Killing Is The New Fighting Youth Radio's Ayesha Walker has lived in Richmond, California for almost 21 years. Her mother has lived there for 52 years. She reflects on stories of "ancient" downtown Richmond; when young people actually walked the streets late at night without caution.
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Killing Is The New Fighting

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Killing Is The New Fighting

Killing Is The New Fighting

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MADELEINE BRAND, Host:

Every Thursday, we've been bringing you a look at trends among young Americans. We call our series, produced by Youth Radio, What's the New What. Sometimes what's new is fun like a clothing style or a new type of slang, but sometimes it is deadly serious. Just last week the Supreme Court struck down a ban on handguns in Washington, D.C. And now the National Rifle Association is suing the city of San Francisco to overturn that city's ban. Just east of the city in Richmond, California, Youth Radio brings us a commentary on the downside of owning a gun.

BRAND: My name is Ayesha Walker and I'm here to propose that killing is the new fighting.

BRAND: I know, from what I heard from my parents and stuff, people would fight and then shake hands or hug and that would be it. They would settle it that way.

BRAND: But nowadays, you pick up a gun and you kill somebody and get it over with. Super fast.

BRAND: People talk about how they don't - we don't fight no more, we shoot. And I mean that's true thought. And it's been true for a long time. People just now started to get hyped to it I guess.

BRAND: Why fight when I can pick up this pistol and get it over with. That way I don't have to see this person for the rest of my life. It's like we don't think of the end result, we just think of the right now.

BRAND: You go to a function nowadays, you go there to dance. Just being somebody in a dance battle, you heard somebody banging they say, or where they from or whatever and then a punch thrown usually before it would end up in a fight. But now you throw a punch you most likely going to get shot.

BRAND: You are a sucker if you don't kill somebody, but you're a sucker if you do kill somebody. You go out with this mentality of thinking like the only way I can protect myself is if I carry this gun. If I have me 27 different guns in my house then all of that, like the more guns I have the more fear other people with have with me.

BRAND: A lot of kids want to make a name for themselves, at least in the ghetto and one of the ways for making a name for yourself in the ghetto is by doing bad stuff. And that's why people do the things they do.

BRAND: My mum told me it's like you have to be a very humble person to have a gun because if you get mad the first thing you going to think about is that gun. And what people do when they don't have guns, they call someone who does have a gun. Who is that, the police?

BRAND: Nowadays you don't see people just like you know, punching or whatever, it's like as soon as some pop off people like grabbing their belt.

BRAND: Our generation doesn't fight. We kill.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BRAND: Youth Radio's Ayesha Walker, with today's New What, Killing Is The New Fighting. You also heard the voices of Demaria Johnson(ph), Justin Fosset Cunningham(ph) and Alana Germany. If you have comments on this commentary, send them by email at what@npr.org. Day to Day's a production of NPR News with contributions from Slate.com. I'm Madeleine Brand.

COHEN: I'm Alex Cohen.

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