My inmate number is ND7568. The title of this piece is called “Gun violence.” This is Kenjuan Congo, Jr. calling from a prison camp behind enemy lines.
I was watching on the news, and it was some youth engaged in some gun violence, and the people in the news said, “This is senseless violence. It doesn’t make any sense at all.” To me, that’s problematic, because by saying senseless, it’s saying you don’t comprehend the problem. If you can’t comprehend, you can’t solve it. When you say it’s senseless, you don’t understand or comprehend it, you’re incapable of solving the problem. For me, even though it’s a tragedy and shouldn’t be happening, it makes perfect sense to me, and I was once in their shoes, I’ve been incarcerated since I was 17. I know what it feels like to be 14, 15, and 16 and have no hope and look in the future and be like, “Yo, there ain’t nothing there.” Then look out your front door and say, “You know what, I don’t care if I live or if I die.”
Imagine what I gotta go through in order for me to feel that way at such a young age, to be a child and say, “You know what, I don’t care if I live or die.” Imagine the pain, hurt, and trauma I’m going through. And now, if I don’t have any regard from my own life, how can I have regard for anybody else? So it makes perfect sense. A lot of times what people call senseless is really a cry for help that we hurting and we need help. I think before we say its senseless, we should actually take the time and comprehend the situation in its totality. If it doesn’t make sense as questioned, like “Oh, who will make you want to do that, who will make you become a gun and put yourself in a life or death situation at a young age.” If it don’t make sense, then ask questions. If it don’t make sense, you can’t comprehend, you can’t solve the problem.
This is Kenjuan Congo, Jr. calling from a prison camp behind enemy lines. Thank y’all. All power to the people.
These commentaries are recorded by Prison Radio.