There was a story in the Oakland Tribune online about a 13-year old girl who was hit by a bullet outside of her sister's (chaperoned) birthday party in March. It shows some of her recovery and interviews with her, and her sister, who feels awfully guilty about the incident. Read it here, see the video here, then come back to read this post.
I can't decide how it makes me feel. I was so sad that something like this could happen to a 13-year old in our country. I'm furious that we aren't more upset about it. I don't want to believe that there is still this much entrenched racism - but does anyone believe for even a second that if this had happened to a white girl in the hills - just a couple of miles from where it did happen - that community outrage wouldn't have erupted? It's hard to even think about it though, because the truth is that is wouldn't have happened to a white girl in the hills.
These kids though, they live with it every day. They're sad, but they're not surprised. Her sister says that they could be going to the movies or walking down the street and they could still get hurt. "How do you think God would feel seeing you with that gun in your hand?" She said that she almost expected this to happen before it did. "You do not want to live out here. You'll just get shot."
If all of that wasn't enough, Charity's family is afraid of retaliation for cooperating with police. Her great-aunt/foster mother has gotten creepy phone calls, found a dead rat on the porch, and seen cars slowly circling their block. She says that she had told Charity to hit the ground whenever shooting started but that Charity must have been scared because she ran up the steps instead.
Charity says she gets bad headaches now, and that when she tries to read, the words "be jumping around and switching places and stuff." She says, "I don't like to blame myself, but sometimes I feel guilty about it happening."
I don't want her to feel guilty. I want her to be surprised, outraged, and certain that this was a tragic fluke, not something that happens all the time in her neighborhood - so often that the kids know what to do when they hear shooting, and feel guilty when they panic and forget to drop to the ground.