CHICAGO, IL — It is February now, long past Christmas. I did not get what I wanted for Christmas. None of us did. All I wanted for Christmas was peace on earth: an end to the social, economic, and political violence that is causing so much pain, hunger, homelessness, lost jobs, lost opportunities, lost hopes, lost dreams, lost futures, lost 2nd chances, lost self worth, lost inner peace.
The Dalai Lama says we can’t find real peace externally until we find inner peace. He didn’t say, though, that we won’t have community peace until we all–ALL– can find that inner peace. How do we all find inner peace when so many of us are hurting? Struggling to survive? When a corporate elite bunch of thieves and scoundrels are killing us with pollution, poisons, and oppression?
On December 6, a 17year old boy (the step brother of one of my grandkids’ friend) was shot 12 times. He’s still in critical condition, but stabilizing. He can blink his eyes and give a thumbs up. He was shot in front of an Uptown CTA station.
The police and the alderman said (as they usually say when the victim is a teen) that it was possibly gang related. Whenever they say that I get mad, because it always sounds like they are blaming the victim. Or they say it was a senseless act of violence, which is not an explanation, but is a way to deflect the public’s emotional reaction. They seem to be saying,, “There’s nothing we can do about this, it’s just a senseless act of violence and we will never be able to end it because we will never be able to make sense of it”
But I see it differently. I think we must make sense of this violence. I think violence on the streets starts out as violence in the suites. There is so much institutional violence being waged on people, especially on young people who are struggling to understand how they will live in a world that has thrown them out as useless, jobless, futureless.
Each of these street shootings represents one more time that, as a society, we could not unite to prevent lost dreams; that, as a society, we again failed to give the next generation a chance to find a way to their future. Each time that one of us lost the final thread of a delicate inner peace, all of us lost the chance for outer peace and once again, as a society, we robbed one young man, one extended family, one community in one city, in one country on this planet and kept us –all of us –from finding peace on earth.