Got a gun? You get none!

Women. Have. Power.

No sex, no food, no home, no family.

“I’ve listened to the first show [on CBC – 13 Sep 2012]. Great work. Have a gun to be used for a criminal offense — no sex, no food, no home, no family. I like what Dr. said in the first show — you have a right to search through a room in your house, your SAFE place, if you believe criminal items are being kept there.” — Johanne C.

Rape as a viable option?

The best thing about being able to move a discussion forward is to learn about what some of the pitfalls might be, where the weak areas are, what is viable and what is not. During the call-in portion of yesterday’s conversation on CBC radio’s Ontario Today, the issue of rape and domestic violence was raised a LOT. Many listeners felt that “withholding” sex from men who have guns (we had to specify up front that we are talking about guns that are meant to be used to shoot other people) — saying NO to being with a man who is a negative element in our communities (aka. “thug gangster”) could result in violence against women from these men who seem to have a propensity for violence. We were lucky to have Dr. Roz (of Dr. Roz’s Healing Place in Scarborough) on hand to address this important factor.

What do you think? Does it come down to yes or no? Should women have to say YES because of what might happen if they say NO? Do we have the services and support that are needed to help women who want to say NO, who want to move on and get away from a bad situation but can’t? If you have any insight about this issue OR any valuable resources that you would recommend, please share them here. There may be someone reading this right now who KNOWS someone or who IS someone who would like to get away from a negative situation. We may not all agree on strategy BUT we can at least agree that if a woman wants to leave, she should have the support that she needs to do so.

It was also interesting that rape was presented as though it was the next logical step for a man that is not getting sex from his partner. I was surprised that this point was raised so often because I think that most men would never think of raping anybody! More likely if they were dissatisfied with the situation, they would either move on and find somebody else, or make whatever change was needed to keep the women that they really want. However I could not deny that most of the people who raised the point of rape were men so they certainly would have some insight into how a man might react.

Overall the conversation raised a lot of great points: the possibility of the rise of prostitution, mothers in denial, social programs, calling the police on your loved ones, stronger gun laws, self-esteem and mental health issues, legal gun ownership, absentee fathers, poverty, even sex as a commodity. I hope this conversation is continuing in the living rooms (and bedrooms). Especially for people who think it’s a crazy idea because they can even raise other strategies or help to strengthen other areas that the rest of us may not be looking at.

Do women really love the bad boys?

Tomorrow Guns Get None will be featured on CBC radio’s Ontario Today, a call-in show where listeners can share their opinions, ask their questions, and basically let their voices be heard. The time is 12 noon to 1PM and the call-in number is 1-888-817-8995. In Toronto, you can listen on your radio at 99.1FM or also listen live online at www.cbc.ca/ontariotoday.

Today’s question came out of a conversation I had…it seems that some people feel the idea of asking women to say no to sex with gunmen would be ineffective because women actually choose those men because of their thug gangster lifestyle. For any number of reasons (money, prestige, excitement, even low self esteem on our part), many of we women select this type of man and prefer this type of man. Sometimes violence is actually an integral part of the relationship. Or it may be the thrill of perceived power.

Do you think this is an accurate perspective? Are women actually embracing and encouraging the gangster lifestyle? Or are we more often turning a blind eye to it and wishing that it would go away? Do we have an individual responsibility to actively work to stop violence in our communities, or should we just live and let live? (That is, unless we get shot.)

Mother the sons, raise the daughters

“There is a saying that black women mother their sons and raise their daughters; when it comes to my mother, the saying is too true. My mother raised me — there were a lot of hard times, times when we both were hurt and angry, nevertheless I am the woman I am today because of her. But my mother let my brother Malcolm walk all over her ever since he was a child. Her way of looking after Malcolm was something I emulated, not out of concern for my brother, but to please my mother. Eventually, though, I became so fed up that I got tougher on him. I felt sympathy and wanted to support Malcolm and all the young brothers in his situation. But unlike my mother and the black women of my childhood, I wasn’t going to support a black man at the expense of myself.” — Veronica Chambers, from her book “Mama’s Girl, a memoir”

Must Read: I Wish I Had A Red Dress

Pearl Cleage’s compelling story of young women struggling in relationships with criminal or violent men and raising their children has all the bases covered: women who are facing cycles of boredom, poverty, low self-esteem, but come together to learn to be “free women;” men who are frustrated and angered by lack of opportunities and trapped in a fruitless quest for respect; a mother who is unwilling or unable to take responsibility for her sons that terrorize both the community that they live in and the women they claim to love; a well-meaning, overzealous social worker, the ever-present funding crisis, wise elders, community deterioration alongside hopeful innovation, and the requisite amount of drama, judgement, friendships and love. I Wish I Had A Red Dress is a must-read for anyone, male or female, committed to social programs for young people, gun control, stopping violence against women…and the list goes on. If you’ve already read it, share your thoughts. If you haven’t read it, please do, and then tell us what you think. I especially like the character Tee (Tomika) who is already on the “guns get none” ideology, turning her back on the kind of relationships she has always known and holding out for her own “Denzel” — her best idea of a do-right man.

Bottom line: you may not agree with everything, or anything, in the book but it’s still worth the conversation.

Feature Film: Doomstown

 

I just saw this movie on CTV tonight. Doomstown, a Canadian television movie about gang violence, was aired on CTV in 2006. I was amazed at how many of the issues that we have been talking about were so succinctly portrayed in this film. Drug dealing, the quest for respect, immigrant communities, the role of mothers (including young babymothers), the absence of fathers, harbouring, snitching, children, religion, responsibility, love/attraction, and of course violence and death. The character of Monica was especially interesting, the local unattainable woman, who won’t let certain kinds of brothers get next to her…but they sure do want to! What would a man be willing to give up for a chance to get with a woman like that? It was kind of like that Chris Rock line: “Damn baby, what do I got to DO to get next to YOU??”

Apparently it’s almost impossible to find the movie but I’ll be keeping my eyes open and would be glad for any information from anyone who knows how to get this film. It would be great to have a discussion about this film. I would sure want to talk about the threat of violence against the families of people who “snitch” or talk to police. Question: Do you think that there is any excuse for violent retribution if someone that is known in the community shoots your mother? Your sister? Your child? That situation evoked a LOT of outburst from the people watching the film with me. Your thoughts?

Lessons in the Lyrics: Guns (Spice and Company)

Carnival time! Bacchanal time! Wine up yuh waist to this classic soca hit. Ladies, forget about the gangstas, and stick with the man who knows the right kind of gun to use (and you better keep the safety on THAT one too, come to think about it!). Thank you, Spice and Company: knowledge is power AND fun!

Too many guns in dis town,

Too many guns passing round!

Too many guns in dis town,

Too many guns passing round!

Is every day you open de paper

All you read ‘bout is murder.

Man, this ting here is sad,

But de whole damn world goin mad!

This one have a gun, that one have a gun

Man they gon shoot each other for fun.

When the men kill the men all that remain is women.

It is then I gon have me fun,

It is then I gon draw me gun,

It is then I gon take the chance,

Cause the only gun I got is the gun inside me…

This one have a gun, that one have a gun

Man they gon shoot each other for fun.

When the men kill the men all that remain is women.

It is then I gon have me fun,

It is then I gon draw me gun,

It is then I gon take the chance,

I gon kill them with romance!

Lessons in the Lyrics: Forget I was a G (Whitehead Brothers)

This classic from the soundtrack of the movie “Jason’s Lyric” (1994) really speaks to the issue of a man getting out of the gangsta lifestyle for the love of a woman. Self-reflection is key, he asks himself: “What would I do if I was to lose my girl? How would she feel if I was to leave this world?” Words to live by.

Forget I was a G (Whitehead Brothers)

Street life, it’s the only life I know

All the hustlin and the building

Living on my own

No one…I can love no one to trust

Til you came into my life girl

Now I’m giving it all up

For you…

Get down and pray

That you will stay

With a man like me

And forget I was a G.

Threw away my pager, got my number changed again

No more business calls from other Gs try’na hustle up some ends

Moved to a new location where nobody knows my name

I’ll just live my life in love with you cuz I’m finally out the game.

Get down and pray

That you will stay

With a man like me

And forget I was a G.

I used to hustle on the block

Pull out me glock

Lick some shots!

If you didn’t have me money, straight goin in ya tip

Til I met this fly honeydip

Oh shhhhh!

Ask no questions, I’ll tell you no lie

This girl was fly

Put me off that vibe

Oh my!

So I had to stop hustlin

Cuz hustling was the road to the clink.

She made me think:

What would I do if I was to lose my girl?

How would she feel if I was to leave this world?

Now this lady showed me how to bury the old me

I’m living in peace

Cuz I’m no longer an OG.

Get down and pray

That you will stay

With a man like me

And forget I was a G.

I don’t wanna be a G no more…

I don’t wanna be a G no more…

Youth problem/Adult problem

Being a parent can be a humbling experience. One of my favourite sayings is “children make a liar of us all” . We must be honest to know when we have lost the power of influence over our children. Harbouring is making excuses for our children. WRONG is WRONG. I have a nephew who was shot and killed as a teenager. The most hurtful thing was finding out he had been involved with some wrong tings…his mom never shared with us (could have been the shame). Regardless, when do we admit we tried our best but our children have wills of their own? We love them but discipline is also one the greatest forms of love.

One of the greatest wisdom ever shared with from my Elder Paul Hill Jr. is that we don’t have a Youth Problem but an Adult One. Adults, lets meditate on that. — Paul O.

Problems with the Police

“Yes i would lie to the police straight up the justice system has failed society and im sure we have all lied to the police at sometime…sometimes we lie to protect i would hate to know i was the cause of my childs incarceration and imagine how they would feel…prevention is the best medicine teach and guide your children and you shouldnt have anything to worry about that all you can do!!!” — D.J.B.

“I think the real problem is our community has been harassed and abused so much by the police that even if we need their help we are reluctant to ask for it. almost as reluctant as they are to give it.” — Dene S.

“The more I ask this question, the more I appreciate the fact that there is a sliding scale of where we will “handle it on our own” and where we will flat out call the po po. So stealing a bike vs stealing a car. I guess what i can’t wrap my head around knowing my child has committed a more heinous crime and feeling that they are being protected by not turning them over to the police. So what they have done being wrong is not at issue, just that one doesn’t trust the police so justice will be served better at home? What if this same child commits another crime, or one more serious?… I am no big fan of the police for various reasons, but I feel I can talk to the issue, because I have worked with them many times trying to find solutions to these ‘silence’ problems. It has been said many times, we all hate the police until its our own child’s murder that they have to look for, then we are all up in their ass for them to “do their jobs!” But this isn’t about the police or anyone outside of our community… Our children are killing each other, and we need to keep talking, and asking questions, and sharing information. We need to engage these kids in activities that keep them off the street. Not wait for another program to be created by the city, create engaging activities on our own! When is the last time you grabbed your ‘neighbours’ kids and went to the park? Sat and read a book with you niece? We are willing to work second jobs to afford the car, how about taking the bus and saving a child. I’m not speaking to any one person’s life, so please don’t try to make it about that… I am just saying if we all made a little sacrifice, WE could be the change needed versus waiting for a city run program to do it.” — Mikey W.

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