Community – All Day, Every Day

By now, most will have heard of the stunning events of this past weekend.  The first shots were heard on Friday, and Kimwandae Walker’s light was extinguished – sadly, in sight of his children.  Things have gone even further since then.  Bermudians woke up on Sunday morning, some intent on celebrating the resurrection of Christ, but were saddened and vexed that the heinousness of Friday’s crime had done nothing to sober those who are seemingly drunk on the wine of violence. Overnight there had been more disruption at the RAA club, with one young man being hospitalized for gunshot wounds, and one for stabbing.  As if that had not been enough, Sunday night saw even more injuries, with a teenage girl and another man both being wounded from apparently indiscriminate gunfire at Western Stars.

This is insane.

After the shooting on Good Friday, Jonathan Starling at Catch A Fire suggested a good Easter metaphor.  Sadly, with multiple incidents on Sunday, it’s easy to have missed it.

I’d like to suggest a slightly different parallel.

Yesterday, because of Easter, churches throughout Bermuda and around the world saw faces that they hadn’t seen in a long time.  These long-absent faces are the result of a view of Christianity that places special emphasis on certain days.  There is nothing wrong with elevating certain days, per se, but the true impact of Christ’s religion is seen in living out that religion day in and day out.  By the same token, our involvement in our community can’t be limited to the times when it seems to be absolutely necessary.

It is all good for us to stand up and add our voices to the concern and outrage that is to be expected from good-minded people when crimes like this take place.  Let’s continue to attend the rallies and the marches; let’s continue to express our outrage through Facebook, Twitter, letters to the Editor, etc.  But if our community is to withstand this tidal wave of violence, then we as individual members of that community need to live it out daily.

Negatively, it means refusing to participate in anything that would lead to this violence.  It means refusing to tacitly or openly endorse violence by harboring those that are known to have perpetrated crimes against our society.  It means refusing to accept disrespect from children, and refusing to set an example of disrespect in front of them.  And it definitely means not bad-mouthing the government and the police. (Keep reading.)

Positively, that means talking to our children and teaching them to understand the difference between right and wrong.  It means reaching out to the underprivileged and disenfranchised and helping them to fully participate in the rights and responsibilities of our society.  It means sharing information with the proper authorities when these outbursts of violence occur.  It means giving tangible help in terms of security and support for those that are brave enough to come forward with information.  It means partnering with the powers that be to combat the problem.  It means mentoring, coaching, tutoring, volunteering, and generally being a productive member of the community.

And it means refusing to fall into the trap of only rising to the occasion on certain days, whether good or bad.  Fighting this issue of violence is a task for the entire community – all day, every day.


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