It used to be when somebody got shot we would talk about it. Who responded, where were they shot, how many times, were they breathing, how much blood, were you in danger?
The news was sure to follow the story for a few days, the camera crews would fight for position on the sidewalk as we tended to the wounded. Follow up stories would air for days, the patient’s condition, the police investigation, the families response.
Now, somebody has to die to get a mention, even then it is fleeting, just a word or two tucked away on the back page, a sentence read on the second segment of the local news, not mentioned again at eleven.
We donâ€™t bring up the details anymore, nobody back at the station asks about it, we just clean the truck and get ready for the next call.
A six year old was shot in the abdomen during my days off this week. I heard the story on the radio, the night before the election, third or forth story into the newscast. I quickly forgot about it until yesterday.
I was working with Mark who was working overtime on my shift. We drove past the location where the kid was shot. Mark told me, we had that kid. I instinctively knew what he was referring to.
Little kid got shot in the stomach and his uncle shot in the arm. The kid is still in critical condition.
Mark doesn’t say much so I had to drag it out of him. He reluctantly continued.
“The kid didn’t even cry. We put him on oxygen and after a minute he raised his hand. He was the most polite kid I’ve ever seen. He said, I’m breathing okay, I don’t need this. His mother was in the rescue, talking to her boyfriend in Puerto Rico. Take care of your kid, I said, He needs you. She kept on talking. I held his little hand on the way to the hospital while she sat on the bench. We were getting closer to the hospital when his eyes started fluttering. I told Mike we were losing him.”
“He might not make it,” I said.
“I know,” said Mark, turning away from me. He didn’t mention it again.
Mark is still working. The Mayor decided that he should add 14 hours barely compensated time to his week. I guess he hasn’t seen enough.
After I had seen enough I left. It only took me five years to finally let it go and get on with my life. Those last five just about finished me.