At Greater Heights Missionary Baptist Church, we sit down with Pastor Curtis Bryant yet again for another discussion involving our community's youth and the violent crimes they're accused of committing.
“It is so unfortunate, so heartbreaking. Its so constant, so unrelenting that so many families have to experience death and trauma to this degree,” Bryant said.
This time, however, it hits home for Bryant and his family. One of the latest shooting victims, 16-year-old Brentrice Wilson , is a close friend of his grandson.
“When it touches that close to home, we have to pay attention. Often we think that its not a real problem until the problem comes to my yard,” Bryant explained.
A 12-year-old is charged with criminal homicide in her death after the accidental shooting. However, just yesterday we learned 16-year-old Myeisha Brown is charged with criminal homicide in the shooting death of 74-year-old Ruxin Wang on November, 9.
“This monster has several heads, both political, social, economic, cultural, all of those things play a part in what our children perceive the world to be," said Bryant. "If they see guns constantly in the neighborhood, in the car, on the dresser, on the coffee table, tucked beneath the seat of a car, they become comfortable with that which they are familiar.”
Bryant knows the blame can't be put in one place and it'll take the entire community to change this culture of violence.
"The adult world is often excluded from the private world of children," said Bryant. "We're not called to be friends with our children. We're called to be guardians and leaders and protectors of our family."