I deeply miss my brother’s deep, barking laugh, complete with a silly grin and sparkling eyes. My heart aches when I think of him and his wife, of my gregarious nephew (age 9), lovable niece (age 5), and my baby angel of a niece, with the biggest brown eyes (age 2). The sorrow never ends.
The call came around 1 a.m. that mid-January Sunday morning. “Auntie Gina, is it true! Is my dad and the family dead?” It was my niece, who had seen a Facebook post about the deaths. This story is about a perfect storm that took five of my family members, all victims of gun violence committed by my troubled nephew. This happened eight years ago, and it changed my life and the lives of many, forever.
I wish I had been more vigilant about what was happening in my brother’s home, including the fact that he kept six guns and ample ammunition, all bought through private sale, all unsecured and therefore accessible to any of his four children.
The ripple effect of gun violence is devastating. I am convinced that my family members would still be alive today if those firearms had been stored securely.