Reverend Damon Lynch III is the pastor at New Prospect Baptist Church
The recent rash of shootings and murders in the city of Cincinnati over a three-day span, leaving 21 shot and 4 dead, is a tragedy of enormous proportions. The number of families suffering from this violence, fear, hospital bills, funeral cost and trauma is more than a city of this size should have to shoulder. Four of the people shot were connected to New Prospect Baptist Church, and two of those four died.
When the questions are raised on how we stop the violence, I think there is a voice often missing from the conversation. We know we will hear the voices of those calling for systemic solutions – housing, employment and education, none of which have been adequately addressed. We know we will hear the voices of those who want to cast blame on the family, schools, church and the community at large, and much of the blame is warranted. Finally, we know we will hear from the grand standers – political and public – who will make grand statements devoid of substance.
But the voice never heard is that of the killers. When they are caught we learn their name and, if convicted, we may learn their sentence but never their why. We never get to hear answers to questions that I believe are necessary to stemming the tide of violence.
“What were you thinking?”
“What made you think it was OK to take a life?”
The psychology of those who kill is just as important in trying to stop this violence, and maybe more important than the voices that call for systemic change, the voices that cast blame and the voices of the grand standers. While all the voices are important, their calls for change will not yield great success without the missing piece of the puzzle, that being the understanding of the mind of a killer.
I believe we can learn a lot from the killers that could help us reach others who may feel and think the same way before they raise a gun to settle matters.
We need psychologists, psychoanalysts, psychotherapists and researchers to go into the prisons and speak to those convicted of taking a life to ascertain the deep hidden “why” of violent crime.
Seventeen-year-old Aurora McCarter was shot and killed on Aug 14, and a 16-year-old has been arrested for that crime. If he is justly convicted of taking Aurora’s life, I want to know, “what made you think it was OK to handle your dispute with a gun?”
When we are only hearing from the same voices and not hearing from the shooters, we are fighting a battle with one hand tied behind our backs.
Rev. Damon Lynch III is pastor of New Prospect Baptist Church in Roselawn.
Read his original opinion piece at cincinnati.com