It was a normal night, or at least I thought it was.  It was around ten o’clock when I heard the gunshots. They were so loud!  I felt like the gunshots were fired in my house because they sounded so close.  I never thought something would happen like this on my porch!  This was supposed to be a normal night, but turned into something I couldn’t even imagine.

One night my mom had brought some man to our house but she didn’t actually bring him in the house, they both just sat on the porch.  I was feeling nosey, so I was listening and watching their conversation.  Even though my mom felt like she had to protect me because she was the mother and I was the child, I felt like I had to protect her too. Then, while I was looking out the window, a man walked up to my porch like he was the police or something.  It looked like he was both talking to my mom or her friend because his mouth was moving and I was hearing noises.  Next thing I knew he pulled out a gun!  In the next minute, my mom rushed in and slammed me to the floor.  Then, I heard gunshots, and they were loud.  My mom and I thought her friend was dead, but when the gunshots stopped, her friend came through the door.  At first my mom and me thought it was the man who fired the shots. Her friend had blood everywhere on him, on our floor, and our couch.  As my mom called the ambulance, she told me to get him some water, but I couldn’t because I was shaking so bad.  I was in shock. When the ambulance came, they took him to the hospital. I was so glad my little sister and big sister were asleep that night, because I wouldn’t have them go through what I did.

This event has really affected my mom and me. That was the first time we both witnessed someone being shot.  To make it even worse, it was on our porch.  Every day I have to walk out of my house and see the gunshots in the doors.  Sometimes I wonder, what if my mom was shot?  I know I would cry every day, and my life wouldn’t be the same.  I was glad to find out my mom’s friend didn’t die, but I was still sad about what happened to him. To witness a person being shot is not a good experience.

In my neighborhood, I’ve witnessed a lot, such as when I saw some kid probably 15 or 16 years old shoot down the street and hit an old man.  This made me feel my neighborhood isn’t safe, like the streets are a war zone. 

My uncle and cousin were both shot in the head on October 8th 2012. They both died. I was heartbroken, sad, and I just couldn’t believe it. The only thing that was going through my mind was, “This can’t be true, it can’t be!”  I couldn’t hang with them anymore.  I couldn’t play with them anymore.  I want to cry just thinking about it.

I think that the gun drive isn’t working because some how, some way, kids are still getting guns.  Putting children in jail still isn’t working.  I feel there isn’t a way to change the world if you can’t change the people.  Me, talking from a kid’s perspective, I know kids are going to do what they want.  I know most kids do it out of anger, peer pressure, or just because they think it’s cool.

Living on the South Side can be so hard at times. It’s stressful and tiring.  But you get through it. I deal with it by just getting used to it, because that’s the only way I know— taking one day at a time. I have bad days and good days, but at least I get through the day to see another.    

Tania Williams is an 8th grader at the Dulles School of Excellence in Chicago.