If you spend any time east of Pittsburgh I’m sure you have seen the blue and white signs “no Guns Keep Summer Fun” and “Stop shooting, we love you.” Apparently the signs are being ignored.
In the past few weeks all we are hearing about are incidents where young people are shooting and killing each other. These kids are missing such an important part of their life. They are running around with guns angry enough to kill someone over nothing. It has to be nothing because at 15, 16 or 17 years of age they don’t have anything?
Last week when I passed several of the stop shooting signs I thought about my summers as a teenager. Beginning in June it was all about the fun, even though I had chores to do while my parents were at work, there was still enough time during the day to enjoy the summer weather. We rode our bikes, went to the park and played games in the back yard. I don’t think any of us had ever seen a gun or thought about owning one. The girls were designing clothes for our Barbie dolls and the boys were busy checking out the cool cars that rode by the house or tricking out their bikes. Our family always went somewhere during the summer, even if it was only a drive down south to visit the grandparents but we had fun and had interesting stories to tell when we got back home.
As I got older summer meant that I would have a summer job. You know an idle mind is the devil’s workshop and my mom made sure I wasn’t at home idle. I went to work in the nearest mall or shopping center. I loved working, it prepared me for the future and I had my own money for school clothes and supplies. I don’t remember losing any of my friends to violence when I was that age. The only funerals I attended were of people who had been very old or very sick. The death of someone young due to violence was practically unheard of. It appears that the majority of the shootings today are drug or girlfriend related.
When is someone going to have the guts to advance legalizing street drugs like marijuana and cocaine and even heroin? If people want to ruin their lives with drugs let them and let the nation make some money, I’m sure we could save social security, Medicare, Medicaid and any other “Medi.”
I’ll bet money that the only people that notice these signs are adults who wouldn’t think about shooting someone. I saw them and thought isn’t this an interesting news story. I would love for someone who has the opportunity to interview one of the recent shooters to ask them if they saw the signs and what did they think of them? I can guarantee you they would say, “what signs?” Or laugh in the interviewer’s face. Maybe the signs should be like the old Burma Shave signs and tell a story along the road: sign one “17 year old killed,” sign two “motive for shooting unknown,” sign three “no arrests made,” sign four “who cares?”
(Email the columnist at firstname.lastname@example.org)