I tend to get annoyed at so-called gun violence protests. Most of the time, they’re really just about making people feel good without them having to actually do anything. I said as much last week.
So, you can imagine what my initial reaction to a story about a “gun violence” rally in Austin, Texas was.
However, I do actually try to read stories with an open mind, and I’m glad I did on this one.
Guns down in Givens Park — not only there — but throughout Austin.
That’s the message being sent by community advocates calling for an end to gun violence in Black communities.
This fight is personal.
Givens Park is home to culture, authenticity and gatherings, but it’s also where advocates spoke out on Sunday. They shined light on an issue that has impacted their community for far too long.
Tardrick Fowler, a community advocate fighting to end gun violence, said he lost his son to gun violence in 2020. If you ask him about gun violence in Givens Park, it strikes a nerve.
So far, this looks like any number of other stories about this kind of thing.
Yet one of the activists had an interesting idea.
Advocates are also pushing for tech involvement to get youth away from guns.
“If you can show a kid how to make money or benefit off of a tablet or a video game, [I think] you can combat crime,” community advocate Spike Zee said.
I’m not going to lie here. That’s freaking brilliant.
What you have to understand is that many of the kids who end up involved in this kind of stuff aren’t the kind that are going to go to college. They often lack the money to do so and they also lack the environment to encourage them to find a way anyway.
As a result, they end up on the street, many of them ending up in gangs or dealing drugs (if not both). For them, they don’t think there’s any choice.
But what if they learned early that there’s a pathway to financial success they could actually achieve without the likelihood of them being shot and killed? One good app can make someone millions. Others make their creators solid livings despite not being household names.
Most of these kids use apps or play video games, so they know the products. They understand what makes a good game and what doesn’t. They’re already knowledgeable about the industry.
What they lack, though, is the programming knowledge.
And even if a lot of these kids don’t figure out the next massive video game franchise, they still have technical knowledge they can use to land jobs. The tech world tends to be less interested in credentials and more focused on what someone can actually do.
As a result, these kids could well be provided a path that will pay better than being a drug dealer and have less chance of being shot or ending up in prison.
No, it won’t work for every kid. Some just don’t have the technical prowess to excel in programming. However, there may be other options for them, options worth looking at.
Honestly, Mr. Zee’s idea is brilliant and I’m a little mad at myself that I didn’t think of it myself.
The question is, can anyone make it happen?