A Story About Guns

I guess if you have read many of my posts, you know that I grew up a little more poor than the majority of the folks in the USA. Many of them can afford to live in slightly nicer neighborhoods. However, I was very poor growing up, and I lived in a pretty nasty ghetto.

Now, in most countries living in a ghetto just means that your house isn’t very nice. But in the US it’s actually not just a bad house; it’s also constant danger.

So let me tell you about one of the murders that I witnessed.

I was actually homeless in my teens, and there was a really nice guy named John Sherrik who helped me get up off the streets. He let me rent a room in his apartment, which allowed me to work (access to a shower) and more importantly, to sleep indoors where I was less exposed to predators (which in this context is referring to other humans.)

Someone broke in to our apartment one night. He had just planned on robbing us, because he was high on meth and thought we might have something to sell at one of the many pawn shops in our area, so he could buy more drugs. However, John was gay. And so, in the bed next to him was his boyfriend Mick.

When Joey saw this, he was disgusted. He said that God thought that homosexuality was a sin, and he planned to execute both Mick and John. He went to shoot Mick first, but John grabbed for the gun and screamed for Mick to run. As a result, Joey pulled the trigger and the bullet went right through John’s heart at point blank range. But Mick ran, and he got away.

Of course, once Joey saw what he had done, he ran too. And that ended up putting me in the position of investigating the murder, because cops don’t really do much when it’s a poor person who is killed. And of course, Mick was far too upset to do anything.

I did track Joey down at a drug house and contact the detective assigned to the case. Joey did go to jail, and to my knowledge he is still there.

However, John is still dead.

This is just one of the violent shooting deaths that has happened in my lifetime. I guess I have PTSD. I have seen a lot of people die. That’s not uncommon in the USA.

I know that my expat friends from other countries mostly talk about the mass shootings that make the international news. And yes, the USA does lead the world in mass shootings by a whole lot.

However,  I think I wanted you to get a picture of the every day violence. The almost casual violence that is always going on. It’s not mass shootings, but it’s the husband who shoots his wife, the drug addict who shoots the waitress, and things of that nature. It’s the way the police helicopters circle bad neighborhoods at night, the way gun shots are what you fall asleep to, and the way chalk outlines don’t warrant much interest because they are so common.

My expat friends from other countries think that I am exaggerating.  They don’t believe American ghettos are that bad. To them, a ghetto is where someone might pick your pocket or something. Maybe they would pull a knife if it was a really bad area, but they would just do that to force you to give them your wallet. Shootings just aren’t common elsewhere.

So that is something I think people in the United States should know.

Shootings aren’t common everywhere. But in ghettos in the US, we do fall asleep to gun shots. And this is just one time I saw a friend die because of our gun problem. I thought I would share.

Compared to my European and Asian friends, I am from an active war zone.


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