'It's Just Oakland'

at 5:00 PM

Bang Bang! "It's just Oakland." That's what everyone says. As the violence progresses, the youth in our city are turning into the prey of these crimes. The year has barely started, and we already have kids that were at the wrong place, at the wrong time, gone.

Those future doctors, thinkers, presidents, curers of cancer -- they're all gone. More and more kids are getting used to big-hooded sweaters with the words RIP on them and images of the most recently deceased. They may be stylish but that shouldn't be a new fad that we get used to any time soon. I have been to funerals. I have seen tears shed for babies that parents will never get back, and I myself have cried for friends I will not see on this earth again.

On my street, Seminary, it is instinct to just drop to the ground and only afterwards check that everyone is OK. There have been bullets that have made it past the walls of my home, all the way to the side of my sister's bed. One even lodged inside our TV. It has become standard for cops to come to the crime scene -- our home -- looking for the evidence; following the path the stray bullets could have taken with the beams of their flashlights. 

It's a pretty stupid thing that people are so accustomed to this idea that Oakland is not a place to play around, a place where you have to watch your back all the time, or to carry a gun is the only way to feel safe.

Guns only bring more problems, as we have seen stray bullets found in innocent kids. In Oakland, it seems anyone can get a hold of a gun. Kids killing kids, mother's praying their kids will walk home safe, friends lost, hearts in pain, big-hooded sweaters … and all we have to say is, "That's just Oakland?"

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Well it may be just Oakland, but Oakland is our home. Instead of these apathetic words why can't we start saying, "Not in Oakland!"

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With a perspective, I'm Medardo Gaytan.

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