I grew up in the neighbor where shootings were common. I remembered the metal detectors, school security, police officers armed inside Cody High School. These images had me living in fear and the belief I could die young. Even though I focused on my schoolwork, it took a lot of courage to walk to and from school, unmeasurable pressure on an individual.
My novel is fictional yet it’s helping me to work through and put to rest these past feelings of a painful and fearful childhood. Although this has happened so many years ago, the memories of the death toll and shootings of youths are still vivid in my mind. In one year, more than three hundred sixty-five shootings involved young people.
The drug dealers saw themselves providing jobs to the poor. Yet they never understood what harm and destruction the drug trade did to the citizens in the neighborhoods. When the news reported five teens were murdered, they weren’t numbers but people. I cried. The young people and I were in the middle of a war. I didn’t understand why we were targeted. Why was the city so poor? I didn’t have the answers to the whys. All I knew I could die. I continued to attend school and educate myself. I knew a high school diploma and college degree could further my future.