That's what we call February 17. In March, we celebrate that KidThree was born, twenty-one years ago this year, and on February 17th, we celebrate that she didn't die, five years ago this year. She could so easily have, if not for the wonderfully quick presence and actions of the first responders on the scene.
The circumstances of the shooting were just stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Adolescent bravado, young adult idiocy, and gang violence, all compounded by marijuana and the easy availability of guns. There was an argument between a girl and boy, some young men (pot sellers who had enjoyed some samples) watching the argument started giving the young couple crap, the girl did something, one of the young men turned a hose on her, and she called her brothers, who arrived a little later, ready to fight.
There was a fistfight between a designated brother and one of the young men; the designated brother won, so things were settled. Honor was preserved. KidThree and her friend, not the girl who had been arguing originally, were watching all this. She and the other teens had also been smoking pot, so their critical thinking skills were not at their best. She told me, "we was just watching; it was better than tv!" Plus, honor required that they stick by the arguing girl in case she needed back-up; they would have lost face if they had left her to deal with the situation, no matter that she had instigated it.
Then another car with reinforcements arrived, and this group hadn't gotten the word that the issue was settled and honor preserved. Someone in that car flashed a gun, one of the young men originally harassing the arguing young couple ran into the house to get a gun, then came out and handed it to his buddy, who'd been beat up.
Both sides shot at each other. A house down on the corner was hit, with one bullet going into the house and lodging in an ironing board, and KidThree, down the street and trying to get behind a truck, was hit and went down.
Here's the really sad part: she hopped back up again. You got it, the initial injury didn't paralyze her, hopping back up did. She describes it as the worst hitting-your-funny-bone times one hundred, or one thousand; that was obviously one of the bone fragments getting her spinal cord. She went back down, and her friend grabbed her and tried to pull her behind the truck. That poor girl took a lot of abuse from people later, telling her the paralysis was her fault, saying she paralyzed KidThree when all she was trying to do was to get her to safety. Not fair, not at all. There was still shooting, and KidThree could've been hit again. Back when I was in Corps School, we were taught that if someone might have a spinal injury but the building was on fire, preservation of life took priority over preservation of the spine, so we were to drag the injured person out BEFORE putting on the backboard. Besides, KidThree was almost certainly paralyzed by that point.
Neighbors had called the police as soon as the shooting started, so they were there almost immediately. KidThree remembers all of this, and remembers the ambulance and the ride to the hospital. She was furious that someone kept being mean to her, until I told her the paramedic knew she was bleeding out and was hurting her to keep her conscious; then she sort of allowed he might have had a point. She thinks a cop was in the ambulance, too, because a man kept asking her questions that she really didn't feel like answering.
That was her Saturday, Febrary 17th, 2007. My Saturday was much better, as I didn't learn about the shooting until the next day, when my world crashed to a halt with a voicemail message.