DUELING WITH WORDS TO STOP GUN VIOLENCE: Wednesday Writing Prompt


Given the media reports on the U.S., you might think we are the only ones with gun violence problems. Unfortunately we are not alone.  According to a Global Burden of Disease study in 2013, firearms were the cause of 180,000 deaths worldwide, up from 128,000 in 1990.  Approximately 47,000 were unintentional.

 “The death toll from small arms dwarfs that of all other weapons systems — and in most years greatly exceeds the toll of the atomic bombs that devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In terms of the carnage they cause, small arms, indeed, could well be described as ‘weapons of mass destruction’.” — Kofi Annan, UN Secretary-General, March 2000

According to the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, there are many countries that surpass United States in gun violence. These are largely in the Caribbean and Central America,  the result of gangs and drug trafficking.

A recent feature in Forbes Magazine reports that annual firearm-related deaths in the Philippines are 9.46 per 100,000 and 9.41 per 100,000 in South Africa. According to Kaiser Foundation the U.S. is at 11.1 per 100,000.

“From 1979 to 1997, almost 30,000 people in the United States alone died from accidental firearm injuries. A disproportionately high number of these deaths occurred in parts of the United States where firearms are more prevalent.” Wikipedia

The presence of guns in households and the ease of acquiring guns contribute to the numbers of successful suicides. In fact, my sister died from a self-inflicted gun-shot wound to the head. She was twenty-seven and I was thirteen. It’s been fifty-four years but I have never stopped wondering how and where she acquired a weapon and how she learned to use it.

“There are more than 875 million firearms in the world, 75 per cent of them in the hands of civilians. Guns outnumber passenger vehicles by 253 million, or 29 per cent. Each year about eight million new small arms, plus 10 to 15 billion rounds of ammunition are manufactured — enough bullets to shoot every person in the world not once, but twice.The authorised international trade in small arms and ammunition exceeds US $7.1 billion each year.” GunPolicy.org (hosted by the Sydney School of Public Health)

ACCORDING TO THE GENEVA CONVENTION ON ARMED VIOLENCE AND DEVELOPMENT:

  • More than 740,000 people have died directly or indirectly from armed violence – both conflict and criminal violence – every year in recent years.
  • More than 540,000 of these deaths are violent, with the vast majority occurring in non-conflict settings.
  • The annual economic cost of armed violence in non-conflict settings, in terms of lost productivity due to violent deaths, is USD 95 billion and could reach as high as USD 163 billion – 0.14 percent of the annual global GDP.

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” Mother Teresa

Today, for Wednesday Writing Prompt, we tackle gun violence. In concert with poet Evelyn Augusto of Dueling with Words to Stop Gun Violence, I ask you to bare witness and to do the work of raising the communal consciousness of this critical issue, especially the consciousness of those who feel the need to carry guns, those for whom a gun is part of their identity. This is the first time I’ve invited a guest to post a prompt and I do so because Evelyn has made a commitment to this cause.  You can read more about what she’s doing HERE.

– Jamie Dedes

Photograph courtesy of Tony Webster under CC BY 2.0.


“537 children under the age of eleven have been killed or injured by gun violence in the United States this year alone, according to Gun Violence.org.” Evelyn Augusto


U R Not Your Gun

(For Shaun)

You are: The sound of your mother’s voice calling your name and your father’s
chance for a better life–not his,
but yours, because it’s too late for him,
but not for you…not yet, unless you forget

U R Not Your Gun.

You are your greatest fantasy and
someone’s best friend and another’s
first love. You are shelter
from the storm.
You are memory and risk and reward.
You are tougher than your
disappointments, you are kinder
than you imagine, you are everything
that child you once were
wanted to be and more. But

U R Not Your Gun–

not grey and cold and lifeless.
Not unforgiving like that. Not hollow or predictable. Not dangerous.

U R Not Your Gun. You are someone
I can love.

© October 2017, Evelyn Augusto for GUNS DON’T SAVE PEOPLE POETS DO… 


WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT

Write a poem…post a poem….Stop gun violence.

If you feel comfortable, leave your work or a link to it in the comments section below. All work shared on theme will be published by The Poet by Day next Tuesday and also on GUNS DON’T SAVE PEOPLE, POETS DO…DUELING WITH WORDS TO STOP GUN VIOLENCE . Anyone is welcome to take part in Wednesday Writing Prompt no matter the status as a poet: beginning, emerging or established. You have until next Monday at 8 pm PST to respond.


ABOUT THE POET BY DAY

 

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13 thoughts on “DUELING WITH WORDS TO STOP GUN VIOLENCE: Wednesday Writing Prompt

  1. Jamie: I notice that I’m 23 minutes late with this! I was stumped with the prompt, sound though it is! I can only think that the world will only change when individuals decide to make a difference. Fifty years ago I signed the Peace Pledge Union pledge: ‘I renounce war and refuse to support or sanction another…’ Anybody who supports the possession of guns and threatens others with bombs is, in my book, just a bloody idiot and I note that the world is full of them, from Trump & Co to the latest shooter…

    For a few days I have contemplated posting this bit of irony:-

    *

    I don’t like to admit my views in public

    because there’s too much – far too much –
    for public people to attack:
    you see I’m a vegetarian anarcho-pacifist

    I’m vegetarian
    because I believe in a fair deal for cows

    I disapprove of kings
    while bombs & guns scare me

    (Easter 1965)

    *

    23 minutes too late!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Jamie,

    My third response:

    The Enemy

    is a thing, not a person
    you chat to, smile with,

    laugh with, share your bairns
    With. They are something

    you respond to and at, not with.
    Once seen as it they are easier

    to kill, to make redundant.
    Don’t worry if this is a symptom

    of a psychopath. It is the others
    that are mentally deranged, not you.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi Jamie,

    Here is my second response:

    Our Massacre

    Always portray the killer as deranged,
    abnormal, an aberration of society.

    Their actions are not those of us
    ordinary decent folk, though we arm

    ourselves to the teeth with the same
    firepower we are reasonable.

    Their geography is not ours. We must
    distance ourselves. This person

    Is not an old friend, a neighbour.
    They are a stranger who acts

    strangely. We must stress, though often
    this behaviour is rare, an anomaly.

    We do not know this person
    who kills our friends and neighbours.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. My response Jamie :
    #An octopus of black smoke#
    Kakali Das Ghosh

    You love violence
    You love bloodshed…
    A perpetual war you fought
    in an endless night…..
    Where lies bravery while you kill innocence…
    When your loud laughter
    ruptures ailing hearts..
    Your firm stick beats flimsy backs…
    You are courageous
    when the other stands before you with
    tender eyes and limp knees…
    You are rich when the other is bankrupt.
    Have you ever thought that a spiral knot of bankruptcy ..
    an octopus of black smoke is approaching to you..
    Your throat would be choked
    Your breathing would be amiss..
    The faint one you desired to distract has also a garden like you
    Where flowers flourish Colorful butterflies fly
    Humble bees buzz every day and night..
    How many jewels have you grabbed
    How many rivers of peace have flown through your chest
    Being so aggressive..
    Now a cloud of languish is nearer to you
    A fear of being lost is chasing you..
    Your garden may demolish by his musket …
    Now its not a face to face war
    Its a revenge of mass killing Numerous bloody rivers
    would be created ..
    You are unknown of it
    You are unaware of this new bloody horror
    You are ignorant of losing your lovable birdhouse…
    If you kenned that…
    you never did grab that firegun
    Never became a witch bloodthirsty.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Jamie,
    Here’s my first response:

    Guns Are (From A World Where 2)

    good. Make you feel safe.
    Make you more responsible,

    like your own child. Nobody
    hurts my child. I’ll shoot anyone

    that does. My child needs
    A decent education. Some shooter

    Who wants to be famous kills
    my little one in lessons.

    I’m glad I’ve got my gun
    so I can kill the shooter

    and his family. Guns are good.
    Make folk sit up and listen.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Jamie, a prompt close to my heart. Here’s my offering:

    His First Gun, A True Story

    (For DJ)

    His first gun was a .357. He was seven,
    sitting in the front seat.
    His cousin, Dwayne, 16, was driving.
    His 5-year-old brother in the back seat.
    It was a drug deal.
    New Orleans.

    Some guys wanted our stuff.
    Dwayne always said,
    “Shoot ‘em before you let them rob you.”
    Pow, pow, pow!
    Dwayne is hit in the head!
    Grab the wheel!

    Tried to stop the blood.
    He stopped breathing.
    We all had guns.
    We couldn’t take him to the hospital.

    We dragged Dwayne into the bushes
    beside the canal
    and left him there.
    Later, we went back.
    Only some brown stuff on the leaves.
    He was just gone.

    The dreams were really bad.
    They went on for a long time.

    I’ve been doing the negativity for a long time.
    I told my mom I’m done with this.
    I’m going to give my life to God.
    And football.
    I can’t be in here any more.
    I need to be back in school and training.
    I’ve always been good at sports.
    My coach said I was a freak, I’ve got a lot of talent.
    I can’t get my GPA up in this school in here.
    We take stupid classes in here like “life skills.”
    What’s that?

    My cousin said it was family business,
    I needed to do it for the family.
    I was like 10,11.
    I went to do the deal.
    I took out some of the stuff,
    showed it to the guys.
    They wanted to see it all.
    I told them only after I got the money.
    They told me to get in the car.
    They started to grab me.
    I took out my gun.
    Pop, pop, pop!
    I ran.
    They didn’t come after me.
    I went home.
    I stayed inside all night and all day.
    I didn’t go to school.
    I didn’t go out.

    I sleep with my gun.
    When I wake up I check it.
    I put it on the toilet while I take a shower.
    I put it in my pants when I’m done.
    Then I go out the house.

    People think gun violence is all about the adults.
    It’s not.
    It’s the teens that got the guns.
    I know a 12 year old in here had a .50.
    It was so big he could hardly handle it.
    All the kids have guns.
    One time I had so many guns
    couldn’t fit them all in my backpack.
    I have to protect my mother and my sister.
    But I know no matter how many guns I have
    something can happen.
    Guns aren’t good.

    But I feel safer when I have one.

    When my mother came for a visit last week
    I told her the next time she sees a gun
    it will be registered.
    The next time she sees money on me
    it will be money from my job.
    I’ll give her half.
    I’m done with this shit.

    ©His First Gun, A True Story, poem, Lisa Ashley

    Liked by 3 people

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