My dad was shot and killed while on his way to pick me up from work. He was in his truck, waiting for a train to cross the tracks, when someone walked up behind him and shot him at close range. I barely made it to the hospital before he died, as I stood next to him, covered in his blood. My dad was a ship captain, why would anyone want to kill him? His murder is still unsolved and I will probably never know the answer to that question. I was 20 years old at the time and have now lived more than half my life dealing with the effects of gun violence. I never walk out to my car in a dark parking lot alone, I always lock the doors even before they automatically do, I keep my kids as close to me as possible, and I recognize that life is as short as they say.
My kids may never have gotten to meet their grandpa, but I try to talk about him as much as possible so he isn’t forgotten. What people often lose sight of is the fact that it isn’t just the person who was shot but generations ahead of them who are affected by gun violence. Current statistics show that in the U.S., an arrest is made in 50 percent of murders, and in the city of Chicago, that number drops to 26 percent. There are no statistics to show how many people are affected by one person losing their life to gun violence, but the circle is wide. Our future generations don’t have to be like my kids – never knowing the generations that came before them. It is up to us to change the narrative of this story.