One of my most frightening experiences happened when I was about thirteen years old. This happened while I was visiting with my grandma on the north side. The area where the incident happened was commonly known as the “Hood” where bad things happened to good people and worse things happen to bad people. My uncles and cousins were outside playing around and just having fun. Out of nowhere there was a continuous barrage of gun fire that seemed as if it wouldn’t stop. The target of the gun fire was my grandma’s next door neighbor.
The neighbor was chased to his house by two men and shot a number of times even while he was running. When the gun fire started we made a hasty retreat to the house where we barricaded ourselves inside while staying away from the windows. After it was all over we could hear the sound of the police sirens coming in the distance. It was at this time we decided it would be safe to venture outside. When we got outside, a crowd had already started gathering and we could see the neighbor lying partway on the sidewalk and the grass in front of his house.
He was still alive when we got to him to offer whatever help we could, however, it was too late. We saw him gasped his last breath and we later learned that he was shot over fifty times. The police later found over one hundred shell castings on the street leading up to his body, suggesting he was shot with assault weapons. This was the first time that I had seen someone dying. To say that I was scared would be the understatement of the century. After this incident I was afraid to venture outside with others, much less by myself.
My parents had to accompany me whenever I wanted to go outside and I was always sticking very close to my father. I guess this was my belief in the invulnerability of my father. This happens when one is young. This incident caused me to have recurrent nightmares for about six months. I had a very supportive family and they basically protected me physically and emotionally. They knew that I would be traumatized but to what extent they could not determine without the help of a therapist. I stayed away from my grandma’s house for about six months.
During this time I was the coping with the ease with which one’s life could be taken and how it affects those who are witnesses. After not visiting my grandma’s for six months, I was encouraged by my whole family to face my fears and visit the scene of the incident. Being a resilient individual, I was able to come to terms with what had happened and chart it as one of life’s more unpleasant experiences. It is my wish to live my life to the fullest and not let one unpleasant experience spoil my whole life.