If you live near Milwaukee you have heard of Sierra Guyton, a ten-year-old girl who was shot while playing on a Milwaukee playground in May. She initially survived the shooting but was critically injured and finally died on Sunday.
We live in tough times but this week has been especially horrific I think. Words fail any attempt to capture the grief of her family, or the horror of living on in a world in which little girls may die by gunfire on the playground. I keep thinking of Thomas's lines,
I shall not murder
The mankind of her going with a grave truth
Nor blaspheme down the stations of the breath
With any further
Elegy of innocence and youth.
So. I can't speak to the grief of Sierra's family or the wrongness of her death. But I heard a poem today as I was reading about a vigil held in her memory. It's lines from the transcript of a video available here. (Note that in case the transcript disappears from there I am also cutting and pasting it down below for reference.) Here goes.
right in the face
ten-year-old Sierra Guyton
shot while playing on a playground
a community is coming together
in just a couple of hours
a balloon release this evening
it does not end with her passing
I know she is not suffering
with the worries of this world
the worries of this world are staring us
right in the face
every time we look at the playground
it shouldn’t take for someone to die
they are afraid to play here now
that balloon release at 7:45 on the spot
followed by a vigil
the bullet that hit Sierra came from
the man who’s grinning in his mug shot
we’re going to run out of people soon
TIME TODAY THAT HAD THE JUDGE FURIOUS. AM REALLY GOING TO MISS MY DAUGHTER. BUT SHE DOESN'T HAVE TO DEAL WITH THIS ANYMORE. A PARENT'S NIGHTMARE, A FATHER'S HEARTBREAK, A NEIGHBORHOOD BROKEN. 10-YEAR-OLD SIERRA GUYTON WAS SHOT WHILE PLAYING ON A MILWAUKEE LAY GROUND. MIKE ANDERSON JOINS US WHERE A COMMUNITY IS COMING TOGETHER IN JUST A COUPLE OF HOURS. [CAPTIONING MADE POSSIBLE BY WISN-TV] CAPTIONED BY THE NATIONAL CAPTIONING INSTITUTE --WWW.NCICAP.ORG-- IN JUST A COUPLE OF HOURS, THE FAMILY OF SIERRA WILL BE JOINED HERE NEAR THE PLAYGROUND WHERE SHE WAS SHOT. THEY WILL HAVE A BALLOON RELEASE THIS EVENING. IT'S BEEN A VERY DIFFICULT TIME FOR THIS FAMILY AND IT DOES NOT END WITH HER PASSING. I'M UPSET THAT MY DAUGHTER IS GONE. OF COURSE HE IS UPSET AND HE IS HURTING. 10-YEAR-OLD SIERRA HAS NOT SAID A WORD SINCE HE WAS SO -- SINCE SHE WAS SHOT IN THE HEAD MAY 21. SHE DIED AT ONE: 30 5 A.M. SUNDAY. I KNOW SHE'S NOT SUFFERING AND SHE DOES NOT HAVE TO DEAL WITH THE WORRIES OF THIS WORLD NO MORE. AND THE WORRIES OF THIS WORLD ARE STARING US RIGHT IN THE FACE EVERY TIME WE LOOK AT THE PLAYGROUND WHERE SHE WAS SHOT. THERE IS NOT A KID INSIDE BECAUSE OF THE WORRIES OF THIS WORLD AREA THEY ARE AFRAID TO PLAY HERE NOW. I UNDERSTAND THAT. IF I WERE A PARENT AND THAT HAD HAPPENED, I WOULD BE AFRAID TO HAVE MUCH OUTLAY IN THAT PLAYGROUND. HE SAID SIERRA WAS ON HIS MIND. -- I WOULD BE AFRAID TO HAVE MY CHILD PLAY IN THAT PLAYGROUND. WE ARE NOT GOING TO REST UNTIL A GRANDMA CAN SIT ON HER FRONT PORCH AND WATCH HER GRANDCHILD PLAY IN THE FRONT YARD. IT SHOULDN'T TAKE FOR SOMEONE TO DIE OR KID TO GET SHOT FOR THIS COMMUNITY TO STICK TOGETHER. IF THAT'S THE CASE, WERE GOING TO RUN OUT OF PEOPLE SOON. HER FOR OTHER SAYS THEY ARE STILL IN THE PROCESS OF MAKING FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS. AGAIN THAT BALLOON RELEASE WILL BE AT 7:45 HERE ON THE SPOT THIS EVENING FOLLOWED BY A VIGIL AT 8:00. ERA WAS SHOT WHEN TWO MEN STARTED SHOOTING AT EACH OTHER. POLICE SAY THE BULLET THAT HIT SIERRA CAME FROM SYLVESTER LEWIS'S GUN. HE'S THE MAN WHOSE GRAND IN HIS MUG SHOT. HE'S ALSO THE MAN WHO SWORE IN COURT AND WAS THEN FORCED INTO HIS SEAT I DEPUTIES. HE WILL LIKELY FACE MORE SERIOUS CHARGES NOW THAT SIERRA HAS DIED.