The great folks at Colorlines are currently running an extensive, brilliant and insightful series on Black Men: Life Cycles of Inequity. Today’s re-post addresses the issue of violence in Black communities, first published at Colorlines.com on August 04 2014, by Carla Murphy.
The first time Jeremy Berry got shot it was late March 2012 and he called himself trying to help a homey from his block. Berry, about 5’9”, slim in build, lives in the Roseland section of Chicago’s South Side. He jumped into a fistfight, first with his hands and then throwing a brick. When Berry missed his target, the guy “upped a gun” and shot him. He spent a week in the hospital and three months recovering at his aunt’s house. The bullet remains in his right butt cheek. The second time Berry got shot…
it was June 2013 and he was hanging outside on the corner, “in the wrong place at the wrong time.” A basketball game with young men from another block in Roseland soured when a player from Berry’s block complained of a stolen watch and money. Berry didn’t participate in the tit-for-tat retaliations that followed, but that didn’t matter. He lived on the block, so he was included automatically as a target. One bullet hit a friend of his in the neck—he survived—and another tore through Berry’s chest. He stayed longer in the hospital this time, about nine days, and he spent two-and-a-half months recovering at a friend’s home. He also got a gun.
All together, the physical recovery from both shootings leached seven months from Berry’s life. “I got myself shot that first time,” Berry says, speaking in the Southern-tinged drawl of the black Midwest. “After the second time, I felt like I had to protect myself.”
And, he admits, he wanted revenge.