Wednesday, April 16, 2008

"Lives are Being Lost...But Why?"

Thanks to for a moving story dealing with our perverted understanding of the Second Amendment.

Ron Holt is a police officer. On May 10th, 2007 his son Blair was shot and killed on a CTA bus while using his body to shield another girl. Blair Holt was only 16-years-old.

He wrote this comment for the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence on April 7th, 2008.

May 10th was like any other day in the spring. My son Blair and I had talked that week – he wanted his mom, my ex-wife Annette, to have something nice for Mother’s Day.

I remember those days so well, since I saw something changing in Blair at that time – I used to tell him he was growing up fast. Even his voice was deeper. He was 16 years old.

That day I went into a novelty shop where I knew I could get a pendant that Blair could give to his mother. I saw one that I wanted, and then my phone was ringing. It was Annette, but I had never heard her speak in that tone before. She told me she just got a call from Blair’s friend.

Blair had been shot on a bus, on 103rd Street. Dead silence. The world had stopped.

I’ve been a police officer for 17 years, and cops helped me get through traffic. I arrived at Christ Advocate Hospital. Soon after that, I learned that Blair’s aorta was damaged. A lot of his vital organs were damaged.

This is just too much, I thought. And then he died.

I was numb. I don’t even think I cried until I caught up with Blair’s mom. I am standing there at the hospital thinking: “God just give me strength. My God, our only child.” We had so much hope for him, he had so much promise. He had just gotten his driver’s permit. All those things you do in your growing years came to a screeching halt. And then we learned that he was killed when he covered a classmate, shielding her from being shot.

It’s still new and fresh and overwhelming, and will always crush me. I am so angry and bitter about the ongoing gun violence on the streets.

We formed, Purpose Over Pain. Our goal is to educate the public about gun violence and provide peer support. We need to ask more questions.

In an airport, they want to know about the nature of your business. In gun shops, however, we can’t find out what we need to know to keep us all safer. Who is buying this weapon?

At this point, there should be a course taught on the impact of gun violence – it should be a part of health education in high schools, right next to CPR, Driver’s Ed, sex education classes. We also have to realize the importance of changing the mindset and behavior of young people who can’t find another approach to conflict resolution besides violence.

You know, no one is immune from being impacted by gun violence. It touches everyone. But people have the right to live without living in an environment of fear.

As for me, I still have the pendant I bought last May 10th. I never had a chance to give it to my son.

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