Local tragedy a reminder that if we try, we can be part of the change we wish to see

by Mallary Tenore Tarpley

Yesterday’s newspaper is still lying on my kitchen table. A photo of 16-year-old Nicholas Lemmon Lindsey stares back at me and I’m left wondering, why? Earlier this week, Lindsey shot and killed St. Petersburg police officer David Crawford, a 25-year veteran. Police searched the area near my workplace Tuesday morning in what became the largest manhunt in city history. After receiving a few tips, police were led to Lindsey, who ultimately admitted to killing Crawford.

During a moment of silence yesterday at work, my colleagues shared their reflections on the news. One colleague asked how someone so young could so easily get a gun. The reality, another colleague responded, is that guns are a lot easier to get than one would hope. Lindsey bought his last week for a mere $140.

The news made me feel deeply sorry for Crawford’s family, and it motivated me to want to do more in the community to help troubled youth. Today I met with my Little Sister, who attends the same middle school that Lindsey did. It was her 13th birthday, so I brought her a ring from Target that has Ghandi’s famous quote engraved on it: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” I have the same ring and wear it every day as a reminder that we can’t just talk about change; we have to be part of it.

If we want our community to change for the better, we have to be willing to embrace the challenges that come with change. My impact as a Big Sister is small; I’m meeting with just one girl for just one hour a week. But it’s something. Sometimes, having one person in your life who cares and encourages you to make good choices makes all the difference. And sometimes it doesn’t, but you have to hold onto hope that it can.