I work at an urban public hospital and trauma center and, sadly, today was like too many others. I witnessed friends and family of a young man torn apart by a bottomless grief that was caused by a gun.
Today, it was a 15-year-old named Reajohn Jackson. Next time, the victim of gun violence will have a different name. Different friends and family members will be at our hospital sobbing and asking “Why?” to doctors and nurses, to kin, to no one in particular.
I have met the mothers and grandmothers and brothers and sisters and cousins of gun violence victims before today. And each, in their own ways, bear the unmistakable scars of shock and horror and anger and sadness.
I have met too many.
I suspect that, as long as I live, I will remember the human agony I witnessed today, as person after person rushed to our hospital only to be told of the passing of their friend, their classmate, their relative. One young man, in stunned disbelief, kept repeating, over and over as if to gain some measure of understanding, “What am I going to tell my sister? What am I going to tell my sister?”
I wish I knew, young man.