Violence can befall anyone, anytime, so be vigilant, folks
Because of the July 4 holiday, I had an even-earlier-than-usual deadline to turn in my July 9 column.
Two days after I turned the column in, Little Rock experienced a mass shooting in a nightclub. Twenty-five people were shot; 28 injured. These were the shots heard ’ round the world, making the national news and then some.
It really hits close to home when something like this happens at places one once visited. I enjoyed a meal or two at a former fine restaurant on the first floor and attended several genteel events in what became Power Ultra Lounge.
When I was younger, I frequented nightclubs in Little Rock and North Little Rock to listen and dance to the latest R&B hits as well as catch the once- popular lip- sync contests they would host. These were “private” clubs that legally stayed open until 5 a.m. My cohorts and I often didn’t even leave for these clubs until after 10 p.m. The lip-sync contests usually didn’t get started until 2. Now I can only shake my head at the thought of my long-gone stamina and thank the good Lord that I didn’t run into any trouble that I couldn’t walk away from.
When news of the shooting hit, I did what I’m sure a goodly number of fellow Little Rock Metroplex dwellers did … scanned the news reports and Facebook to find out who the victims were. I did so hoping not to see the names of young acquaintances, or the children or grandchildren of peers.
Although a middle-of-thenight rap concert at a nightclub sounds like a breeding ground for trouble, danger doesn’t wait for such settings. This shooting stood out among a string of crazy/ harrowing/tragic events that have transpired in various Little Rock area locales in recent weeks and months.
What we need to remember is that danger doesn’t discriminate. It can raise its head at a fast-foot restaurant on the “good” side of town. It can surface at a church during Wednesday night prayer meeting. It can pop up in an inner-city park or at the Parthenon; in the ’hood or at the Helsinki Cathedral; in a dark, funky alley or at the Amalienborg Palace.
So I’m not climbing onto a political, racial or religious soap box to add fuel to the heated debates and finger-pointing that rages on via online forums or social media. I’m just adding my plea to those voices crying in the wilderness for us to wake up, once and for all. Get off our duffs/ laurels. Smell the real coffee, not the decaffeinated version. And stop thinking that just because we don’t hang out with certain people, at certain places or in certain situations, that we’re insulated and safe.
We can all stand to:
■ Be watchful, and — to those who pray — be prayerful when shopping, doing laundry, pumping gas, vacationing, having dinner with friends, partying, attending Sunday services, attending a concert or festival and unlocking our front door and walking into our home at the end of the day. There’s nothing wrong with putting our peripheral vision to work, staying aware of our surroundings, trusting our gut.
■ Be the nosy neighbor. Yes, to a degree we need to be Gladys Kravitz, the snooping character on the old television sitcom Bewitched … not to find out who they’re dating/ bedding, or whether they’re Joneses we need to keep up with, but to keep a protective eye over our neighbors and their property. (There is a balance.) Ideally, they’ll do the same for us.
■ Do whatever we can as members of our village to ensure positive outcomes for our young people … whether it’s volunteering to work with a child who needs a caring adult in his life or dropping a few dollars in the till of an organization that’s helping youths. To reference that old fable about the woman throwing the beached starfish back into the ocean, we can’t save every young person. But, boy, if we each could help save just one, whether we have to reach across the street, across town or across the tracks.
■ Lend a helping hand to any adults around us who may be in need, while we’re at it.
Even in a time that seems plagued with senseless acts of violence, life holds promise and can still be enjoyed. We just have to work more consciously to ensure that enjoyment.