STOP The Violence!!!

no violenceHappy Hump Day, All!

Today, I say that “happy” greeting somewhat “tongue in cheek”, if you will … Crazies have done gone crazy … all over again and again … and again! Peace be still …

What happens to people when they get angry and don’t know how to bring themselves down a few notches? What goes on in the mind of a person who gets rejected … and they may be drunk or high or have their mood altered by something more impacting than their own will and logic? Now, I don’t talk about this as if I am a stranger to anger or rage … we know each other well. I was born into a loving family … we didn’t have much “stuff” but we had enough … and love was always in the air, thanks to my mother – Marietta Dolores. I’ve talked and written, spoken and cried about stopping the violence. After the horrors experienced right here in Florida with Josie Lou Ratley and even Michael Brewer, who has since been arrested for multiple charges himself, not to mention Columbine right up to and including Sandy Hook Elementary School, it is pretty clear that “America’s Gone Wild”!

Just last weekend in Southwest Dade, a four year old girl who was left in a borrowed car, which was filled with other kids like herself, was shot by one of the kids … and she died. Rahquel Carr was waiting for her mother to come and drive her home in a car that her mother had borrowed from a “friend”. Apparently, there was a loaded gun in the car, unbeknownst to Rahquel’s mother. Then …. “BAM”! The investigation continues and Rahquel’s mother insists that there is ” no one to blame”, though I beg to differ.

Last weekend in a bar in Boynton Beach, FL, a former co-worker and associate, Ryan Gill, called by my present manager, “a gentle giant”, was stabbed to death in an attempt to converse with an enraged man from the Republic of Georgia, Eastern Europe. Several years back, I worked for a debt settlement company in Fort Lauderdale called United Referral Service. When I came onboard, I had only three weeks of experience after working with a similar company in Boca Raton, FL. We were kind of thrown onto the sales floor, so to speak, after training for a few hours with my then manager, still friend, Burke Wortman. Once Burke had shown each of us, one by one, how to manage the computer applications and the concept of debt settlement, we were sat next to a veteran sales associate. I sat next to Ryan Gill … Since we were a close knit group at work, it occasionally spilled over into “dinner and drinks” after work, particularly on Fridays. I got to know Ryan better after a few months on the job, and, as my present manager with Platinum Marketing Group says, “He was truly a gentle giant”. Ryan was originally from the “Hell’s Kitchen” neighborhood in NYC, lifted weights, laughed a lot … and was also a pretty cool gentleman.

That night at “The Back Yard”, Ryan intervened in a conversation where two women were offered drink shots by two brothers from the Republic of Georgia, then living in Boynton Beach. The women refused the drinks and the brothers became enraged, calling the women various names. Ryan stepped up after hearing the commotion and asked one of the brothers to leave the ladies alone when from behind, the other brother garnished a knife and stabbed Ryan in the head behind his ear! The rest of the struggle to get the knife away involved a cook in the kitchen, a patron, and finally … the police. The assailant continued swinging the knife until the police officer was able to kick it out of his hand while the assailant lay on the ground … Ryan later died at a local hospital from multiple stab wounds and loss of blood. One brother was arrested for murder and the other for disorderly conduct and released … Peace be still.

Is there anything that any of us can do in such circumstances? I think most of us are “jaded” due to the omnipresence of violent behavior any and everywhere in our schools, movie theaters, streets and even our own homes! It is a “grass roots” movement, in a sense, as we watch government and law enforcement agencies grapple with the plethora of guns and weapons being used today. May we continue to pray for peace, “each one teach one” about non-violence and activities that lead to greater self control, and never give up on “STOP The Violence”.


John I. Cook, Director

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