old men, a 29-year-old man shot in his own apartment, and another unidentified man. Another 22-some people were wounded in gun-related incidents in the Windy City this holiday weekend.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
In Texas, cops say a man went on a shooting spree on Sunday that claimed the life of one woman and injured five more, including a sheriff's deputy. The alleged shooter, a 23-year-old from North Carolina, was shot dead during an altercation with police, when they discovered he was armed with an assault-style rifle, a handgun and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.
I am not going to make this about guns.
It's so much more than that.
It's about crime in America, violence in America, about Americans whose world views are so narrow that they see criminal activity as their best and only option.
Fortunately, we live in a country where there are better options, where the chance to be better is just one good choice away. I look at other countries where families have to resort to stealing food just to feed their kids, and then I look at ours. It isn't a perfect country, but it's a pretty darn good one. We don't have to resort to violence to feed our families, don't have to bribe politicians.
We have freedoms folks in some other parts of the world only dream of -- thanks, in no small part, to the people Memorial Day weekend is all about.
And still, people throw it all away.
The people responsible for the various shootings desecrated a weekend devoted to honoring the men and women who died to give us the American dream. They took innocent lives, took the life of a CHILD.
They wasted the freedom our ancestors fought to give them.
And for what?
Are you shocked by the criminal activity on such an important weekend?
Image via gre.ceres/Flickr
Going to baseball games
Riding bike rides in the nice weather
Playing outside after work/school
Going for walks outside