Throughout the U.S. in 2021, tens of 1000’s of individuals have been shot. They have been shot in faculties and supermarkets, in church buildings and workplaces, within the streets and of their houses. Many have been killed, many extra have been injured; the overwhelming majority of victims have been inside inner-city communities. And as staggering as the overall is, it doesn’t converse to the ripple impact and trauma that these incidents trigger. Right here is a type of victims’ tales.
On the evening of March 12, Davante Griffin, 25, was in his room at his dwelling in Henry County, Georgia taking part in video video games, when he began to listen to loud noises coming from the home’s floor flooring. A pal—Griffin’s brother and various buddies have been additionally current within the dwelling—ran upstairs, saying that individuals have been attempting to interrupt in, seemingly intent on robbing the property.
Throughout the ensuing dwelling invasion, Griffin was shot within the leg. His brother was held at gunpoint; one in every of his buddies was shot 5 instances. Whereas it was not Griffin’s first expertise with gun violence, the incident made him significantly replicate on how the issue has impacted his life and his group.
I had been shot at earlier than; I’ve had buddies who have been shot. After I was a child, my stepfather was shot and killed by a police officer. It’s not actual simple out right here, and also you’ve acquired to observe what you do. However this was the primary time I had ever been hit. And it actually [hit home]: Within the blink of a watch, you can be gone.
My thoughts was racing. I had heard that you can die from a gunshot wound to the leg; I used to be simply attempting to remain awake. There wasn’t loads of ache, however [in the ambulance] I nonetheless didn’t wish to shut my eyes. I used to be simply desirous about my son, who was one on the time. I simply wished to remain alive for him. This was the primary time I believed that I won’t be there for him.
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Within the hospital, the police handled me like I used to be a suspect. They stored asking me the identical questions—“have you learnt who broke in?” and “why did they break in?”—time and again. It felt like an interrogation. I stored telling them I didn’t know why the blokes broke into the home. I knew they didn’t imagine me however there was nothing I might do about that.
These are experiences that you just undergo being the place I’m from—being from Atlanta, being from the hood, interval. Lots of us younger folks assume that is the norm. But it surely shouldn’t be like that. You shouldn’t need to undergo issues like that. That’s not regular.
(Within the months for the reason that taking pictures, no arrests have been made to Griffin’s data. The Henry County Police Division didn’t reply to TIME’s request for remark concerning the incident.)
I used to be discharged from the hospital later that evening—I walked out in my [hospital] robe. However I nonetheless have little sharp pains in my leg typically; after I make a slight fallacious transfer or one thing like that, I really feel it a bit of bit.
I went to the hospital that my pal was at to verify he was okay too. He made a full restoration—although he nonetheless has a bullet lodged in his neck. After that, I went to see my son. I wished to verify I used to be round him; I couldn’t think about not being right here for him. He’s a really affectionate child, he’s all the time kissing me and he exhibits loads of love. This sort of incident makes you concentrate on your loved ones and your youngsters.
[In the weeks and months afterward] I stored replaying the taking pictures in my head. I had nightmares about it going otherwise. My little brother was in the home—in my nightmares, he will get killed. It’s sort of loopy, however I believe the result that occurred was the easiest way for it to go. Nobody was killed. Nonetheless, these sorts of conditions simply make you paranoid. I’ve moved twice since this occurred. I maintain to myself; it simply makes you extra alert.
A part of what acquired me by means of was my household. They have been very supportive. My brothers have been checking in on me and bringing me issues that I wanted. Seeing my son day-after-day acquired me by means of it too. Within the instant aftermath, I wished revenge however [as time passed] I used to be simply considering, “what are you dwelling for in the event you’re going to retaliate?” I needed to actually cease fixating on it and simply transfer on.
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After I was a child, rising up round all of this was exhausting. We’re simply so accustomed to having a gun wherever you go; it’s been so unhealthy for therefore lengthy. And I really feel like gun violence goes to proceed to occur until we modify our mindset.
As a Black group, we don’t have sufficient management. Sadly in our communities, [many of us] don’t have our fathers in our lives. They’re not there to show us. I nonetheless really feel like I’m a child in a method, since you’re by no means finished rising. However I don’t need my son to have the experiences I had rising up. I don’t need him to be in circumstances the place he has to have a gun. If he has an issue with any individual, he ought to be capable of inform me and we will determine it out. That’s what’s lacking from our group. Children flip to weapons reasonably than adults of their lives.
After I actually sit again and take into consideration all of this, it begins with the family. We have to be aware of what our children are seeing at dwelling and what we’re instructing them. It has to begin with us. If we actually wish to repair this downside, it has to begin at dwelling.
This interview has been edited and condensed.