Wesley Baucom, Staff Writer

It’s another day in St. Louis, old and grey. In the daily grind of walking down a cracked and tar-covered street, an ambulance blares a familiar tune, a song notifying everyone that death is whistling at the door. As you may keep walking down the road and the blur of the ambulance flashes by, the wake of the wind whips up piles of forgotten styrofoam that glides upon the air, twirling all around you. All of this garbage, passing you and other strangers, means nothing except for killing the mood. The ambulance drives on unconcerned with others except for who happens to lay in the back. Do you hope for the best? Or will you think about it, and go on with the rest of the old and grey day? 

Over the long, hot summer, there have been a dozen reports of children dying at the hands of gun violence. I will argue that a gun has no heart, no soul, but those who abuse them for their own purposes have none either. Liberty in itself is not supposed to be safe—but with liberty must come an action for freedom. A gun can bring chaos as easily as it can bring immediate order. The sad passings of these children are the wind that blows the chaos into our faces, and it scares us. It’s the unsure feeling that things are bursting at the seams, emptying itself like the drum of a magazine. Still, there is no care and no compassion for those who have lost everything. Blame is placed and nothing is done except for screams for something to be done that will only be broken the next day. But desperate pleas are not action. They’re looking right at the problem, straight down the barrel, without doing anything.

Take a close look at some of the cases. Take Derrell Williams, a 15-year-old who had large savings that drew too much attention from the wrong people. He was shot through greed and in an uncaring place. Even his own aunt had sad that nobody really cares (especially the police) about the death of her nephew. Xavier Usanga, a 7-year-old with a never-ending smile, was shot in his own backyard by an unknowing bullet with $50,000 at stake for the shooter with no soul. Even Xavier’s own mother knew that the trash in the streets would’ve enveloped him completely: “These streets didn’t have a chance to ruin him. He could have just as easily been swept up in this war, and the boy who shot him could have been my boy someday.” Let’s look at one final case of Myiesha Cannon, a 16-year-old hanging out at her neighbor’s house yet still shot dead on “suspicious circumstances.” According to a neighbor, “Everybody out there knows what happened,” and nothing has been said or done about it. 

There’s a recent push by Mayor Lyda Krewson to enact concealed carry for firearms in St. Louis. However, that will only curb future hatred, not hatred that already exists. When the government can’t give justice, the only option is to take something away. If they can’t even crackdown on something so rampant in our city, how could they ever be trusted to bring peace by commandeering possessions for our own protection? There must be something the people in this city can do for itself to curb the horror. 

Yet love and hatred are two sides of the same coin. When it’s flipped, the wind has a way of changing your outcome, and the worst thing you can do is not flip it at all. Looking on with apathy, seeing something for yourself and not caring leads to nothingness. There is no boiling anger in the face of fear, and there is no love to soften and heal those gaping wounds. Yes—apathy is the poison that shrivels the heart and litters the soul, the numbness that kills so long as you let it. Take these stories and feel the pain, regret and greed, knowing that it’s hard to be compassionate in the face of ultimate evil. Show your empathy where you can and go out of your way for your neighbors. Look straight at what’s pointed right at you and feel the need to shoot back love. The trash will always be laying there if you let it, and the brisk wind will only show you what was there the whole time.