Prison Radio
Izell Robinson

Hello, I am Izell Robinson, Minnesota inmate number 210006.

Today, I come to you all with, you know, a heavy heart because of everything that I’ve witnessed going on out there with the recent mass shootings—in the grocery store there in Buffalo, NY, and also this recent one in Texas at the elementary school, and then incidents of New York in the train.

Even though I’m confined, I’m still human, and when I see those things, it definitely depresses me and affects me greatly because I have family, I have friends, I have children, so I can empathize with those parents. As a black man, I can empathize with black members of that community in Buffalo that were in the grocery store shopping, and as a person who did ride public transit, I can empathize with the people on the train and the fear that might cause. So the piece I’m doing today is all around the recent effects of the violence.

Hope and the goodness of mankind to fulfill the American Dream which is sanctuary to many of us. However, that’s being replaced by fear that tragedy seems to dictate. Bigotry, hate, cowardice, and evilness can manifest in the minds of some humans, alerts us to have a certain level of caution and protection when we witness atrocities within the world we live—and also when we ourselves or others close to us become victims affected by these atrocities.

The truth is we shouldn’t need to worry about or set up safeguards to protect ourselves and others in environments that we generally consent to being safe and sacred places where people are well-intentioned and hopeful to learn and better themselves. However, here in America, that’s just not the case, because hate has negatively impacted how we can worship, how we can learn in our schools, how we go shopping, and how we celebrate due to senseless crimes—which has me very frustrated and angry.

Even though I am a man that’s considered to be a prisoner or a man who’s considered to have committed a crime, I’m telling you that I still have these feelings and these emotion of distress and discomfort when things like this happen in our society, when they happen in the community. I think there is a greater need today for safety and protection, especially when we’re talking about, you know, these mass shootings.

Therefore reform is necessary, but I believe that that should come in the form of maybe ammunition reform instead of the mass focus on gun laws and gun reform. You know, when I think about it, our constitution allows citizens the right to bear arms, but I’m not sure it allows us the right to bear ammunition. I think ammunition is what becomes lethal to life, and without the bullet in the gun, then the gun itself is harmless. That’s why I say that the alternative to decrease gun violence is increasing the price of ammunition significantly and requiring it to be registered.

I think that is ammunition itself, the price of a bullet, for certain type of weapons, maybe a handgun start at like $1,000, and then you get all the way up to a machine gun, a bullet for that cost $2,500. But I think if the price of a bullet with $1,000 or $2,500, people would think twice before they decide to shoot a bullet and kill somebody cause it’d be too expensive. And we got to ask ourselves, what’s the price of life? Like what is somebody’s life worth? So when we think of bullets and the price of bullets and how cheap a bullet is and how people’s lives are being taken by these bullets, what’s the price of life worth.

Shouldn’t a bullet cost more, and then shouldn’t it be registered? You know, that way, we know who had purchased that bullet, who had it, and for what reason or purpose they were supposed to use it for—so we don’t have all this confusion. I think that’s one of the best alternatives to solve the problem, but I understand that also it’s a thing where we have certain greed in America and people are so used to things that they don’t want to see change.

And that’s why we go through the issues and problems we go through with criminal justice, because so many people are so set into the old ways and ideas of criminal justice that they don’t want to see certain reforms take place as well, so we got this “Lock them up, throw away the key” mentality as opposed to rehabilitation and corrections and treatment, even though they call it the department of corrections, very little corrections goes on.

Thank you for listening, and thanks to Prison Radio for this much-needed platform of linking prisoners with their families and communities in a healthy way to foster needed dialogue and support.

These commentaries are recorded by Prison Radio.