WALK IN THE SHOES OF AN INNER CITY KID

Posted: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 by Bryan Troupe in Labels: , , , , , , ,
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He ran as fast as his short legs would carry him. The backpack which was slung over his shoulder contained only his homework assignment, and flapped against his back as he ran. He glanced over his shoulder quickly, considering what he had just witnessed.

Only moments earlier, as he walked towards the crossing guard to leave school grounds, he heard men arguing near the store across the street. He could tell they were arguing, but not from the loud and disdainful tone of their voices. Not from the stream of curse words that seemed to flow out of both individual’s mouths. He just knew; he could tell. It was as if the men’s voices were strained and may snap at any moment. Like two pit bulls forced to fight to the death for food, brought face to face and straining against leashes, begging to either kill or be killed.

The ten year old kid stopped to watch. His mom wasn’t here again. Not unusual. He had told her that there was a thirteen year old fifth grader that kept picking on him. She said she would meet him at the school when he got out, but once again she was nowhere to be found. She was probably busy…or something.

The two men were still semi-woofing at each other, but one was walking away headed to what appeared to be his car. The other stood in front of the store front still jawing, then turned around and walked briskly into the store. The crossing guard waved at the kid as if telling him to continue on home. The show was over.

As the kid watched the man reach his car, he suddenly noticed that the man held a gun in his left hand. And he wasn’t even trying to hide it! The other man had gone inside of the store, but the gun toting individual still was talking loudly, gesturing at the door of the store with his gun.

The second part of the argument, the man inside of the store, ran out and fire shot out of his right hand. Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop!

The kid felt himself turn cold. He knew that sound all too well. He remembered looking from his bedroom window as his mother was on the porch screaming. His father trying to open the gate to run inside, but he was too late. Pop, pop, pop, pop! They had shot his father in the back, killing him. He had died still clutching the iron bars of the gate.

The ten year old tried to will his legs to move, but his feet had turned to cinderblocks. He was planted in place. The man that was about to get in his car was now crouched on the side of the car, returning fire. Bam, Bam, Bam!

Mothers were screaming to the gunmen to stop shooting. Kids were just getting out of school. Most of the children were running, seemingly terrified. There were a few children who seemed oblivious to the shooting, that were walking directly into the crossfire.

The man crouching on the side of the car opened the car door and jumped in, started the car and took off. The man in front of the store took off running around the corner. And the kid’s feet finally came to life, and he took off running.

Running until he was almost wheezing. There were about four blocks from his school to his home, and he was not planning on stopping until he reached home. He ran through the empty and deserted park. The crazy man that lived there stood in one spot staring at the kid running as if his life depended on it. He ran past the corner store where the young thugs posted all day. They stared at him quizzically as he gasping for air, but continued to run.

He ran up the two steps to his home and burst in the door. He ran to his mother’s bedroom door to tell her what he had just witnessed. Her room door was closed. Again. He tried to open the door, but it was locked. He could indistinctly hear his mother moaning then giggling.

The kid threw his book pack down at his mother’s bedroom door and ran back outside, slamming the door behind him. He sat down on the steps of the porch, placed his hands under his chin, and sighed heavily.

It was going to be a long day.

This fictional story is based on actual events. I actually witnessed two idiots began shooting across the street from a school yard precisely when the kids were leaving school. Out of all of the shots fired, not a single one of the shots found a target. Extremely fortunate for the children.

If there is no parenting at home, do we simply write these children off as a statistic?

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