Here is what I know and have come to learn about guns.
This is maybe a more raw, unpolished, but perhaps more honest view of my three years of living in Chicago.
I know that I hear gun shots several times a week from my home in North Lawndale. And I have learned that in the summer I will hear them more.
I know the feeling of shock and fear that rushes over you when a text or call comes in letting you know that a kid you love has been shot.
I know what a gunshot wound’s entrance and exit looks like on the back of a 16 year old’s head.
I know the look of insufficient care when the same 16 year old was discharged from the ED with dried blood still on his face and neck and with no painkillers, just a recommendation to grab some ibuprofen at Walgreens.
I know the shell-shocked and desperate look of PTSD in the eyes of a 18 year old boy who has lost several close friends due to gun violence.
I know that these kids don’t know it isn’t normal for them to lose friends to gun violence.
I know there is something really wrong when kids have been to dozens more funerals than weddings.
I know 1803 people in Chicago have been shot this year-to-date, with no slow down in sight.
I know that guns have been used to murder 266 people in Chicago so far.
I know guns have destroyed the lives of many more.
I know what a roadside memorial for a young girl killed by a stray bullet looks like when it is covered in cards, streamers, and balloons on what would have been her birthday.
I know that guns are the common factor in these shootings and death.
I also know that there are other factors.
I know we can’t control everything.
But I know society can do better to control the weapons used in these acts of violence.
I know gun violence. I live in its smoldering wreckage every day.
And I know I want it to stop.