‘Boy Carrying Toy Gun Shot Dead By Police’ (a poem)

This is why I try as much as possible to avoid the news…

The family said it was a toy
the cops thought it was a gun
Shots were fired
now the boy is dead
Is this how the West was won?

It seems ‘shoot to kill’ is the new default
it happens again and again… and again
Shots are fired
another one dead
—and it’s going to happen again

How is it that human life is so precious
when it has yet to emerge
but once you’re born, you’re on your own?
(You’re on your own…)

Another family mourns tonight
another funeral to plan
Once shots are fired
there’s no going back
you can’t put the bullets back in the gun

(23 November 2014)