A few days ago, this student attended the funeral of a friend, where the atmosphere was filled with the sadness of knowing that this is yet another victim of gang violence. At the same time, friends of the victim promises to seek revenge. As the days pass by and everyone’s lives go on, the dead friend is slowly forgotten, as though he had never existed.
The mix of sadness and desire for revenge at the funeral highlights the deadly effects of gang violence, with no end in sight: people die and other, potentially innocent people are killed in retaliation, leading to an endless cycle of violence.
The student describes seeing his friend die. S/he was in a store when s/he heard gunshots and saw her/his friend run in, seeking shelter but already mortally wounded. Despite having done nothing wrong, the friend quickly died from his wounds. The student reflects that this friend had his whole life ahead of him and that he was just an innocent victim in a war that can affect everyone, at any time.
The absurdity of this friend’s death, which takes place in a seemingly ordinary setting, highlights the senselessness of gang violence, as it affects adults and children, boys and girls, gang members and non-gang members alike. The student denounces this injustice, arguing that it robs people of the chance to grow up and live a full life.
The next day, at school, the student carries a gun. The feeling of it against his/her skin makes him/her uncomfortable. S/he spends the entire day unable to do anything, unable to accept the injustice of this friend’s death. S/he calls the violence that took her/his friend’s life an undeclared war, endlessly pitting different races against each other and turning promising lives into mere statistics.
Once again, the student’s response to pervasive violence is to use violence as self-protection, despite her/his discomfort at carrying a gun. This gang war leads to a loss of innocence, robbing both victims and witnesses of their childhood, as victims die and witnesses are often forced to engage in the violence themselves.