Take a Side, Not a Sidearm

By: Emalyse Guzman

View all Emalyse Guzman's works

Gun violence is affecting our future.

What has our generation come to? Justin Wallace, a 10-year-old boy shot and killed only days before his 11th birthday, was known to be a loving kid who helped others. Throughout the years, gun violence has made a huge impact on this world, especially the families and communities worst affected by it.

Gun violence has single-handedly given rise to a new round of horror in urban areas. We need more attention towards this situation because we cannot live in fear of shootings for our whole childhood and adulthood. Regardless of whether the shootings were motivated by a gang rivalry or revenge, the rampant gun violence plaguing our nation must stop. We kids have a lack of movement in our neighborhood and have to constantly hear our parents say “stay safe” and have them on our back while we are outside. I struggle with not being able to go too far without my older brother tagging along. All my life, I felt as if my dad was the one who didn’t trust me, which was not the case. The actions outside my home are not to be trusted. Since everyone feels unsafe, people feel the need to carry a firearm to keep them protected. Having a firearm in a bag or on you at all times can be dangerous because of the false attacks that can occur during the day. 

According to NBCNews, “Gun violence is surging in cities, and hitting communities of color hardest… Over 1,500 people have been shot in Chicago, almost 900 in Philadelphia, and more than 500 in New York City so far in 2020 — all up significantly from the same time last year (1,018 in Chicago, 701 in Philadelphia and 355 in New York).” Urban areas and cities have the highest rates of firearm injuries.

Jaeleen Nicasio, a classmate of mine, grew up in a neighborhood where gun violence was high and it wasn’t safe to be out late or alone. Here is what she had to deal with in her neighborhood: “My mom always had to warn me to make sure to be back home early or else she wouldn’t let me out of the house without my brother.” Jaeleen had a huge lack of movement because of how dangerous her neighborhood was, and she felt as if her mother didn’t trust her which was not the case at all. She continues to say, “My uncle specifically told me to stay safe since he grew up seeing the ‘ugly’ things of the neighborhood. He told me many of his friends died of gun violence because of selfish people or fights that would get out of hand. To this day, I am still afraid to go out after a certain time.” Knowing that anything is possible in your neighborhood is the scariest thing, which I know is affecting Jaeleen’s future because she now has to live with caution and be more on top of her surroundings.

In another interview with a local cop, who is also my neighbor and whose name will remain unknown, gave me actions that can be easily done to help prevent gun violence. He said, “use your social media platform and advertising about how this situation is ruining the youth’s future. Making sure people know using a firearm isn’t always a way you should react during a disagreement and resolving.” At this moment,there is an organization around Harlem (which is a 33-minute drive from my home) called “New Yorkers against gun violence.” Going to this organization and educating yourself about gun violence and the USA’s laws towards firearms and telling your friends and family can make a huge impact.

How Can We Stop This?

Taking action and helping to make a difference in anything you say or do to prevent this, is important and WILL help. Today, I see more and more people aware and sharing on social media and posters all around the community on putting the gun down and using words. Educate yourself by looking up more gun-violence organizations around your area and have more people read this article to understand the negative impact firearms have on us and how it controls our lives.

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