Where we live: Waiting for change
When I heard about the shooting in El Paso, Texas, my heart began to race.
I am not from Texas, which is my excuse for having absolutely zero knowledge when it comes to the state’s geography. But I have family down there, and my youngest brother was in the middle of visiting them when the news broke.
After reading the first headline, I mapped the distance between where he was and where the shooting took place. He was hours away from the violence.
My brother was not in that Walmart on Aug. 3. But others’ loved ones were.
I wonder what they did after hearing the news for the first time. They did not have to use Google Maps to find out where the shooting happened. The store was a mere car ride away.
They tried to call. They sat through the same, harrowing rings that I had. But this time, no one picked up. No one answered to assure them that they were OK.
This time violence had come to their home.
This kind of bloodshed — the kind that starts with a boy who thinks he is a man, or at least, that a trigger and some ammo might make him one — has become commonplace. It is normal now.
Like, more than 250 shootings this year alone normal.
Like, that was not the first time I called my brother to check that he was still alive, normal. In December 2017 — only months before the massacres at Marjory Stoneman Douglas and Santa Fe high schools — my phone began to ring. On the other end, my friend told me a shooting had occurred near my brothers’ school.
I hung up. I tried calling both boys. Neither answered.
This was it, I thought.
Violence had come to my home.
I was finally able to get in touch with my mother. It was an isolated incident, she said. A few boys had been arguing, and one had brought a gun with him. He shot two others, both of whom survived.
I feel selfish.
More than 30 people were killed between the shooting in El Paso and one that occurred in Dayton, Ohio, the next day. And yet, here I am, writing about how worried I was that the name of someone I knew might have been on the victims’ lists.
But I fear that one day, one might.
I know I am not the only person scared that if I go to work — or to a church, or a store, or a school or a concert — I might be met by a boy who think he is a man, lying in wait to prove it.
And people are calling for change. They are demanding action.
I guess they are still waiting for someone to pick up.