My brother Burton was shot in our mom’s home on Galveston Island, Texas, on February 14, 1991. He was shot with a shotgun in the chest by our stepfather, and my mom was also in the house at the time. My mom, in her panic, grabbed the gun from the shooter, burning herself on the muzzle. My brother had run away when shot and started up the stairs of Mom’s home. In the time she was trying to get to the hall phone to call in the emergency, the shotgun went off again, blowing a hole in the floor, and subsequently, when police arrived, they actually had weapons drawn on my mom, due to the chaos of the scene. Our mom held Burton as he died.
What changed me forever was the thought of how or what I might have done in my brother’s life that would have him, alive, with us today. Gun violence in schools and public places terrifies me. So does the thought of losing a younger family member, fearing for that feeling of having someone ripped instantly from our lives — and now, with my niece’s in-law taking his life with a gun, generational pain.