Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Standing up for ourselves

In just a few rash, stupid, uncontrolled moments, he threw away his life and that of another person. He thought he was “getting even” or “standing up for himself” or “claiming his rights,” but he was really giving them all away, giving away his whole life. He’ll now spend the majority of his life following the orders of prison wardens. He’ll wear what they tell him to wear; he’ll eat what they give him to eat, when they give it to him. He’ll sleep, bathe, exercise, and work when, where, and how the prison tells him to. All because he felt the need to stand up for himself…with a gun… by shooting two other people. One of whom died.

Loyer Braden got in a fight and was spat on.* He was mad; who wouldn’t be? And so he found the guy later and had another fight. Clearly he didn’t feel he was making adequate headway in winning this argument. So he went and got a gun, and decided to fire “into the air to scare” the people or person he was mad at. Except, one guy was shot in the ankle and one young woman was shot in the stomach, twice. She died yesterday. And now Braden won’t just be charged with attempted murder, but with actual murder, or manslaughter, or whatever the lawyers come up with. It’ll be something that sends him to prison for a long time, where all his freedom is gone, and all he’s left with is the thought of this one irrational act.

I’ll pray for Shalita tonight, the young woman who died. And for Loyer who shot her. And for Nathaniel, the young man shot in the ankle. And for us – that we will learn from Loyer’s terrible mistake. That we won’t be so rash. That we’ll stop and think before resorting to violence to “stand up for ourselves.” That we will somehow learn to have a long view of the arguments that so disrupt our days; that we’ll learn to let go of them, so that they don’t become the controlling factor in our lives, as this argument has now become in these three people’s lives, and the lives of their families.

*The News-Journal article describing the incident.

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