I grew up with the story of my grandfather killing my grandmother in a murder-suicide. My mother and her sister were just 6 years old and 3 years old. They told me he wasn’t the same after returning from the war, drunk, mean. He got a gun that wasn’t his and changed my family’s story in an instant one night. I saw pictures of Barbara “Bobby” Spivey but never knew her. She had blonde hair and an athletic build and kind eyes. I wish I had a chance to know her.
Unfortunately that wasn’t the only murder-suicide from a domestic violence situation I experienced in my life. My best friend from the time I was seven was murdered by the father of her children the summer before I started law school. Her boys were just 2 years old and 4 years old. She tried to leave him, and he snapped. He got a gun that wasn’t his and forever changed so many lives. She was my sister. And losing her almost broke me. I recently saw her now full-grown boys at a concert. I hugged them and cried. She was an amazing mom, and they don’t even remember it.
And just this past year I made a new friend in a leadership course. His name was Brodes. He was warm and always had a smile. One Tuesday we sat together over dinner — he had fried chicken and I had mac and cheese — and talked about how we could stay connected after the classes were over, how we could work together to make Memphis better. The next night, a woman charged into his home and shot him in front of his wife. He was a pastor at a local church. Her actions effected his parishioners and his classmates, like me, deeply.
I am just one person. I am not special. Gun violence has affected me three times. This is why I volunteer with Moms.