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Everyone involved is always pointing the finger at some other cause, like mental illness or violent entertainment, and not where it belongs- at the gun laws, the gun lobby, and the NRA. Conservatives in this country care more about their damned 2nd amendment rights than they do about human life. It disgusts me to the point where I stopped caring about it completely.
Ever since Columbine, mass shootings and random killings have become so commonplace that most people have come to accept them as a fact of life. The local news barely even bothers to cover them anymore unless they’re sensationalistic.
I guess it’s easy to become numb to such cruelty when it doesn’t affect you personally. But when it does, it changes you and the people you love in ways that can only be imagined.
Last week, my friend Sandra and her family lost her beloved nephew, Christian Guevara, to gun violence.
I don’t have all the details, but apparently, Christian and his friends were coming home from a party in Burbank around 2:30 in the morning when they were accosted by another group of kids, one of whom shot Christian twice at point blank range. He died in surgery. His assailant was a nineteen-year old white kid. I just found out that he’s been located and arrested.
It’s at this point that I would probably go off on a tangent of rage about guns, teenage stupidity, and lousy parenting, but out of respect for Christian’s family, I won’t. They deserve better.
I found out about the shooting maybe a day or so later, when Sandra’s daughter, Brittany, hit me up on Instagram to follow a page she created to memorialize her cousin, whom she grew up with.
I didn’t have a clue what was going on at first, so I contacted Sandra, which is when I learned the whole story. To be honest, I didn’t know Christian or his immediate family very well. I had met them maybe a handful of times, though I know the whole Guevara family and are very fond of them.
Christian’s father, Joaquin, and his wife, Karla, are nice people and the Guevara clan (it’s a big family,) have always been open and welcoming to me. I feel horrible for their loss. If I were able to convey my condolences and help them out personally, I would.
Even though I grieve for them, I worry more about Sandra’s kids, Bryan and Brittany, who are like family to me.
Brittany is taking the loss especially hard, mostly due to the fact that her and Christian were roughly the same age and raised together. In the days since the shooting, she’s poured all her energy into creating a memorial to her cousin where the incident happened and fundraising for his funeral. I admire the kid for that. The only thing I worry about is her anger over the situation overwhelming her. But I think she’ll be okay. At least she’s channelling her grief in a positive way.
Her brother, Bryan, on the other hand, well… I don’t know where his head is totally at. When I spoke to him, we got into a deep discussion about life and how and why things like this happen, and from there he confessed that he had been thinking of buying a gun for self-defense and carrying it on him.
My first impulse was to scream a resounding “NO!”, but I throttled it back and said, “Look, kid, you’re getting too old for me to tell you what to do. It’s your decision. Just so you know, statistics show that you’re more likely to get shot if you carry a gun. I’m 48 years old and I’ve done a lot a lot of stupid things, and I’ve never once needed a gun. The trick to survival is not putting yourself in a situation where you need one.” I don’t know if I got through to Bryan, but I at least hope I made him think twice about it.
Don’t take what I just said as some kind of implication that I think Christian put himself at risk; the plain fact is, sometimes bad things happen to good people through no fault of their own. I only pray that the courts put the little bastard who did this away for life.
I wish I could say I understand what Christian’s parents are going through, but I can only imagine. No parent should have to outlive their child. As for the rest of the Guevara family, I can only express my profound sorrow at their loss.
If there’s any kind of a silver lining from this tragedy, it’s that I know the Guevara family will grow closer together in strength and love. It might not seem like much to some people, but I think it means everything to them.
As it should to everyone. Rest in peace, Christian.
Please, if you can, donate to the Guevara family for Christian’s funeral at his GoFundMe page: