Francine In Retirement
Seeing Life Through Photography


I grew up in what is known as The Hill District.  It is a neighborhood in the city of Pittsburgh, Pa. made up of predominately African-Americans.  In its’ heyday “The Hill” produced some famous musicians, singers and authors. 

I was raised in a single parent home where my mother worked two jobs ( a nurse at a nearby hospital during the day and a private duty nurse at night ) all to put food in our mouths and cloths on our backs.  I never felt I was poor until I went away to college and mixed with all types of people with diverse backgrounds.

I tell you this because even though, by the world’s standards, we were poor living in subsidized housing, called the projects, we were taught how to respect ourselves and others. 

 As teenagers we settled out differences by calling each other names and saying “I’ll meet you after school to duke it out”.  What we really did was wait until everyone left school and we ran home in a different direction to avoid the fight.  On the few occasions that we could not avoid a confrontation, we had our little fights and after two blows of the fist, it was over and we made up. We made up!  Everything was forgiven and forgotten.

Not so today.  Today our children are killing each other left and right.  A week does not go by without the news reporting someone being murdered or killed speeding in a stolen car or by driving drunk.  What a shame!  What a waste!

Instead of a grave site as a memorial of a departed life, we have memorials on trees, on the side of the road or on a billboard to signify that a death has occurred in this particular location. 

Below is a picture I took of one such memorial located on a street in my community that marked the spot were two teenagers had a gun fight and one was left to die beside this tree.  He was only seventeen.

 Even though we see this happening all across our nation and the world we are reminded that the scripture at 2 Timothy 3: 1-4 tells us “that in the last days difficult times will come.  For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, etc….”



23 Responses to “WHAT A SHAME! WHAT A WASTE!”

  1. It’s heartbreaking to see these memorials. “What a waste!” is right!

  2. So very tragic, Francine. Young lives with so much potential, just thrown away. This makes me very sad. We ahve the same thing happening in some areas of South Africa.

  3. That’s just heart-wrenching sad; the world, though, has always and forever been a broken place full of broken people–always prone to conflict and violence and sin (separation from God) always in need of God’s healing power and grace. The good news is that God in God’s grace loves us anyway and the offer of grace and healing is always there for the taking. And I don’t meaning by saying that to diminish the horror of this event with any happy “spin” on a horrible and senseless and all too frequent crime. I grieve this and commend you for raising it up and lamenting it with your powerful picture and comments. We can only pray, stand for compassion, lovingkindness and harmony and peace in any way we can, and be witnesses to the power of love over evil. Blessings on you and your good heart, Francine.

    • AMEN! Thank you Reverend McKay for your wonderful comment. Prayer is a powerful tool to combat evil. Love for one another brings compassion, harmony and peace.


  4. It is truly heartbreaking Francine. I would think governments need to do something about it.

  5. It is so sad. It happens all over the world. In South Africa, there is little concern for life in the criminal mindset. People have been brutally, horribly murdered in ways that make your skin crawl, for as little as a cellphone.
    My mother was murdered at the age of 27, in our home. The murderer was never found, and nothing was missing. Mindless.

    • I am so sorry for your lost! I don’t know how we can put an end to such terrible crimes of violence. Uniting in prayer is one source we can use to stop it. People don’t seem to value the life of others or their own. A terrible mindset to combat. Thank you for sharing with us. BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!


  6. It is a shame…I don’t even know what to say. My heart goes out to the families.

  7. It is sad, it is a waste, and yet the NRA and the Republicans claim that what this country needs is even more guns. Great post

    • Thank you for your comment. You are right, too many guns on the streets and easy for young people to get. BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!


  8. Such a thought provoking post and sadly, so true of the times we’re living in. I appreciate your sharing this with us today, and I appreciate how your blog brings us in as a community, to view realities good and bad, through your posts and photos. I’ve nominated you for the Beautiful Blogger Award because your blog is beautiful in so many ways. Please see for more information. Congratulations!

  9. How terribly sad. I lived in Cedar Rapids (Iowa), pop. 180,000 for 30 years and there was rarely even one murder a year. The drug problem was increasing but statically low.
    Our local news down here comes from San Antonio where there are literally murders on the every news report. It breaks my heart. And you’re right, so many are so young.
    You ARE a light where you live – you’re a light everywhere you go my friend. God bless,

    • Thank you Debbie for your comments and your kind words. I try to show the world through the lens of my camera. BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!


  10. Mostly, it’s because of guns and drugs. I hear the news about gun shots on the news almost every day. I hear the news about gun shots on the news almost every day to the point I’m afraid to turn on the local news. Then, there are news telling us many people give great effort, money, and time to guide youngsters to sports, riding horses even, musics, arts… Why can it be done in more places to more youngsters?

  11. I hope a lot of people would take to heart the very important message of your post. Life is precious. Our children’s life and all the youth are a priceless gift. Parents should be all the more vigilant to make sure their kids learn the right values. To respect others. To control their anger and use their mind and their conscience. You mother is a model of a good parent who taught her children the right morals and virtues in life. Bless her heart and all the likes of her.

    • My prayer is that the violence would stop. I feel we can all help by making sure our young people understand the value of a human life. Thank you so much for your comment.


  12. Would you believe that I drove by another memorial in the Hill District on the way to school Friday? Too too many. Just awful. An important post Francine. Difficult but good to write and inform others.

  13. So sad to hear such news nowadays … It is even more disheartening to see kids resorting to guns and vandalism even for petty little fights.. Where is the world heading to ..

  14. This post really touched me… There are several memorials in my neighborhood. One day I saw one of the faces behind one of them– a young, Spanish woman who was lighting a candle by a teddy bear. It’s tragic and heartbreaking. Not only is a life lost, but so many are left behind weeping.

    I, too, remember those days when kids would meet up after school, or at the end of the school year, to duke it out and then it was all over. Now they are losing their lives. I thank God for His protection and peace during these times when so many people are lost. Amen.

  15. This is one of the most perplexing issues I have ever been aware of. Exactly as you say; we went from a time when none of this happened to an explosion of it being so commonplace that there’s no solution in sight (and I want so desperately to fix it). There was no transitional period or slow escalation to give people who care a fighting chance to confront the growing problems of kids killing kids, just an immediate high level, in our midst, unyielding wave of extreme violence and total absence of self-respect and care for human life.

    I could go on, even rant endlessly but will any of it give me the anwers I’m looking for to bring this upheaval to an end?

    I know that I just can’t give up trying to think of ways to deal with this, and I won’t give up but there really are times that I am so discouraged.

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