Seeking An Understanding…
Grandmother is 85 years old. She lost her husband fours ago. He was shot in a botched attempted robbery. The case was never solved.
Grandfather fought in the Korean War. He proudly served his country as a U.S. Marine. But now he is gone and grandmother has no one to protect her.
Early one morning, grandmother was walking to the grocery to pick up her week’s worth of groceries.
A man came up from behind her and tried to snatch her purse. Because grandmother had just cashed her social security check at the bank a few minutes earlier, she fought hard against the purse snatcher to keep her purse and grocery money.
Several young men in the area stood around and watched it all happen. They did nothing to intervene or to help protect grandmother from the attacker. She eventually let go of the purse strap and the man ran off.
Her grandson was told what happened to his grandmother and he was incensed. He went over to the neighborhood where he wanted to find the guy responsible. He wanted to even the score, to get revenge.
He decided to bring a gun, grandfather’s .45 M-19, just in case he needed protection, as he knew what world he was about to enter.
As he entered deeper into the neighborhood, he felt very alone and somewhat nervous. He realized he was now in an area just a few blocks away from his grandmother’s neighborhood, and he felt the eyes of the locals watching him intently. But he had a gun, so he felt safe, and very much determined to settled the score.
He eventually walked up to a group of three men, all wearing jeans and t-shirts. He approached them and soon realized these men were probably in their mid to late sixties, and they weren’t looking for trouble.
One of the men asked him if he needed help or directions.
The grandson replied by telling the story to the men, and vowed to get revenge.
One of the old man listened intently to the grandson’s story, and then replied in a soft, gravelly voice, “Sometimes it’s best to take a few breaths over a few minutes, and let the dust settle inside your mind. Even though you might think you want to settle the score, you might want to also think about the consequences of an emotional reaction, and think about who is going to take care of your grandmother if you’re not around to do it yourself.”
His first reaction was to tell this old man to mind his own business, but the more he listened to to the old guy the more he started making sense.
Just then, a second man shared his thoughts by saying, “son, two wrongs don’t really make a right. Besides, the word gets around the hood pretty fast when a young punk jumps an 85-year-old woman, white or black. It might be best to let the neighborhood take care of its own problems.”
And then a third man chimed in by saying, “Young man, while I understand your frustration and your anger and your need to want to lash out in defense of your grandmother, this might be a better time to go back home and make sure your grandmother feels safe and secure. Trust me, everything will work out the way it supposed to.”
Then the first man added, “two wrongs don’t make a right, but God takes care of those willing to take care of their grandmothers, and the devil takes care of those who cause harm to grandmothers.”
The grandson started thinking about his grandmother and the fact that even though he did have a gun, he was still very much afraid. He was afraid that all of a sudden he was in the neighborhood where he felt he needed a gun to protect myself, but he was even more afraid that the world around us was changing, and maybe not for the better.
He thanked the men for their wise words of encouragement, and then he turned around and walked home. Along the way, I realized that the weight of the gun in my pocket started becoming heavier and heavier, but not as heavy as the reality of the fact that I had just walked into a neighborhood with a gun in my pocket, with the thought that I could have possibly caused harm to a man who might have actually been the wrong person… God help me… God help us all…
© 2021 Jeffrey Pipes Guice