So much has happened in the past seven days. Where to start? Again, beginning with Futbol does not seem to be fitting of this day. I still do not know where to start. What has really been on my mind, is the gun violence that has permeated Chicago, and our Nation as a whole. What can be done to redirect this violence? What can be the output and the energy release for our Gun Culture other than Guns? Where does the disconnect originate? First of all, we need to discuss the three types of Gun Owners in America, and maybe the world. These are my three types, and I have no idea what I am talking about, so please hang with me.
Number One is the Outdoors person, a Hunter. Gun owners such as these use their weaponry for hunting wild animals. The scenario involves dressing up in fatigues, with a bright orange vest, and entering the Woods to track down animals. Usually from a Treestand or Hunting Platform, involving scents, and pheromones; participants spend the day quietly socializing, and discussing the hunt. Animals are killed and presented as trophies. No people are purposefully killed, but horrible incidents (involving the firearms) occur both in the Woods and in the Home.
Number Two is the person of Self-Defense. Gun owners like this have a weapon to protect themselves and their family. This is often straight forward, where the firearm is hidden in the home in case of a predator, or is even carried on the hip concealed or visible (depending on the Gun Laws in your American State). Humans are killed or wounded when entering a domain that is not theirs, and terrible accidents do happen. All types of people are harmed in these incidents : Young, Old, Rich, Poor, Marksmen, and Poor Shooters.
Number Three is the Street Soldier : Policeman, Private Security Guard, and Vigilante. These gun proprietors are certainly amongst the category of Number Two, as these weapons are carried for Self-Defense. Yet, the guns involved here are also carried to instill Fear, Control, and Mayhem. They are part of the Uniform, and carried with a Badge of Honor. With this pride, comes the fall – and the majority of America’s Gun Violence seems to be contained in this third group.
From this point in the conversation we can take it anywhere. Everyone can disagree with how I’ve laid it out, which is totally acceptable, too. I am just trying to figure things out. We can also discuss the National Rifle Association, Gun Laws, and Gang Activity. We could discuss any number of avenues, but to me, the real discussion begins when we can address the Power, Control and Violence that is synonymous with Guns. How can we re-direct this desire for these Feelings and Actions? How can we re-direct this Anger? Golden Gloves Boxing Tournament? John Madden Video Game Competition? City-Wide Soccer Championship? Neighborhood Street and Park Clean-Up? What actions or events will instill as much pride and power as firing a gun at someone? Where is the re-direction? One thing is for sure: Guns Are Not Going Away, as that is a fight for Sisyphus. So where is the beginning? Where do we start? How do we still have this outlet, without people dying? People are getting killed everyday here in Chicago (and the World), and it’s disturbing me greatly. How do we change Street Soldier Gun Culture? Can we communicate the bravery and earnestness in Boxing? People need to live longer. The Rite of Passage of Gun Ownership is Violence, no matter what level. The Killing of anything is Violence. Are people able to disagree or have beef without killing each other? Our Nation has seen every level of Gun Violence in these past six months: from High-Profile Athletes and Tragic Court Cases, to the Forgotten Deaths of Our Cities’ Poorest Neighborhoods. There is no beginning and there is no end, this is our World now. How do we re-direct the Desires of Power and Violence ? I do not pretend to have any answers, I only wish to spurn my own thoughts – and maybe create a discussion.
It is my belief (and millions of others) that Team Sports are one of the greatest ways to build Healthy Competition, Sportsmanship, Teamwork, Pride, Self-Confidence, and Core Values. These are vital human conditions that have alluded some of our population, especially in the impoverished areas of our Nation. It is possible to nurture Gangs into Teams? Is it possible to create a competition that instills more pride than gunfighting over street corners, drugs, and reputation? Gangs, Guns and Drugs are not going away, but I believe we can re-direct that violence to a more Peaceful and Diplomatic Platform : Team Sports. This might not work with the Gang Leaders themselves, but their Children and the Neighborhood Youth would desire greatly for the organization and play. This action itself would bring the beginnings of Diplomacy, especially if started at a young age. The Neighborhood Rivalries are set in stone by Middle School, so these conflicts need to be addressed earlier and often.
As a parent, once you see your offspring running around playing with other children, there is something in your heart that feels a greater compassion for life, and the desire to experience life again, through your own child. This organization and action would, in turn, bring more life and understanding to everyone within the “Village.” I understand I speak in utopian terms, and blissful ideas – but I won’t apologize for that. Something needs to change, and maybe my thoughts are unrealistic – but Sport has always been the grand metaphor and unifier for Human Kind, and I believe Inner City Futbol Competitions could begin to break down some of these traditional violent Rites Of Passage. I don’t mean to sound simple-minded or ignorant that a plethora of other Official and Unofficial Protocols need to align with this idea.
Not be shortsighted, I also understand that Sport can also be the Great Divider, and can infuse the impetus for Wars. I also realize that Ultras Supporter groups can operate like Militias or Gangs, and can perpetrate the exact violence I am discussing we re-direct. There are many Issues to Conquer and many Mountains To Climb for all of us. We are at the beginning.
After working as a Soccer Coach at the Chalmers School in the North Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago, I know these goals can be accomplished on a neighborhood level. With greater finance, support, and exposure – generational change can happen on a larger scale. It simply takes dedicated people who love what they do, and the desire of all people involved to begin changing how we think about these issues of Guns and Gun Violence. I don’t believe that “Gangsters” want to chase each other down and shoot each other, I believe they are victims of an environment that continues to feed upon itself. This quote from “The Wire” of a discussion between Cutty and Dukie sums it all up for me, and brings me to tears when I see it, and now as I type it.
CUTTY : “I guess what I’m trying to say is, not everything comes down to how you carry it in the street. I mean, it do come to that if you gonna be in the street. But that ain’t the only way to be.”
DUKIE : “Yeah, round here it is.”
CUTTY : “Yeah…round here it is…. World is bigger than that, at least, that’s what they tell me.
DUKIE : ” Like…..How do you get from here to the rest of the World?”
CUTTY : “I Wish I knew.”
I know I am beginning to talk about many different things at once, but that is my point : It Is Everything at Once. There is no one solution, or one answer, or one idea. It is many Resolutions, Ideas and Answers coming together at once. The Desire and Will for everyone involved to change our current Rites Of Passages. If a person doesn’t believe they can actually go anywhere else, what are one’s inner feelings of change, and the desire to re-identify oneself, when the daily battle of life is enough to kill you. One is barely thinking of change, one is thinking of Survival. We need to provide options for people who have no options. In doing so, everyone will be saved.
This is an issue I will continue to address, and I only wish for the safely and constitution of all human-kind.
Thank You for letting me share my thoughts on this matter.
The Gold Cup and The Under 20 World Cup
There is Futbol this week, aside from how my first paragraphs read, and my love for The Beautiful Game is still in warm temperatures. The Gold Cup is entering the last matches of the Group Stage, and the Quarterfinals are almost set. On Tuesday, July 16, 2013, The US Men’s National Team battle against continental stalwart Costa Rica in the race for first place in the Group. This will be a confidence builder for both sides, as they enter the second round. Both teams want to finish first in the group – and both want to continue good play. I believe Costa Rica can win this match taking place in Hartford, Connecticut. In a friendly fixture that is grander than the game itself, Japan and China PR square off in Seoul, Korea on Sunday, July 21, 2013. The history between these two countries is historically significant, and such things always are portrayed in the build-up, game itself, and post-game. This will be a great match to watch, and here in America, once might have to find that on an internet stream.
The U20 World Cup Final was a fun match to watch, yet was kind of a cagey affair in which Uruguay created the most danger. France’s massive size was obvious on set pieces, but they could not convert. The game ended nil to nil after extra time – and France won very strongly in penalties. Goalkeeper Alphonse Areola displayed his grace skill in defending two penalties, not to mention his two beautiful parrying saves in regular time.
The Third-Place match was dominated by Ghana’s Black Satellites. It was a tremendous success for Iraq to qualify for the final, but during this 90 minutes it seemed as if the tournament had taken its toll on them, and fitness was issue. There was no Fire Fire Fire, that we had previously seen in their matches, and they kinda fizzled out in the final. Congratulations to both Iraq and Ghana for having amazing tournaments as well. I do believe the Third-Place match was the first time a Team Won Three to Zero, with the three different players’ names beginning with the letter “A” : Assifuah, Attamah, and Acheampong. I should Insert A+ Joke. These guys ruled the pitch.
Stop The Violence
For Inspirational Music this week, I turn to the Old-School Hip-Hop Classic from The Stop The Violence Movement : Self Destruction. This collective features MC’s : KRS-One, Kool Mo Dee, MC Lyte, Doug E. Fresh, Just-Ice, Heavy D, Chuck D, and many more.
This song was released when I was 17 years old, and it still resonates with me today. The beat may be slightly archaic by today’s Hip-Hop standards, but frankly I love it, and the bass still gets my head bobbing. But wait, there’s more : A Message. A Message to stop our Self-Destruction.
Please Read this snippet from YouTube Video : The Stop The Violence Movement was begun by rapper KRS-One in 1989 in response to violence in the hip hop and African American communities. In 1988, during a concert by Boogie Down Productions and Public Enemy, a young fan was killed in a fight. The killing occurred shortly after Scott La Rock, a founding member of Boogie Down Productions, was killed in a shooting. KRS-One responded to these tragedies by forming The Stop The Violence Movement, to advance a vision of hip hop that would restore hip hop’s “original principles” to the music industry. Composed of some of the biggest stars in contemporary East Coast hip hop, the Movement released a single, “Self Destruction”, in 1989, with all proceeds going to the National Urban League. A music video was created, and a VHS cassette entitled Overcoming Self-Destruction – The Making of the Self-Destruction Video was also released. “Self Destruction” was produced by KRS-One and D-Nice of Boogie Down Productions. http://youtu.be/gTsIpZ_Si3A
Next week we’ll discuss more Futbol and more Music. I promise. Everyone have a beautiful day, and treat each other well.
Brazil – Confederations Cup Champions 2013 – Lego Version