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Hey Hey In Rockers and welcome to The Lobby for this month’s catch up here in the pages of the mighty InRock! Well, where do I start? ….. As most of you probably know if you’ve been following my adventures here in The Lobby for the past 10 plus years, I live in a mid-sized city in NY State called Buffalo. It’s the 2nd largest city in New York State, but with a population of about 350,00 people it’s much, much smaller than the next largest city, being NYC. A week ago, a horrible, violent, deranged, racist event took place in our community as 10 of our citizens were gunned down in a mass shooting attack at a supermarket on the city’s East Side.

The East Side of Buffalo is home to the largest African American community in our city and in a manifesto left online the shooter detailed and outlined the reasons for his attack being due to his radical and frighteningly racist views. It is so hard to conceive that a person would go to these lengths for such a twisted ideology, but it unfortunately seems to be a growing problem in some segments of the population here in the US and around the world quite honestly. Paired with the easy availability of guns and the constant drumbeat of social media pulling these dangerous ideas along as if they were some sort of mainstream ideology rather than the twisted, irrational, and evil notions of misguided and lost souls. The shooter was quickly apprehended and will face justice through the court systems as the victims families are left to deal with the shattered lives and relationships these unspeakable thoughts and actions have left behind.

The community reacted with shock and disgust as it began to try to absorb what had happened in our midst, the worst of humanity had visited the neighborhood that day and the reactions from local leaders and politicians claimed that change will occur to address these scenarios. But we have heard this so many times before as this is becoming more and more of a common occurrence here in our country. I don’t think anyone is quite sure what the right thing to do is, but there are surely too many weapons in this country, and there is also surely a group of people who are scared and threatened by things that they don’t understand. And paired with ignorance and a lack of education this is a recipe for disaster in an already volatile and combustible situation.

In the days and week following that tragic day the community in Western New York showed it true colors, supporting the survivors, victim’s families and friends and their immediate community at large with their prayers, donations of food, supplies and money to try to ease just a little bit of the burden of the moment on the neighborhood. This is a truly special community that I’m proud to be a part of, but as we all learn to be better people and we all realistically and compassionately face some of the uncomfortable, unspoken issues we grapple with every day. In these times it’s just so important to try to put yourself into the shoes of those who are in different situations and circumstances than yourself.

Compassion, understanding and empathy, it’s what makes us human.

I’ll be back next month as my band begins to get back into our normal touring lives, but unfortunately for 10 devastated and shattered families here in Buffalo that “normalcy” will never be what it once was, but hopefully through this tragedy some will awaken to the idea that we need to love each other more, judge each other less, try to understand each other more and take the time to communicate with people who are different than us instead of shutting them out.

Ok….that's it for now, I believe we’ll be back to goofing around and talking about Rock and Roll and stuff next month, but please, please don’t forget what you read here in the column today. Be kind, smile a lot and have yourself a great month til we see each other again in the pages of The Mighty In Rock !

Peace
Robby
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