Tired of Tears

The Case for Buying Guns

It hurts to sleep and I am tired of the tears. Do you hear me Dr. Johnson? I am tired of the tears.

She repeated this mantra as though it would actually sink in deeper and I could understand her better. It was useless to do so. I am more distant from her world than if I still lived in Kenya. The fact that I attend church in her neighborhood and that our clinic is within walking distance from her front door does not make me empathetic or even sympathetic. She is from a distant planet, another galaxy and dimension. Hers is a world of violent loss of loved ones. My world is one that expects the good guys to do good and the bad guys to rot in jail or die.

She goes on. She tells me; I avoid going to bed. I am afraid that if I don’t remember his death and dying, I am guilty of depriving him of life. And this is in spite of the fact that I am his mother. I am tired of the tears of remorse, regret and remembering that I should never have had that gun in the house.

It was my grandmother’s gun and I kept it just in case someone broke into the house to steal or to hurt one of us. I never thought Bobby would take it and do something stupid. It is unfair for a mother to lose two sons. One in prison for life and the other in the ground for eternity for killing his brother. I am tired of tears.

When we first introduced our gun buy-back program to our supporters we had a tremendous negative response from people like us who lived in yet another dimension. They live in a dimension that the law is always on their side and justice always prevails. Our gun buy-back failed. We were dismissed as having no compassion for victims or hostile to the peace-keepers.

Now we are over three years since the introduction of this project and there are still so few people who are tired of tears. There is no question that people are crying. The daily reports of mass murders, random shootings and suicides lull the calloused to sleep and make the weary weep because yet again there is a gun still for which no one has accounted.

Who has that gun? Is it my son? Is it my brother? Is it a complete stranger? Or did Dr. Johnson succeed in buying that one gun? I hope and pray he did. I am tired of the tears.

To date we have had a poor response to this appeal. We are launching an initiative in conjunction with the city of Philadelphia and the South Philadelphia church community to get the guns out of closets, shoe boxes and from under beds and bottom dresser drawers. It is these guns that are used for revenge killings by gangs, drive by murders, hold-ups, robberies, to prove a point or pay a bill or even kill the very people charged with protecting our community.

Are you tired of the tears? Help us buy guns.