Shot in the Back: Part 1 (Just Glad to be Here)

When Morgan, my youngest daughter, moved out the end of August, I was expecting to be a 1276046_3572967780690_603429092_olittle sad.  I thought I might be filled with nostalgia as my baby girl moved into her own place.  I thought I might cry a little.  I didn’t shed a tear, I was just glad to be there.  I was glad to be able to help haul her bed up a narrow stairway to the 3rd floor, I was glad to buy us all lunch.  After what had happened Friday night I realized that her being able to move out was a very good thing.  Being alive is good.

Beretta CO2 BB Gun-
CO2 BB Gun – I hesitate to post these pictures, but the fact they make me uncomfortable is proof they should be

I realize this is post is coming as a shock to many. Why, it happened about month ago, yet I’ve been mostly silent.  For someone who likes to post status updates and pictures of the details and passions of my life, I was left without a keystroke to post.  I didn’t know what to say, or to whom to say it.

Getting shot in the back with a BB gun is somewhat note worthy.  Now, if you live in the country it may have been the result of a foolish game among friends, it might even be funny.  But in a community where gun violence is no laughing matter a 13 year old kid could just as easily have a Beretta 45 as a Beretta CO2 gun.  I had no idea, he could have had either. (see pictures)

I had stopped my bike to try to drop a bit of knowledge on some kids who were being disrespectful. As I biked off I felt the sting in my shoulder and back.  Since I had heard no gunshot, and I saw that nothing had come through me I was just mad,  “how can you shake my hand and then shoot me in the back?”

The 45 cal. which looks almost exactly like the BB Gun
The 45 cal. which looks almost exactly like the BB Gun

As anger melted to conscious thoughts; as the situation continued to unfold, I began to contemplate it all more profoundly.  While a friend helped me squeeze out the BBs, which were well beneath my epidermis, I realized it was more serious than I had believed.  When she confronted the kid’s mom and family who reluctantly came out of the house, I began to see myself as a small actor on a large stage.  When I biked home, was met by my wife, granddaughter, son and fiance, I realized how different this moment could have been.

I have had to wait this long to write to begin to know what I really even think and feel; what is shock and what is idealistic thinking?  How do I communicate this experience in a way that is honest, both to me and to my community?  I have committed myself to communicating truthfully about my life, my family, and my neighborhood.  I am committed to seeking and promoting the “Beloved Community” but does my commitment change with copper BB’s being coaxed from beneath my skin?

Just a few weeks ago I was writing to challenge neighbors on Facebook to focus on the good and not the bad in our Northside. How does that work when I feel victimized?

Hennepin Co. Juvenile CourtTwo weeks after our first meeting I was again face to face with the child who shot me.  It was a moment of closure as I gave my victim statement in court and the young perpetrator sat across the room.  I could not hate him, his actions were not caused by malice deserving of hate, but by conditions beyond my comprehension.  Yet I respect him too much to pity him.  I am hopeful that he may, as the judge said to him, “get on a different path before it is too late.”

And me?  I’m just glad to be here.  I’m thankful for each day, and I’ve renewed my resolve to be a neighbor who fulfills my role in helping build the beloved community.

Next: Shot in the Back Part 2 (How it Went Down)

6 thoughts on “Shot in the Back: Part 1 (Just Glad to be Here)”

  1. I think when we step into ‘the abyss’ where darkness reigns; where we lose our sense of “up and down”; where we aren’t sure whether to scream, what to scream, or if a scream could be heard; where all seems broken but there is no ground to stand on; where suddenly all that gives a sense of identity, place, how to be, what to do, etc. disappears; when we have no sense if/how the Gospel might be manifested; when there is no right answer; or any answer at all; then, maybe, we are getting closer to ‘standing in the gap’ .

    It is the most dangerous and lonely place. And the only safe place.

    I appreciate your thanksgiving; of making the space to receive the flipside of this sin-filled world: i.e. grace.

    You have decided to stand with and stand for peoples who live in the abyss and usually suspect those who ought come to their aid are the very people who put them there. Their desperate calls to 911 are not answered.

    We don’t have clear vision of the abyss nor of the grace that enables us to be there. There is no way ultimately to make rational sense of the abyss. But God will make clear in our hearts, when it is needed, that His grace is present and sufficient.

    Thanks so much for posting.

  2. Wow Marque, this had to be a really hard post to write. And I appreciate that your heart has not been hardened towards the very people that you are trying to do community with after this incident. Its a hard road that we have to travel sometimes, and I see you navigating the tension between wanting to make excuses for this kind of behavior and vilifying the perpetrator of this act. You navigate it well!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s