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In a culture that celebrates gun violence, is anyone really safe?

Staff Editorial

A City College student was shot to death in the early morning on Feb. 10 at Hayes and Webster streets.

Ernesto “Xe” Yeikoatl Gonzalez Acosta was 23 years old and, as of press time, police still have not identified his killer or killers. Very few details have been reported about the shooting.

Xe, (pronounced SHAY,) is survived by his sisters, his mother and his father, Mazatzin, who is also part of the City College community. Together, Mazatzin and his son were instrumental in bringing to life the brightly-painted tile Aztec calendar that now watches over Mission campus.

Since 2008, they have organized an annual Mexica (me-SHEE-ka) New Year celebration at Mission campus, complete with Aztec danzantes (dancers), incense, traditional huehuetl drums and blessings in Nahuatl, the Aztec language.

“This year, we gotta take an extra breath before we speak, to think about what we say,” Xe told The Guardsman at last year’s celebration. He was explaining the meaning of the flint, one of the symbols of that year, according to the Aztec calendar.

More than 200 people gathered on Feb. 16 at Alamo Square Park to honor his memory.

It was an unusually warm winter day, and as the air cooled down and the sun began to set, freshly burned incense floated through the air, the danzantes began to dance, the drummers beat down on taught hides, and friends and family offered memories and blessings for their lost son and friend.

Then all 200 people walked a couple blocks down to the site of the shooting for a candlelight vigil, filled with more incense and drumming—more blessings, more memories, more hugs and more tears, too.

“I believe that he fulfilled his mission,” his father told the crowd.

Xe wanted to spread love and peace and his motto was, “Yo quiero vivir mi vida responsablemente,” meaning, “I want to live my life responsibly.”

He was loved by so many people and Xe was taken away from them by a senseless act of violence.

It is time to seriously address the pervasiveness with which violence is tolerated in our culture.

Guns are everywhere. From childhood, they become a part of our world.

Remember playing cops and robbers? Good guys shoot bad guys.

What about those green plastic army men? Soldiers fire rounds at one another.

Video games are the most prolific offenders. They are saturated with the latest high capacity firearms.

And, why not? Game makers follow the profits. Blockbusters such as “Call of Duty: Black Ops II” sell. A lot. That’s the sad truth.

Turn on any television channel and you are sure to find someone shooting a gun at something. Usually a person. That’s the way we are being told to solve problems. Don’t like a person? Shoot ‘em. Not getting what you want? Blow them away. It’s as easy as pulling a trigger.

Sons of Anarchy, the wildly popular biker gang show on FX network, embodies this well. The show includes shootings, stabbings and beatings…. and more shootings. Every character has a gun and isn’t afraid to use it.

Same is true for the Sopranos, Dexter and the Walking Dead…just to name a few.

The US has the highest gun ownership rate in the world – at 89 guns for every 100 Americans. Compare that to six in Britain and 31 for Canada and Norway.

And the gun-murder figures themselves are equally astounding. There were 9,960 U.S. gun homicides in 2010.

Here in California there were more than 1,300 gun related homicides in 2010 according to data from the Centers for Disease Control.

What are the effects of this gun-saturated world we live in? Do you think that children, or adults for that matter, who watch violence on television will mimic this violent behavior?

You be the judge.

We dedicate this issue of The Guardsman to Xe’s memory and send our deepest condolences to his family and friends.

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