I remember when I was a child, my Uncle Marcus used to babysit me. I still remember him entertaining me with childish antics, making me laugh, running around with me, and even pouting when I had to leave. In high school I got to know him more as my uncle, and not just a playmate from my childhood. We were a lot more similar than I ever would have thought. We both love writing, poetry, reading, and all genres of music. My mom, myself and Uncle Marcus would always sit in the living room of my house and just talk, laugh, and I’d listen as they reminisce on their childhood and try to teach me some life lessons. I remember him always referring to himself as “the cool uncle.” I never really gave him any validation on the phrase, but now I wish I had.
In October of 2016, Uncle Marcus was murdered.
He was shot during a home invasion. In a split second, my grandfather lost a son, my mother lost her brother, and I lost my uncle. I remember not being able to recall a time before or after that I’ve ever seen my mother so numb but still trying her best to keep it together. I remember sobbing with my sister during his funeral at the site of him in the casket, as it both really hit us that he was taken from us and is not coming back. I remember constantly hearing the phrases “he needs justice” and “gun violence has to stop” from family members.
In 2016, my uncle was only one of more than 38,000 gun-related deaths in America. Now, in 2018, gun-related deaths are already a third of that. Within the first 178 days of 2018, there have already been 154 mass shootings.
Thousands of people this year have had to go through the same pain I have, the same pain my mother had, and the same pain my grandfather had.
Gun reform laws have been debated for years. Regardless of which side of the fence you stand on (or if you happen to be straddling it), think of this: Do you put more value on a piece of steel or the lives of children, teens, and adults, that have been murdered? It’s very easy to look at it from only one side, or to take what you’ve been told by those around you and run with it. But, if you take a step back to try and empathize with those who have lost, you’ll realize how easy it is to dismiss gun reform if you’ve never lost someone you love to a bullet. Changes need to be made in our country for not only our own lives but also for the generations that could have been, and the ones that will be. I already lost Uncle Marcus, and with the way things are now, it’d be too easy to relive such traumas again.