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I slept peacefully for the second night in a row. This is significant. It’s the first time in a week that we’ve gone two consecutive nights without a shooting or act of violence. Last week, one of our neighbors got in a fight with a girl and put her in the hospital. That night around midnight, two girls smashed in all the windows of her car with baseball bats. The next night we were awakened at 3:45 a.m. by six gunshots in short succession. Two nights later, we heard six shots followed by a return volley of four shots.

In my mind, spring has always symbolized a time of rebirth and new life. And it still is, even in the hood. As the weather warms, neighbors start chatting out on their porches again. As the sun jockeys its way from behind the clouds, children resume playing in the streets and shooting hoops with a milk crate in the alley.

But as the oppressive cold begins to evaporate, the posse returns to their corner. The nighttime streets convert from a desolate wasteland to a place teeming with life–carnivorous, desperate life.

It’s made me actually consider the whole gun control debate–something that, until recently, had virtually no affect on my life whatsoever. I understand that the right to arm bears… err… bear arms is protected by the Second Amendment to the Constitution. I know plenty of people who own guns for the purpose of hunting or a final line of defense in the case of a home invasion. I don’t have a problem with people owning guns for purposes such as these.

If anyone is a history buff out there, correct me if I’m wrong. The Second Amendment was ratified with the purpose of ensuring the continuation of militias (in case our government came to resemble the tyrannical England from which we had recently liberated ourselves). Of course, I seriously doubt that Jimmy Q. Hunter and his Remington rifle would do much against a precision-guided bomb. How many Americans have SMGs in their basement? I’d guess not many. Certainly not enough to become form a legitimately threatening militia.

I’d also guess that most NRA members also don’t have to deal with people shooting guns at people on their street. They don’t get woken up at 3 a.m. They don’t have to debate whether or not to call a corrupt and crooked police force. They don’t have to say a prayer that no one was hurt in the exchange before going back to sleep.  They don’t have to worry about themselves or their loved ones getting stuck in the crossfire. They don’t have to look into the eyes of children who have on a regular basis.

I have no problem with people owning guns for hunting or home defense, but what happens in my neighborhood is a different thing entirely.

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